How to improve air intake on a car

Car intake system plays a vital role in maintenance of a car. Most car owners are unaware about how exactly it works and what it does. The very first car intake system was made of moulded plastic and a cone shaped cotton gauze air filter in the late 90s. The fuel injection became popular in the 1980s and the air filters assemblies continued to become more complex. 

Nowadays with the advancement of technologies, air intake systems are made in metallic tube designs. These tubes are either powder coated or painted to match the color of the vehicle. 

The air filters have become computerized. They are equipped with various sensors that regulate certain parameters like; air temperature and velocity; and even the fuel metering can be adjusted accordingly. 

So in this article we will share with you some insights on how exactly the air intake system works, what is its importance, their types and where exactly you can buy them. So read this article till the end. 

How you can improve air intake on a car

You can improve the air intake on a car by using certain air intake systems. The most common ones are the following: 

  • A cold air intake system
  • The paper filter or the stock replacement filter.
  • Cotton gauze or the stock replacement filter 
  • Open pod filter also known as Cotton gauze
  • The open pod filter (Foam) 
  • Oil bath filter
  • Cotton gauze or the stock replacement filter 


What is an air intake system and how does it work?

The main function of the air intake system is to allow the air to reach the car engine. For the effective combustion process oxygen is a necessary ingredient. A properly working  air intake system ensures a continuous supply of clean air to your engine, which provides a better mileage and more power to your car. The most common type of air intake system is the cold air intake.

A modern car air intake system offers the three main components:

  • Air filter 
  • Mass flow sensor
  • Throttle body

The air intake system is located behind the front grille. The system draws air with the help of a long plastic tube which leads to the air filter housing, which later gets mixed with the car fuel. After that the air is sent to the intake manifold which supplies the fuel mixed air to the engine cylinders. 

Air filter

An air filter helps provide air to the engine. The air filter usually sits in a plastic or a metal box. The air filter filters dirt and other foreign particles in the air that could damage the engine. 

Mass flow sensor

A mass flow sensor measures the mass of air entering a fuel-injected internal combustion engine. The air then moves to the throttle body next. 

There are two types of mass flow sensors namely; vane meter and hot wire.

Throttle body

The main purpose of a throttle body is to control the amount of air flowing into the engine‚Äôs combustion chamber. 

What are the types of air filters that help in the improvement of air intake on a car? 

There are a variety of performance air filters and intake systems available in the market for the improvement of air intake on a car. We will give you some insights about them. 

A cold air intake system

A cold air intake system is mainly used to provide the cooler air to the car engine, in order to increase the engine efficiency and power. 

The basic principle on which cold air intake works is to increase the amount of oxygen for combustion of fuel. The cold air is dense in nature and provides cool air to the engine.

The  cold air intake system has many benefits. It increases the horsepower and torque of your engine. When the cold air intake system takes a large amount of cold air, the engine gets filled by oxygen rich cold air. This results in efficient fuel burning, and a significant increase in the torque of your engine. 

Type ProsCons 
Cold air charging filterThe cold air intake also results in an improved throttle response. Cold air intake systems also improves the air-to-fuel ratio thus leading to a better fuel economy. Increases your car’s horsepower by 10-15%The noise of cold air intake filters is usually more.

The paper filter or the stock replacement filter.

Paper filters offer an efficient and cost effective choice to the car owners. 

The filter paper is moulded into the filter cartridges which is then fitted to a holder. 

Type Pros Cons
Paper filter Paper filters needs no cleaning or oilingCost effective
Non reusable and need to be replaced for every 15000-30000 km
They have low dust tolerance resulting higher airflow resistance 

Third on our list is the:

Cotton gauze or the stock replacement filter 

They are almost similar to the paper filter except they are reusable, which makes them long lasting and economical. They increase the car performance by 1-2 bhp. 

They need proper maintenance, the oil and filter should be cleaned properly. 

Type Pros cons
Cotton gauze filterThey are reusable and lasts longerIncreases the cars performance by 1-2 bhp No modification is requiredNeed proper cleaning and maintenance CostlierIf the filter does not get sufficient oil efficiency is reduced. 

 Open pod filter also known as Cotton gauze

An open pod filter is marked as a high performance filter. It has a round casing in which the cotton gauze is placed.

This filter had a limited use in the past. The filter provides a good performance and filtering efficiency. 

Type Pros Cons

Open pod filter
Marginal gain in performanceSportier and loud exhaust note Low dust load up efficiency Requires proper cleaning and maintenance to retain its efficiency

The open pod filter (Foam) 

The open pod filter is usually made up of foam fitted inside a round casing. It is a widely used filter, mainly for the small engines like lawnmowers. This filer has a good filtering efficiency. 

Type proscons
Open pod filterProvides good filtering efficiencyGood dust load up toleranceSuperior airflow efficiencyThere’s no need to worry about the jamming of MAF sensorsRequires regular cleaning and maintenanceHas possibility of losing low end torqueNeeds modification in the stock airbox to be installed

Oil bath filter

The oil bath filter consists of an oil pan, the filter inserts of either fiber, paper or mesh are fitted over the bath. This type of filter was used in 60s prior to the introduction of paper filters. 

Type Pros cons
Oil bath filterHeavy elements are captured by the oil and are not able to enter the engineThere is a hassle to change this filter 


Which are the best air intake systems for your car? 

To help you choose the best air intake system for your car we have shared the links of some of the latest products. These include the air filters and air intake system kits. So have a look at some of our latest recommendations:

Air intake systems Why i recommend it 
RANSONE 12mm Air Filter Cold Air Intake Filter Breather Turbo Vent Air Intake Filter Cleaner Black Universal for car and MotorcycleThis filter is a perfect replacement for those outdated filters. Increases the air intake by drawing more air into the engine which in turn increases the throttle response. Hence improves the horsepower of your car.The air filter is portable and easy to installThe filter offers a long time use and durability.
Intake Air Filter, Universal Car 3″ Carbon Fibre Cold Air Filter Feed Enclosed Intake Induction Pipe Hose KitThis air filtration kit consists of a flexible cold air feed hose, carbon fibre air induction system which is compatible with most of the carsThe filter comes with a carbon fibre shell is lightweight, has a noise reduction property and heat insulation  This air intake filter effectively increases the horsepower, improves the gas mileage, makes the oil combustion complete and decreases the oil consumption. Reduce engine’s carbon deposit and increases its durability 
ESUPPORT Universal 12mm Mini Blue Cone Cold Air Intake Filter Turbo Vent Breather Car This filter increases the torque output and engine power Improves the horsepower significantlyThe filter is made of high quality material which ensures filtration efficiency 
MooSun 4″ Performance Cold Air Intake Kit With Filter For GMC Chevy Chevrolet 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 V8 4.8L/5.3L/6.0LThe filter is specially designed to increase the horsepower by 8-10 % and 6-10% of engine torque The filter produces an attractive intake noise MOOSUN intake systems dramatically reduce intake restriction as they smooth and straighten air flow. The kit includes all the additional parts there is no need to buy any additional parts Easy to install 
aFe TR-3001B Takeda Cold Air Intake System for Nissan 350Z/Infiniti G35Takeda cold air intake system increases the horsepower upto 19% Filter is easy to clean, needs no oil and can be cleaned with normal soap and water Easy installation; can be installed in approximately 30 minutes 
Auto Snap Silver 3″ 75mm Car SUV High Flow Short RAM/COLD Air Intake Vent Cone Filter Cleaner (Silver) Auto Snap air intake system comes with a chrome coating material and attractive design The filter is Lightweight air with real carbon fiber heat shieldMicro cotton gauze type filter material,  can be easily cleaned with water or soap, and is reusable
K&N RC-1820 High Performance Universal Clamp-on Chrome Air FilterThese filters are capable of providing upto 50% more airflow than disposable paper filters, increases power and accelerationThe filters are easy to install, pre-oiled with simple clamp-on designCost effective and saves a lot of money by avoiding disposable filters.The filters are washable, reusable and hence eco-friendly in approach Protects your engine from harmful contaminants. 
K&N Vent Air Filter/Breather: High Performance, Premium, Washable, Replacement Engine Filter: Flange Diameter: 0.375 In, Filter Height: 1.75 In, Flange Length: 0.5 In, Shape: Breather, 62-1600RDThese filters are capable of providing upto 50% more airflow than disposable paper filters, increases power and accelerationThe filters are easy to install, pre-oiled with simple clamp-on designCost effective and saves a lot of money by avoiding disposable filters.The filters are washable, reusable and hence eco-friendly in approach Protects your engine from harmful contaminants. Low maintenance in approach and runs 50,000 miles before first cleaning 
Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit: High Performance, Desgined to Increase Horsepower and Torque: Fits 2014-2019 CHEVROLET/GMC/CADILLAC (Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Sierra, Yukon, Escalade) SPE-9006These air filters are capable of providing upto 50% more airflow than the restrictive factory box air filters Improves the acceleration and uphill performance by improving the throttle response Protects the engine from harmful contaminants Low maintenance air filters; cleaning not required upto 100,000 miles Pre Oiled synthetic filter design

Other FAQs about Air Quality that you may be interested in.

Does Air Quality Get Better at Night?

How to Improve Air Quality in a Basement Apartment

Methane Gas: What do you need to know?


In this article we shared with you some insights on how exactly the air intake system works, what is its importance, their types and where exactly you can buy them. If you have any queries you can post them and we will try to resolve all your queries. 


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