Which Cold Air Intake Should I Buy?

Most cold air intake systems will work for any vehicle, but it helps to understand what you are shopping for. Here are some tips that touch on what you need to be looking for when replacing your cold air intake system.

Which Cold Air Intake is Right for You?

1. Plastic or Metal Air Intake Tube?

Air intake tubes are made from either plastic, resin (or carbon fiber), or metal – usually aluminum. Plastic intake tubes are typically quieter, while metal air intake tubes look flashier in various colors or finishes. Typically, metal intake tubes will tend to hold heat longer than plastic, even though aluminum by far dissipates heat far better than steel.

2. Oiled or Dry Air Filter?

Cold air intake systems come with oiled or dry air filters. Oiled filters are covered with a thin layer of oil to trap dirt. Dry filters rely on layers of cotton gauze or synthetic fabric, to keep out contaminants. Oiled air filters are reusable and long-lasting.

You can drive close to 50,000 miles before an oiled air filter ever needs cleaning under normal road driving conditions. Cleaning is just a bath of warm soapy water and reapplication of oil. Dry filters don’t require cleaning, but cannot be reused. You’ll need to replace the filter after 15,000 to 30,000 miles or as the manufacturer suggests. Read and follow recommendations on the package. Note – over-oiling of an oiled filter can lead to Mass Airflow sensor (MAF) failure, so it’s important to be careful when servicing an oiled filter.

3. Which Brand to Buy?

Most systems will work for any vehicle, but when in doubt, it’s a good idea to choose a cold air intake system from a brand that caters to your vehicle type. K&N has produced cold air intake systems for decades, and it’s one of the most popular brands of cold air intake systems thanks to extensive coverage.

Spectre cold air intake systems feature chrome air intake tubes and also carry universal products that can be adapted to various vehicles. They’re a favorite choice for hobbyists looking to build a system. AFE cold air intake systems are direct-fit kits for many cars like Honda, Acura, and Toyota. Their aluminum air intake tubes come in various colored finishes, including gray, blue, and red to create a cohesive look. While this guide should give you a better understanding of cold air intake systems, you can always visit the friendly AutoZone team with any questions about cold air intake systems and other automotive accessories.

If you’re ready to start searching for a new intake, browse online or talk to a store associate at your local AutoZone.

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Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

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