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A K&N Cold Air Intake System Can Increase Your Car's Horsepower While Protecting Your Engine

It only takes 90 minutes to reap the benefits of a K&N cold air intake system

It only takes 90 minutes to reap the benefits of a K&N cold air intake system

It doesn’t matter if you own a 15-year-old commuter or a brand new sports car, you can always find a reason to want more power out of your car. Whether it will allow you to merge onto the highway more safely or to pull ahead of your buddy between stoplights, the need for more power is insatiable. However, most power-adders are either too expensive or too labor intensive for a casual enthusiast. What if we told you there was a bolt on solution that can add power and was easy enough for you to do in your driveway?

One of the fastest ways to add more airflow, horsepower, and throttle response to your car while still protecting the engine is with a cold air intake. The way an engine works is by taking in air, mixing it with fuel, and combusting the air/fuel mixture, which then sends power to the crankshaft and onto the transmission. The more fuel you can add to the mixture, the more power you can make, to a point. But if you just add fuel without increasing the amount of air in the cylinder, you will run the engine rich and lose power. That is where the cold air intake comes into play.

K&N air intakes provide a less restrictive, more direct path for air into the engine

K&N air intakes provide a less restrictive, more direct path for air into the engine

Cold air intakes are also called cool air intakes and performance air intakes. They typically consist of a type of plastic or metal tube, a heat shield or air box, and a filter. The way they help your engine is by providing a larger, less restrictive airflow path to the engine. By allowing the engine to intake more air, the vehicle’s computer can add more fuel, resulting in a more explosive mixture, thereby making more power. Let’s take a look at a cold air intake to help you better understand how it can help your car make more power, while still protecting your engine.

This particular intake is from K&N Engineering. They have been making cold air intakes longer than any other company and are the worldwide leader in cold air intakes for cars and trucks. As you can see, the air intake tube is made of a black plastic, which is called high density polyethylene, or HDPE. This material allows the engineers the ability to maneuver around obstacles in the engine bay when looking for the best airflow path. At the end of the tube is a signature K&N red washable air filter. These filters are made from multiple layers of cotton filter media that has been treated with a special oil to help stop contaminants that can be harmful to your engine. Around the filter is a custom aluminum heat shield. When the hood is closed, it seals against the weather stripping on the heat shield, making a sort of air box that helps prevent the intake from ingesting hot engine bay air. That is where the cold in the name comes from.

If you ever questioned the power gains, here is a 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 dyno chart: 56 hp!

If you ever questioned the power gains, here is a 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 dyno chart: 56 hp!

The cold air part is also important in making more power. Cold air is denser and contains more oxygen molecules than warm air does. So if you can get cooler air into your engine, your car will be able to mix more fuel with that air, making more power. Combine that with the more air through the larger and less restrictive filter and intake tube and you can see up to a 10-15 horsepower increase. K&N has even reported an estimated increase of 56.96 horsepower out of the 57-2571 intake for 2007-2009 Shelby GT500!

Companies like K&N typically offer several different cold air intakes for vehicles. These vary by type of materials used in the intake tube, to type of filter: from a traditional oiled cotton media to a non-oiled synthetic media. The choice is ultimately up to you. One cool thing about K&N intakes is that they come with a 10-year/Million Mile Limited Warranty and are guaranteed to increase the horsepower of your vehicle. Check them out to see all the intakes they have to offer.


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