A cold-air intake -- one ducted to bring air in from outside the engine bay -- won't necessarily change the sound of a car, but a short intake will. This noise can be quite pronounced, though some manufacturers go to great lengths to reduce the engine's intake noise, going as far as to install a type of muffler in the intake tube.
Intake noise comes in two basic varieties: noise that comes from the sound of air rushing into the intake, and the sound of mechanical components, such as the turbocharger blades, fuel injectors and valves opening and closing. Turbocharger blades whine like a jet engine, and air going into the engine can vary from a slight whoosh to a roar, for large engines under full throttle. While a single valve may only make a slight, metallic tap when closing, dozens of valves closing dozens of times per second can make a particular and pleasant sort of a ringing noise.
Sound propagates through an intake system just like it does through an exhaust system; larger-diameter tubes will emit a deeper note, and shorter tubes will make it louder. Intake noises can be quite loud, particularly for turbocharged cars, or for cars using three or four valves per cylinder. While sound preference is a fairly subjective thing, intake noises are generally more pleasant than exhaust noises. If you've got an engine with multiple valves, go for a large, short intake tube -- it sounds cool and racy, without being obnoxiously loud, and it might even add some horsepower, depending upon the application.
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
How to Clean a Cold Air Intake Filter
Cold air intakes add horsepower to the cars they are installed on by increasing the amount of air delivered to the engine...
Does an After Market Intake Affect the Sound of an Exhaust?
There are a few different options available for modification to your intake. A larger intake provides more air to the engine. A...
Differences Between an Intake and a Cold Air Intake
The intake on a car's engine refers to the component (or series of components) responsible for delivering air to the engine. The...
How to Reduce Air Intake System Noise
Buy a noise muffling exhaust tip. There are many different tips available and all of them offer different sounds for your exhaust...
How to Make a Muffler & Air Intake Louder
Making a vehicle's intake and exhaust system louder can be a simple process. Typical gasoline motors have their "exhaust note" set by...
How to Install a Cold Air Intake System
Replacing a vehicle's air supply requires the removal of your factory stock air box. It is important to know where your factory...
Do Headers Change Exhaust Sound?
What Do Car Headers Do? Car headers, which attach to the sides of a vehicle engine, are an important part of a...
Homemade Cold Air Intake
Cold air intakes are easy upgrades that can net significant power gains and better fuel economy. However, going online and buying overpriced...
How to Make My Car Sound Like a Ferrari
By changing your exhaust, you can make your car produce more sound, which will be a good first step toward making your...