How Much HP Does A Cold Air Intake Add?

How Much HP Does A Cold Air Intake Add

Adding a cold air intake to a vehicle is a popular modification for beginners. This is because it’s a cheap modification that can be installed relatively quickly and easily. 

Adding a cold air intake actually does give you a good boost of horsepower, so if this is something you’re looking for, then this might be the modification for you. 

Today we’re looking more into what a cold air intake does to your vehicle. 

How Much Horsepower Is Added With A Cold Air Intake? 

As the name suggests, a cold air intake improves your vehicle’s performance by allowing the engine to work with cooler air around it.

The cool air is able to cool the motor, which will allow it to work more efficiently. 

But how much can this really improve your car’s horsepower? This will be different for every car depending on the engine and what cool air intake you use.

However, the general consensus is that a cool air intake can add between 5 and 20 horsepower to your car. 

While this might not be enough to have you thrown back in your seat, you’ll certainly notice the difference while driving. 

How Does A Cold Air Intake Work? 

A cold air intake works by creating a gap between the engine’s air filter and the engine. This will leave the air that is drawn into the engine cooler, so your engine is working at lower temperatures than normal. 

Normally, when the air filter is right next to the engine, the engine will be sucking in hot air as the engine makes everything around it much warmer. 

Since cool air carries a higher amount of oxygen, using cool air in and around the engine can keep o2 levels high and therefore get you a bigger bang for the same amount of fuel used. 

Let’s put this in terms that might make more sense. 

Imagine that you are taking a jog outside, on a very hot and humid day. The lack of oxygen is going to make it much more difficult for you to breathe and keep running normally, right? 

Now imagine running while a cool and refreshing breeze surrounds you. Which would you prefer? And which would make you run more efficiently? 

Unless you are a professional athlete, no one is going to run as efficiently in hot and humid conditions. This is exactly the same as your car’s engine. 

Ever wondered why the weather report gives you a smog warning on the hottest and most humid days? Now you know! 

Why Are Cold Air Intakes Not The Norm? 

We know what you’re thinking – if the cold air is better for your engine, why is a cold air intake not what every car is made with right out of the factory? 

Why Are Cold Air Intakes Not The Norm? 

Traditional airflow assembly often comes with small and restricted tubes. This means that oxygen is limited to the engine and therefore offers you less combustion.

The reason for this is that they offer better filtration, and this is supposed to keep your car cleaner in all circumstances. 

Aftermarket intake features come with larger tubes with a grander diameter, encouraging stronger airflow to the engine.

This, paired with the cooler air from the bigger gap between the engine and the intake, provides a higher level of oxygen to the engine.

More oxygen = better combustion. 

The better combustion is what gets you the higher level of horsepower.

So, if you want higher levels of horsepower, you’re going to need to compromise and accept that your engine might not be left in the best condition after a few years of usage. 

Average Cost Of Cold Air Intake

Cold air intakes usually cost a few hundred dollars, but this will all depend on the make and model of your vehicle.

Some intakes are cheaper if you buy secondhand or from dirt-cheap retailers, but bear in mind that these might have sacrificed the quality to lower the price. 

The average price you can expect for a cold air intake will be between $300 and $500.

More lavish brands can take the price up to nearer $1000, but these are often not necessary. 

Cold air intakes are supposed to be cheap modifications made to your car, so don’t worry about reaching for the most expensive option.

Does Cold Air Intake Make Your Car Run Better? 

Yes, opening the airflow to your engine will make your car run more effectively due to the engine being able to breathe easier.

We think that, for a modest investment, you actually get a rather big payoff. 

Once you add your cold air intake, you’ll see a massive difference in your vehicle.

In addition to the added horsepower, you’ll also probably see an improvement in fuel economy, as well as the sound of your engine. 

Again, the exact results you see when adding a cold air intake to your car will depend on the vehicle.

However, you’re still going to see impressive results no matter what car you have. Some will just have more drastic changes than others. 


Cold air intakes are cheap modifications that you can make to your car when first starting out.

They offer better conditions for your engine to run in so that you can enjoy better horsepower and fuel efficiency. 

A cold air intake will add around 5 to 20 horsepower to your vehicle. While that might not sound like much, you’ll certainly see a difference in your everyday driving! 

Modified intakes for vehicles offer less filtration, meaning that your engine’s quality might decline quicker than it would with its stock tubing.

However, this is a risk you have to take in order to modify your vehicle. 

Overall, adding cold air intake to your vehicle is an excellent modification to start your journey with!

Dave Oliver

Dave Oliver is a seasoned car modification expert with over twenty years of experience in the field. His knowledge spans from restoring vintage models to implementing the latest customization technologies. He brings his passion and expertise to life through informative and engaging articles.

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