Mod Monday: The cold air intake

Wah wah, wah wah, wah wah.

Listening to guys talk about their engines is like being Charlie Brown in class. And rather than try to understand, I usually just get sucked into my smartphone and play video games until it’s all over.

But on those rare occasions that I do decide to tune in to their conversations about…tuning… I usually just hear a bunch of words I don’t understand and copious references to new “cold air intakes”.

…What the fuck does a cold air intake actually do?

From what I’ve gathered over the years, it’s something that not only makes your car faster and run smoother, but also adds a little yellow smiley sticker to your man card that says “Good Job!”

ImageLet’s consult our educational overlord, Wikipedia, in order to get some answers here.

A cold air intake is an aftermarket assembly of parts used to bring relatively cool air into a car’s internal-combustion engine.

Most vehicles manufactured since the mid-1970s have thermostatic air intake systems that regulate the temperature of the air entering the engine’s intake tract, providing warm air when the engine is cold and cold air when the engine is warm to maximize performance, efficiency, and fuel economy. Aftermarket cold air intake systems are marketed with claims of increased engine efficiency and performance. The putative principle behind a cold air intake is that cooler air has a higher density, thus containing more oxygen per volume unit than warmer air.” –

The kicker in this explanation is the fact that they used the word “claims”. With a decent cold air intake and tuner kit (which is used to calibrate it to your engine properly) being around $700 for my car, I’m not taking any chances on “claims”.

It either works or it doesn’t, annnnnnd, according to the video below…

…it really doesn’t.

So why the hell are men spending good money to alter their engines for something that essentially has very little gain? Most of it probably is the chain effect. For example, everyone tells you that the iPhone is the best phone ever (WRONG), so next time you go shopping for a phone, you buy an iPhone. Note: I’ve worked in the cellphone industry for a while, so this is a scenario that really makes me scoff!

Part of the reason is also probably because a cold air intake tends to make the engine louder, which is like a male mating call.

Btw, guys, it doesn’t work.

Next time the men around you are blabbering about cold air intakes, blind them with your new found science from this video. And more importantly, don’t get suckered into purchasing something for your car you really won’t need. Do your research first on your specific make and model and consult an expert.

Weigh in below!



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