How Does a Cold Air Intake Work? FMS Explains the Benefits of Air Intake Systems.
What Does a Cold Air Intake Do?
In 1969, K&N introduced the reusable, high-flow cotton gauze air filter. This revolutionary performance air filter was initially designed for racing, but soon found its way onto countless street cars and custom built hotrods. By the late 80's, fuel injection was becoming the industry standard, so K&N introduced the idea of bolt-on performance air intakes. Like its first high-flow air filter, its new cold air intake systems were proven to significantly increase horsepower and torque, and they quickly became the gold standard for custom car builders, off-roaders, racers, and performance enthusiasts across the globe.
Today, K&N cold air intake systems are the go-to performance upgrade for anybody wanting to increased horsepower and torque from their vehicle’s engine. These bolt-on performance kits are easy to install, and the reusable cotton gauze air filters are warrantied for 10 years or one million miles. But let's look at how they work.
How a Cold Air Intake System Works
The best way to explain a cold air intake system is to think of your car's engine like a pair of lungs. In order to make power, the cylinders have to inhale air to create the explosion that produces wheel-turning horsepower and torque. Since cold air contains more oxygen molecules than warm air, injecting a higher volume of oxygen-rich air into the cylinders allows the engine to burn fuel more completely during the combustion cycle. This "combustion efficiency" results in an increase of horsepower and torque, using roughly the same amount of fuel.
Put simply, if you add oxygen to a fire, you get a stronger fire. K&N cold air intake systems are designed to deliver more oxygen-rich cold air into the engine than a stock air intake tract. This results in a stronger 'explosion', which contains more force to push the piston down and turn the crankshaft. That extra energy/power is then transferred to the transmission and out to the wheels.
O2 = HP
The resulting horsepower gain varies by product and application, but each K&N cold air intake system has been designed to increase airflow efficiency for specific vehicles and their engines. Each of K&N’s performance air intake kits undergo significant testing to ensure that the high-flow K&N air filter and intake tube is positioned to collect and deliver the coolest air possible. An engine bay is filled with low-performing warm air, and if the air filter placement is less than ideal (usually due to space limitations), K&N cold air intake systems will use application specific air filter heat shields to prevent warm air from entering the system.
Breathing in More Power
Clean air is vital to the performance of not only the engine, but a cold air intake system as well. That's why each K&N performance intake system comes with a K&N high-flow cotton gauze air filter. These legendary K&N air filters are made with 4-6 layers of our proprietary cotton gauze material sandwiched between 2 layers of rugged aluminum mesh. When combined with the unique K&N filter oil, the cotton fibers are able to attract contaminants that are smaller in diameter than a human hair. This type of filtration is called "depth loading", and it keeps dirt particles trapped within the matrix of cotton fibers, while more air flows through to the engine. K&N air filters typically score 97%-99% filtration efficiency following the ISO 5011 Air Filter Test protocol.