Increasing the performance and power of your truck does not necessitate installing a new motor or transmission, though those can definitely be options. One easy to install option that is gaining popularity with the truck crowd is that of the cold air intake. Cold air intakes have long been a staple of racing and street racing cars, but they can just as easily apply to your truck. Why would you install a cold air intake on your truck? Let’s look at how they work, first.
A cold air intake system takes the place of your OEM air filter and intake system. Ordinarily, you will need to remove the original breather box, as well as the tubing that leads to the engine. By installing a cold air intake, you can add horsepower to your truck. This happens because a cold air intake brings in cooler air to your engine. Cool air is much more dense than warm air. This means that your engine can burn fuel much more efficiently, increasing your available horsepower. While the gain will not be incredible, it will be noticeable.
The cold air intake system is usually routed in a similar fashion as your OEM system, at the engine. As it travels out from there, though, it will terminate at a different location. This is usually low down the engine, behind the headlights, or even lower down. The object is to get the intake as far from the heat of your engine as possible. This is the only way to get air that is cold enough to do the job right.
What else does a cold air intake do for your vehicle? It can increase fuel mileage under certain conditions, though this is not why most people install them on their vehicles. The primary reason, of course, is to add power in the form of speed and torque. Some of the more popular brands are K&N and Volant. Understand, also, that adding a cold air intake to your truck will change the way your truck sounds. While it won’t sound like a street racer, it will definitely sound different.
Now, let’s look at some of the drawbacks to adding a cold air intake.
First, there is the expense. While they are relatively inexpensive when compared to other truck accessories and performance enhancers, they do represent at least a modest investment. You must also modify your vehicle; many times by yourself. Some dealerships will not install these devices on trucks, while others will charge considerable labor fees.
The single largest drawback, though, comes in the form of water. This threat is much more prevalent in shorter vehicles, such as passenger cars, but it is present for trucks as well. The placement of the air filter makes is possible for water to splash up from the road or mud hole into the air filter. From there, it is sucked along the intake tube until it gets to your engine. Once there, it wreaks havoc. Granted, it takes more than a few drops of water to disable your engine, but the threat is present and must be considered when debating adding one of these systems to your truck.
That said, there are few drawbacks to this, especially in exchange for the additional horsepower that you will enjoy. You can find a number of quality systems that will work well in this situation, though K&N has been a trusted name for years. Their filters are designed to last for a lifetime, with only cleaning required to continue using the filter.