Air Intake Manufacturer Hot Wheels - K&N
Air Intake Manufacturer Hot Wheels - AEM
Reusable Air Filters Reduce Landfills
Reusable Air Filters Help Reduce Landfills

How Performance Air Intakes Work

All cars and trucks come with a factory air intake system.  It usually consists of an air filter inside a plastic box that gets air fed into it on one end and passes filtered air through the other side into an accordion shaped hose that feeds into the engine's air intake.  Factory intake designs are created to meet several objectives.  They must be cost effective and provide filtered air to the engine while keeping sound to a minimum.


A performance air intake typically takes the place of the factory intake system.  It usually includes a high flow, low restriction air filter connected to a custom designed low restriction aerodynamic tube that connects to the engine's intake.  A review of most designs will reveal a heat shield that shields hot engine air from entering the air filter.  Cooler air contains more oxygen molecules which helps create more horsepower.  Sometimes designs where the filter is located in the engine compartment are referred to as "short ram intakes".  Cold air intakes (CAI) place the performance air filter outside the engine compartment where cooler outside air can be obtained.  These usually don't have a heat shield.


Good quality performance air intake systems add horsepower and torque (acceleration) while protecting your engine.  Many consumers report better gas mileage with air intakes, however, much of that depends on how you drive and other factors.


Good quality air intake brands include K&N Engineering, AIRAID and AEM Induction Systems.  These air intake brands are made in the USA, stand behind their products and have customer support based in the US.  K&N has been manufacturing performance air filters since the late 1960's, AEM was a pioneer in cold air intakes for sport compact vehicles and AIRAID has their own unique closed and open designs.. 

How do you make your own low cost air intake?  Spectre Performance offers lower cost imported air intakes for specific vehicles and they also sell parts for those wanting to build their own air intake.  For more on Spectre Performance air intake products go to

Be careful because poorly designed air intakes can cause problems with your car's electronics making your car run inefficiently.  They can also cause your check engine light to come on.  Make sure to review all of your options before making a decision.


K&N air intakes use a performance air filter made from oiled layers of cotton fabric.  K&N air filters are washable and reusable.  Their air intake air filters can go for up to 100,000 miles before they need to be cleaned and re-oiled.  K&N air intakes come with a million mile limited warranty. For more information on K&N Performance Air Intakes go to


AEM air intakes use a synthetic air filter that is washable and reusable.  These filters don't use oil.  AEM air intakes come with a limited lifetime warranty. For more information on AEM Cold Air Intakes go to

Some AIRAID air intakes use a dry synthetic air filter and some use an oiled cotton/synthetic blend air filter. Lifetime limited warranty.


Beware of air intakes with low quality air filters.  Air intake air filters need to flow well but most importantly they must protect your engine for long life.

Cold Air Intake

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