Differences Between an Intake and a Cold Air Intake

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The intake on a car's engine refers to the component (or series of components) responsible for delivering air to the engine. The air mixes with the fuel and spark, and the resulting explosion in the cylinder creates internal combustion. Cold air intakes can provide engines with more power than stock intakes.

Intake

  • A normal intake on a car is located in the engine bay and feeds air to the motor. In stock form, it generally consists of a plastic air box that contains a flat filter element that filters incoming air before it goes into the engine.

Benefits

  • Stock intakes are designed to offer the maximum amount of air filtration while delivering the volume of air that the motor needs to run properly. Stock intakes generally do a very good job of filtering the incoming air.

Problems

  • One of the few downsides to stock intakes is that they are relatively restrictive and can decrease the potential horsepower that an engine makes.

Cold Air Intake

  • A cold air intake usually consists of a large, free-flowing filter and larger diameter than stock tubing that leads to the intake. The colder, denser air can significantly increase horsepower in some cases.

Benefits

  • The main benefit of a cold air intake is the power increase. A cold air intake can also make your engine sound better and amplify the intake sound.

Problems

  • One problem with cold air intakes is that they potentially do not filter the incoming air as well as a stock intake. The increased dust and particles getting into the engine could potentially cause problems.

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