Amount Of Air A Mass Air Flow Sensor Measure Boost Horsepower and Performance With a Cold Air Intake System

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Boost Horsepower and Performance With a Cold Air Intake System

Have you ever noticed that, when the temperatures are cold in the fall, your car gets up and goes more? Your car accelerates much smoother and faster from a stop light. Don’t you like it? It puts a big smile on your face every time. This is because your engine works better with cooler air. Now I have a question for you. Isn’t it good to have this kind of performance all year round? Absolutely! This can be achieved with cold air induction, and you don’t need to be a gear head with a lot of experience working on motors to see a 10 – 20 horsepower increase in efficiency and torque at the rear wheels.

Let’s go over some basics. Your engine is basically a big air pump. The easier it can breathe in and out, the better the vehicle will perform. For this article, we’re going to focus on the breathing part of the equation. The exhalation part is your exhaust system which we will cover in a separate article.

There are two basic stages of cold air induction. First is to increase the air volume and second is to decrease the induced air temperature.

Step 1: Increasing the volume of air


If you open the hood of your vehicle and open the air filter housing, you will most likely find a paper filter. This is a standard OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) air filter. They are inexpensive for car manufacturers to purchase and install. If you go to any aftermarket auto parts store, you’ll find them in ready supply. A better product is a filter made of cotton. Cotton filters trap smaller contaminants than paper filters and allow more air to pass through them, allowing your engine to breathe easier and therefore perform better. Also, you don’t need to change the filter like you would a normal paper filter. Just take it out and clean it occasionally when you find it dirty. There are many companies that specialize in these types of filters such as K&N, AEM and Injen. Most of these suppliers recommend oiling the filter before installation. Now it’s not engine oil I’m referring to, but a special oil that suppliers sell. This oil helps to trap even fine particles without hindering the induction of air volume. Don’t worry about oil getting expensive. It isn’t. K&N sells an air filter service kit for about $20. It will last you a long time. Kit includes oil spray and cleaning solution. When you take the filter out for cleaning, simply spray the cleaning solution on the filter before rinsing. It helps remove trapped dirt particles from the fine filter element.


Filter installation is simple and a simple do-it-yourself project. This is no different than replacing a standard paper air filter.

Step 1: Locate the air filter assembly under the hood.

Step 2: The housing is usually held together with 2 or 3 metal clamps. Open/release the clamp.

Step 3: With the clamp open, pull the housing apart. Be gentle! Some vehicles have a MAF (Mass Air Flow Sensor) attached to the downstream duct coming from the housing. It’s not an overly delicate sensor but you don’t want to be brutal with it. If you’re not familiar with what MAF looks like, you can’t miss it. Wires run from it that go from the MAF to the vehicle’s computer. The MAF measures the volume and temperature of the air entering the motor and then adjusts the fuel mixture to optimize fuel efficiency.

Step 4: Remove the old paper air filter and install a new “oiled” cotton filter.

Step 5: Reattach the air filter housing clamps.

Step Two: Lower the Temperature (aka Cold Air Induction)

The cotton filters mentioned above are great performance enhancers for your vehicle, but to take it a step further and see even better results you may want to replace the air filter housing with a unit that moves the air filter further away from the engine. These assemblies usually move the filter to the front wheel housing or to the front of the vehicle near the front air dam. Either option would be to draw cold air from outside the vehicle compared to pulling hot air from the engine trapped under the hood. K&N is a leader in this segment of the market, but if you want to compare prices, check the internet and I’m sure there are others. K&N has an in-house engineering group that tests all of their own products to ensure that the products they sell meet or exceed expectations. Another great thing about a company like K&N is that you can buy the entire system, filter and filter housing assembly as a kit. The kit will have installation instructions that are easy to follow, but I’ll give you some quick easy steps to put your mind at ease.

Step 1: Disconnect the air duct from the throttle body on the engine. This is usually a metal retainer clamp that can be unscrewed. The MAF housing may fit sandwiched between the air duct and throttle body and may also have its own retainer clamp. Simply unscrew the retainer clamp and remove the MAF. Note which side of the MAF faces the throttle body. Air flows on one side of the MAF and on the other side. The MAF must be installed in the same direction when completed. Set the MAF aside in a safe place for now.

Step 2: Disconnect the air duct from the air filter housing. If you haven’t already encountered MAF, you should now. Just follow the MAF removal instructions above. An air vacuum hose may also be attached. Just gently pull it apart leaving the hose attached to the engine. Now remove the air duct completely and keep it aside.

Step 3: Disconnect the air filter housing from the engine compartment. It is not difficult. There are usually two to four places where the housing is attached to the engine bay to prevent it from rotating. Once you have removed all the screws, remove the housing unit.

Step 4: Attach the new air duct to the throttle body. Check the new housing notice for the location of the MAF. If the MAF needs to be installed between the air duct and the throttle body, install the MAF in the throttle body first and then attach the air duct to the MAF. This may call for the MAF to connect the air duct directly to the throttle body and the end of the air duct connected to the air filter housing. If so go ahead and connect the air duct to the throttle body then connect the MAF to the air duct.

The new air duct will have a different configuration than your original OEM duct because it is now changing where the air filter will be.

Step 5: Install the new air filter housing in the location specified by the supplier. This can be in the front air dam area or in the fender wells. Usually it is close enough to the original air filter housing location so that attachment points can be used.

Step 6: After the air filter housing is firmly attached to the engine compartment, attach the air duct to the housing using the clamps provided.

Step 6: Reconnect the vacuum hose to the air duct if your car has one. Also connect the MAF wiring to the MAF.

Step 7: Check all clamps and make sure they are nice and tight.

Step 8: Start your vehicle. Let it idle for two minutes. The engine computer will be recalibrated based on the new air volume. Next, take a short test drive. You should immediately see a significant improvement in vehicle performance. After your test drive, check all clamps and connections to make sure everything is tight.

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