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Cold air intake kits are likely one of the first modifications you should do to your vehicle if you are looking to gain additional horsepower. As you might know by now, internal combustion engines generate plenty of heat. Hot air is not as dense as fresh, cold air. To get the best bang for your buck, literally, you must provide as much cool, dense oxygen as you can, which in turn allows for more fuel to be burned, improving horsepower. Drawing air in from a hot engine bay will only end up decreasing your horsepower. That is why most people opt out for a cold air intake kit, which is intended to draw in cool, fresh air from the outside while you got the accelerator pedal buried in the floor. However, if installed incorrectly, a cold air intake kit, or ram air intake kit as some may call it, can do more harm than good. Restrictive piping, length, and filter type all play an important role in how much performance your engine will gain from a cold air intake kit. We always recommend getting a cold air intake kit that is specifically made for your make and model. If that is not possible, a universal cold air intake from a reputable manufacturer such as K&N, Spectre, Edelbrock, etc. may be the next best step.

Do Cold Air Intakes Really Work? 

The short answer is yes, depending of course on your application. In the world of engine modifications, a cold air intake is one of the easiest ways to “bolt-on” extra horsepower. Nowadays, automotive manufacturers have advanced their engines so much, that putting on a cold air intake will only do much in terms of power gains. Modern applications usually retrofit the restrictive factory air filter box for something larger to allow fitment of a high-flow filter. If you are planning on boosting your engine’s performance a cold air intake or ram air kit is a must. If your engine is not equipped with fuel injection, you can still benefit from a carburetor air intake to make sure your engine gets only the densest, cold air coming through with our selection of cold air intake kits for carburetors.

What Is Ram Air?

A ram-air intake works by increasing or “ramming” more air into the intake of the engine, hence the name. This technology is nothing new and has been used even back in the ’70s on certain muscle cars. Most vehicles are designed to be as quiet as possible. As a result, horsepower takes a hit. Car makers design air intakes to be whisper quiet by using a series of baffles and/or other restrictive materials. Generally, a ram air intake gets rid of that restrictive intake and replaces it with a larger diameter pipe, along with a new ram air filter and housing for ultimate flow. This in turn creates that “woosh” sound that so many of us love to hear when putting the pedal to the metal.

Are Cold Air Intakes Universal?

We offer universal cold air intake kits and components as well as direct-fit application specific cold air intake systems. So, the universal nature of a cold air kit will depend upon what you are working on. Wishing to add some cold air power on your late-model Camaro, Corvette, or Mustang, we have direct fit applications that bolt right on. However, if you are doing a LS swap in a classic hot rod or muscle car, you may have to go the universal route and select your tubing, filter, clamps, and more to get a system dialed in exactly how you want it. Cold Air Intake KitsWe offer several carburetor cold air intake kit options as well.

What Are Some Cold Air Intake Benefits?

A cold air intake, ram air intake, or universal air intake all serves the same purpose. They are intended to feed your engine with dense cool air to create the most horsepower. Let us have a look at some of the most common benefits that a cold air intake can provide your fuel injected or carbureted engine.

Increased Horsepower

If you break it down, the internal combustion engine is just a complicated air pump. Cool air is denser, meaning that a cold air intake tube can bring in outside air for more horsepower. While some want the stock look, a carburetor air intake is a sure way to bring some of those lost ponies back in your classic muscle car’s stable. On top of that, carburetor air intake plenums are a great way to provide a modern touch to your engine bay.

Enhanced Sound

An old-fashioned naturally aspirated V8 engine has a sound that can't be beaten. Why not improve on that by installing a ram air intake? No matter if you get a universal air intake, a dedicated carburetor air box, or carburetor air intake plenums, one sure thing is that throaty, powerful classic engine sound will only be amplified. If that’s not music to your ears, we don’t know what is!

Better Acceleration

It does not matter if you use your hot rod on the quarter mile or around a dirt oval, improved acceleration is something that any car owner wants. A universal air intake can do wonders for carbureted and fuel-injected engines alike. By simply adding a cold air intake tube to your engine, you can create a noticeable difference in your car’s response!

Cold Air Intakes: The Pros and Cons

While a quality cold air intake system will improve your engine’s performance, enhance your induction sound, and provide a performance look to your engine bay, those solid “pros” do not come without a few “cons” either. Most ram air intake systems require the periodic maintenance of its air filter that must be cleaned (and sometimes oiled as well). This procedure takes time, and the filter must dry naturally before it can be reoiled. Depending upon how you configure a universal cold air intake system you might have a harder time accessing the air filter as well. Moving the filter from the top of the engine to the inner fender well certainly aids in feeding the engine cool, dense air, but it does not help come filter service time if it takes a half hour to access it. We think these are small concerns when you compare them to the benefits of what a properly routed and executed cold air intake system will do for your engine though!