It is common to add aftermarket parts to your car to improve its performance and fuel economy. The cold air intake is one of these parts. But before you put it on your car, you should think about whether it will help or hurt the engine.
Most of the time, adding a cold air intake to a naturally aspirated engine is a safe upgrade. However, some aftermarket installations can cause surge idling and surgelocking problems. These can cause problems with efficiency and performance, lead to high idling and stalling, and cause expensive engine repairs in the long run.
Even though a cold air intake could hurt your engine, if you know how to spot problems and what to do to stop them, you can make sure the part helps your car instead of hurting it.
Read on to find out more about the cold air intake and how having it in your car can help you.
How Does a Cold Air Intake Work?
The goal of cold air intake systems is to get cool air into the engine of your car. Because the pipes are smoother and shorter and the filter is put in the right place, it will bring cooler air into your car’s engine more efficiently than systems that don’t use cold air.
Because cold air is denser than hot air, it is better for letting air into an engine.
When cold air comes into your engine, it burns more quickly than when hot air comes in from the stock airbox.
Over time, this can make your engine run better and have more power.
Signs of Issues with Aftermarket Cold Air Intake Systems
Because the cold air intake system brings air into the engine, problems with it can make it hard to drive your car. If your cold air intake isn’t working right, you might notice other problems with your car.
Some signs that something is wrong with your cold air intake are:
#1 Surging Idle
If the engine is idling faster than usual, it could be because the cold air intake is broken. It could mean that there is a leak somewhere.
Some systems that bring in cold air have vacuum ports. The goal is to work with the way the vacuum lines were set up when the car was first made.
If the hoses on the ports come loose or break, or if the ports themselves break, the vacuum could leak, making your car idle fast.
#2 Check Engine Light Appears
Has your car’s “Check Engine” light been on lately?
If the sensors in the intake find a problem, they can make this light come on to let you know there is a problem.
The check engine light can come on for a number of reasons, such as broken sensors or a vacuum leak. The cold air intake in your car lets cold air into the engine and changes how it works.
#3 Reduced Engine Performance
How well your cold air intake works can have an effect on how well your engine works.
For example, if the air filter in the cold air intake is clogged or dirty, the power of the engine, how well it uses gas, and how quickly it moves will all be lower.
If things go really wrong, a dirty filter could make it hard to start your car.
How the Cold Air Intake May Damage Your Engine
Now that you know how to tell if the cold air intake is causing a problem, it’s a good idea to know what could happen to your engine if you don’t get it fixed quickly.
Here are some of the things that could go wrong!
1. Dirt and Debris in the Engine
Different brands of aftermarket cold air intake systems use filters made of different materials. The filter is the only thing that keeps dirt from getting into your engine.
Foam filters give you more horsepower, but they are more likely to let dirt and debris into the engine, which can cause other problems with the way your car runs.
Hydrolocking is one of the biggest engine problems that can happen when a cold air intake is used. If your engine takes in water instead of air, this will happen.
The water can get stuck in the cylinders of the engine. Water won’t get smaller, so it can damage the pistons and bend the connecting rods.
Clearly, this is not a good result!
3. Air Roll Issues
If the intake bend has a 90-degree angle, the air can roll as it moves into the engine.
Even though choppy air might sound nice, I can tell you that it’s not for your engine.
If this happens, it could change how well the mass air metre works. When this happens, the ratio of fuel to air changes, which could cause your car to stall.
How to Keep Your Cold Air Intake Working Properly
To get the most out of a cold air intake, make sure to clean it often and use the right amount of oil.
A good rule of thumb is to clean the cold air intake every 30,000 miles, though it may vary from part to part. You should also follow the instructions from the manufacturer to avoid problems.
Hold the filter for the cold air intake up to a light source to check it. If there are any holes, you need a new filter.
Make sure that when the part is installed, nothing is rubbing against it and that the clamps are loose enough to let you make small changes when needed. This will prevent as much damage as possible to the cold air intake, which could affect how well it works.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does a Cold Air Intake Work?
Adding a cold air intake to your car can make it run better. The increase in fuel efficiency and horsepower will depend on the type of car you have.
How Much Will a Cold Air Intake System Cost?
Adding a cold air intake system to your car’s built-in intake system can cost between $150 and $500. It depends on which system you choose, because there are different kinds.
Is a Cold Air Intake System Really Worth the Investment?
For fuel to burn in an engine, there must be a steady flow of air. The cold air intake system will help the engine get more air, which will give it more power and make it run more efficiently.
Today, you can find kits in many different styles and colours that can not only make your engine run better but also look good when you open the hood.
The Bottom Line
Yes, a cold air intake can hurt your engine, to put it simply. But with the right installation, care, and maintenance, you can make it less likely that these problems will happen.
Also, if you know what the signs of a problem are, you can take care of it before it gets worse.