When you buy a brand new car, the feel and look to it is simply amazing. The smell and touch of a brand new car are awesome. Your car takes you wherever you need to go in a short time.
Although a car straight out of a showroom performs well, some people have a tendency to tweak their cars to improve the performance even more than what factory cars offer. These are usually car fanatics and enthusiasts who can’t keep their hands from messing with the engine.
One of the things a person tends to upgrade or modify in their car is the air intake system. Why is that so? Because an engine really runs on a mixture of air and fuel. What happens is that, when you press on the gas pedal, you are giving more air to your car rather than fuel. The more air you let the car take in, the more fuel it adds to even the proportion. Thus that’s what makes your car perform.
To fulfill the desires of car fans and enthusiasts, A lot of companies produce aftermarket and upgraded air intake units which perform a lot more efficiently than stock air intake systems. The real question is which air intake system to get for your car?
You do not have to worry, as we have a top 9 list of the best cold air intakes. Below are some of the best air intake systems for general use, and some are for specific car brands so if you have a Ford or Mazda, you’ll be benefitting even more.
The Best Cold Air Intakes in 2021
|Volant 151536 PowerCore||Plastic||Chevy, GM, Cadillac 4.8/5.3/6.0L|
|Airaid 451-328 MXP||Plastic||Ford Mustang GT 5.0 V8 2015-2017|
|Injen SP1902P||Aluminum||Nissan Juke 1.6L 11-13|
|Spec-D AFC-ACD98-KM||Aluminum||Honda Accord 2.3 98-02|
|S&B Filters 75-5068||Plastic||Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 6.7L|
|DC Sports CAI4105||Aluminum||Mazda 3 & 5|
|HPS Air Intake Kit 27-165SL||Aluminum||Mazda 2.0 & 2.3L|
|K&N Performance 63-1561||Plastic||Dodge RAM 5.7 V8|
|Spectre Performance 9900||Aluminum||GM, Chevrolet, Cadillac|
1. Spectre Performance 9900 Cold Air Intake Kit
GM Trucks 99-07
If you happen to own a GM truck of the year from 1999 to 2007, then you might like this cold air intake kit. Spectre has got in store just the perfect cold air intake system that will make your truck roar even louder. The best thing about the Spectre filter is that its quality is as high as some of the most expensive brands and their products in the market. So you can actually save a lot of money by getting this one if you have the appropriate vehicle to get it fitted in.
The filter included in this kit is of great quality and there is no way that any dirt or even tiny particles will get beyond the filter in your engine. Also, it has heat protection so that the heat from the engine doesn’t damage the filter as its being driven.
Similarly, this kit is easy to install and would take about half an hour to properly install it in your car so that you can get on with testing it. But wait, what if you don’t have a GM truck? Not to worry. These kits can be modified a little to be used with some Cadillacs and Chevrolets but it’s better to check the car’s year and engine model before buying. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of this one:
2. K&N Performance 63-1561 Cold Air Intake Kit
Dodge RAM 5.7 V8
K&N is one of the world’s best air intake and air filters in the market. This definitely makes them one of the finest choices for picking up a cold air intake system and all kinds of engine air filters. This kit is designed for the Dodge RAM 5.7 litre engine. Make sure to check the specification at the link so you buy the right cold air intake filter for your car. K&N provides a high-quality kit with a very good filter that will make a good combo for your car
One thing to note about this product is the build quality. Since its K&N, high quality is called for. The company claims that the system can go without service for up to a good 100,000 miles. That’s a lot before you need to clean the car’s filter again. After that, you can wash and re-oil your air filter and use it even longer.
K&N won’t disappoint you when it comes to quality and performance. They are the biggest line up of different car products and air intake systems are one of them. Their products will transform your car. From performance to the air intake and throttle response, everything shall be upgraded when you have K&N kits installed in your car. Their products may be expensive but provide exactly what they claim so rest assured.
Go for this if you have the buying capacity and want to go for a solid and quality air intake system.
3. HPS Cold Air Intake Kit 27-165BL
Mazda 2.0 & 2.3
This is another well-performing cold air intake system which is made specifically for Mazda cars. HPS 27 165BL is a kit for your Mazda for the 2.0 and 2.3L engines in the years between 2003 to 2009. Their aim with this intake model is to work with Mazda models from the year 2003 to 2009 because of the right fitting and high performance. You’ll probably immediately feel a significant boost in performance after you get this kit installed in your Mazda engine.
This is a one-piece unit which makes it a whole lot easy to install. It’s made from high quality and sturdy materials so don’t worry about the quality at all. It is also lightweight but contains aluminium piping to deliver the air to the engine seamlessly and keep it cool while at it. There is a special adapter to install the mass air flow sensor with ease.
With the price and features, you’ve got here a well-made and well-performing air intake system. Overall, this is a great product that may dramatically improve your Mazda’s performance by 5-15 horsepowers. Here are some features and pros of this one:
4. DC Sports CAI4105 Cold Air Intake Kit
Mazda 3 & 5
Heres another good air intake system you might like if you are a Mazda owner. If the performance upgrade is what you are looking for that also improve the throttle response and makes your car seemingly fast, then go get this kit for your car. The DC Sports CAI4105 is an easy kit that works well with a variety of cars, especially Mazda models.
What you get with the kit is a pipe for the intake, a high-quality filter and other attachment parts like screws and clamps. It may consist of many parts and look bare bone but upon testing it on a car, it showed good results. This air filter kit comes with an aluminium pipe, which is liked by some people, but not liked by others because of the small increase of the intake air temperature created from it, and the fact that it can become hot inside the engine bay when you are working with your engine.
This filter kit is made for Mazda 3 & 5 with the years between 2004-2009 and is very easy to customize to make it fit other car models. Overall, it’s a good enough cold air intake system you can get for your Mazda for such a price. Taking a look at the pros and cons, we have:
5. S&B Filters 75-5068 Cold Air Intake Kit
Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 6.7L
A remarkable cold air intake kit, the S&B 75-5068 is made with the intentions to be used with Dodge cars from the year 2013-2018. The looks of the system itself are just amazing and look awesome in the engine bay. The best thing about this kit is that it multiplies the air flow as S&B claims that this kit improves the air flow and intake to about 55% which boosts the overall performance of the engine and improves the throttle response as well. You will also get a louder engine sound with this kit(Some likes it, some don’t).
The filter is also made of a good quality material and does its job good by catching even the finest dust particles in the air which is what clogs up filters in the car. So you no longer have to worry about dirty air getting past its filter.
It will at most, take an hour to remove your old intake system and replace it with this one. Some cars with similar kits are Ford F series, Dodge Ram 1500 and 3500, Toyota trucks and others which you can find on Amazon. The price of this one can be slightly higher than the rest on the list but rest assured, for a car such as Dodge, this kit will back up the performance of it.
Some pros and cons of this one:
6. Spec-D AFC-ACD98-KM Cold Air Intake Kit
Honda Accord 2.3L
If you are a Honda accord owner with the 2.3 litres engine and the year between 98-02 and you are looking for a cheaper alternative, this could be the kit for you. Designed for the popular Honda Accord line, the Spec-D Tuning AFC-ACD98-KM is a pleasing, easy-to-set-up kit.
The pros about this kit is that it’s really easy to install and you should be able to do it within an hour withour problems. All neccessary parts are included like the filter, aluminum pipes, silicone hoses and other required parts. The aluminum pipes can be both a con or pro depending on what you like. Polished aluminum pipes creates a great looking finish in the engine bay, but it can increase the intake temperature a bit and create heat in the engine bay.
Overall it’s a very basic kit, but it does the job it’s supposed to do, but we thought that the filter could be of a bit better quality. Here are some pros and cons about the product.
7. Injen SP1902P Cold Air Intake Kit
Nissan Juke 1.6L
If you are an owner of a Nissan Nuke 1.6 Litres from 2013 and up, this kit should absolutely be a choice for you. Injen is a brand well known with vehicle parts and automotive market. It’s one of the best aftermarket brands with high-quality equipment for your car so that the money spent is worth it. Injen’s cold air intake systems are designed to improve the air flow to the engine while providing it with cold air to boost the performance even more. Dense air is what your car wants and what it is going to get when you have this kit installed. This provides more oxygen in the air and the performance goes up like that.
So when you buy this kit by Injen, rest assured that your engine performance will show improvements immediately and you’ll feel your car flying. Investing in this system will provide you with other benefits too besides just providing cold air. This system will help prevent the chrome steel from rusting and corroding. And the silicone hoses inside are good are resisting heat so you don’t have to worry about heat ruining them. These hoses are flexible and let in the air smoothly without causing much heat. This is the reason for your engine getting cooler air inside.
The kit itself is really easy to install and are installed in under 30 minutes and the fitting is great and you don’t have to modify any parts around it to get a perfect fit. The horsepower and torque gain will be around 10 of each and will for sure be noticeable.
Coming to the structure of Injen’s air intake system, the structure is solid and the whole system is rather well made and looks high quality. It doesn’t only look high quality but delivers what it shows too. Some high-class materials are used in the making of this product and this kit proves to be a good long-term investment in your car. It’s tough and durable and fits perfectly without rattling under the good. Plus, it’s also lightweight so that it doesn’t put too much load in the engine bay which may be worth a lot to people that are chasing weight on their race-car.
8. Airaid 451-328 MXP Cold Air Intake Kit
Ford Mustang GT 5.0 V8 2015-2017
The Airaid 451-328 MXP also one of the great choices for a cold air intake system you can have for your car. It is worth noting that Airaid’s 451-328 is designed especially for the Ford GT vehicles. This kit on the link is produced for the Ford Mustang GT 5.0 V8 engine from the years between 2015-2017. It’s because it will perform exceptionally with Ford cars and would show immediately and clear results in terms of performance, air intake, and quality
It features a streamlined air box containing funnels in them for the cold air to go through. That also cools the warm air inside it. It has a high quality and solid filter which will catch most dirt and debris in the atmosphere and provide your car with fresh and clear air without choking the filter.
This kit will undoubtedly increase the throttle response in your Ford and make it perform even better.
The product fits nicely with Fords as they are made especially for them. It includes double piping and looks good under the hood. Performance, wise, there will be no doubt in your mind after you get this fitted in your vehicle. The money spent on this is well worth it. Cars with powerful engines benefit more with this kit.
Some of the features and pros of this product are:
9. Volant 151536 PowerCore Cold Air Intake Kit
Chevrolet & GM & Cadillac 4.8/5.3/6.0L
If you want some sound upgrade along with fresh and cool air for your Chevy, GM or Cadillac 2001-2006 with the 4.8/5.3/6.0L engine, the Volant cold air intake system will give you that. The sound of the air being sucked in is preferred cool by lots of car fanatics and enthusiasts. Their cold air intakes are more suited for heavy vales and SUVs but can be used with smaller cars too.
Out of many brands in the market, this one stands due to its high quality and results. It doesn’t just draw in cool air but also increases the car’s performance, throttle response and makes it fly. The air box is well made and nicely packed so that there is no leakage of air. Also, its high-quality steel clamps don’t lose their shine and grips the box closed tightly. With its properly insulated air box, rest assured that hot engine air won’t be able to penetrate the air box and won’t mess with the cooler air flow. The price may be a bit high for some people, but, the quality is delivered by Volant so you don’t need to think twice before getting this for your car or SUV.
Some of Volant’s pros and cons are:
Cold Intake Air Filter FAQs & Buyer’s Guide
Why should you get one cold air intake kit for your car?
So why should you purchase a cold air intake system in the first place? To know why you’ll want to understand how your engine works. An inner combustion engine works by means of using the combustion technique to turn the pistons. It does this by drawing in fuel and air, then the usage of a spark plug (in case of gasoline engines) to ignite the mixture. This is what generates the pressure that pushes your car forward.
To perform the horsepower in an engine, you need two things. Get more fuel and air through the engine. One way to do this is to open the breathing of the engine to make it able to suck in more air which results in the injectors are injecting more fuel = More horsepower in your engine.
Other than boosting the horsepower and torque, you will also get a greater sound from the intake on your engine when installing a cold air intake kit. This may be appreciated by some but not by others, so you should take in mind that your engine will become a bit louder than before. In a lot of cases, you will also get an increased fuel efficiency when you open the breathing to the engine on low loads. Of course, it will make the fuel economy higher on acceleration because the higher air and fuel amount injected in the engine, but on lower RPM’s you can actually see an increase because the engine does not have to work as high to push your vehicle forward.
Can I modify the cold air intake kit for other models?
Everything is possible, but I would actually recommend getting the right filter model for your car. Some kits include aluminium pipes, and these can be modified if you have an aluminium welder or want to modify it yourself with more silicone hosings. Other filter kits include plastic houses, which can be even more difficult to modify if you do not want to use silicone hoses. So, my conclusion is that it’s always easier to find a cold air intake kit that is made for your car. It will probably get cheaper in the end also.
Things to look for before purchasing a cold air intake kit
There are some things that are especially necessary to look for before purchasing your cold air intake kit the get the most value out of it and to make you satisfied with your purchase. Here are the most common things to look for before purchase:
Oil or Dry filter
This is a pretty common question we get, should you get an oil or dry air filter? Which is the best? The first thing you should check for is if you have a mass air flow sensor on your car. Oiled filters can leak oil into the mass air flow sensor and damage it if you are unlucky. The mass air flow sensor is often located between the filter and the engine and some cars do have a MAP sensor instead of a MAF sensor. Therefore, if you have a mass air flow sensor, I do recommend you to get a Dry filter for your vehicle if possible to make sure you do not risk to damage the MAF sensor. The pros of the oiled filters are the filtration and the ability to clean it and re-use it several times over a long period of time. Oiled filters do most often not have to ever been replaced if not damaged.
Aluminium or Plastic pipes
This question can be a bit hard to answer, as you will get different answers depending on who you ask. From my perspective, it does not really matter that much. A lot of people claim that the aluminium pipes will cause a bit higher air intake temperature, which in my opinion are just slightly and you won’t notice a difference. Plastic pre-made pipes are often more expensive but it does often look good in the engine bay if you are looking for an OEM look. Aluminium pipes can also get hot and may be irritating if you are going the do any job under the hood when the engine is hot.
All included parts
Double check and make sure that you get all the necessary parts to install the kit on your cars. Some cold air intake kits do not include the filter and it has to be purchased separately. Always make sure you get both the filter, pipes, silicone hoses and other parts with the kit before your purchase.
Check how often the filter for the kit has to be replaced. A lot of kits in this list are washable and you should never have to be replaced. But if the filter has to be replaced within specified miles, check and make sure that there is a possibility to buy the filter separately, so you do not have to buy the whole kit again. It may even be worth buying several filters for your kit if you have to replace it often.
The last thing is this list is to consider the price of the cold air intake kit. You do not want to buy the cheapest kit because it may be harder to fit and the filter may not be as good as the more expensive ones, which can result in dirt flowing into your engine and damage it which can result in high repair costs. But I do understand, you do not most likely want to spend thousands of dollars on an air filter and pipes, so find a budget that is suitable for you and purchase a kit in the price range on what you want to spend.
Hi, I’m Magnus, the owner and the writer of Mechanic Base. I have been working with cars for 10 years, specialized in diagnostics and troubleshooting. I created this blog because I was tired of finding false information on the web while looking for repair information. I hope you enjoy my content!