Air Intake Buyers Guide

The following Air Intake Buyers Guide  intends to be a starting reference-point when you’re ready to upgrade you air filtration system in your vehicle to something aftermarket.

What is Aftermarket?

If you’re not familiar with the term, basically, aftermarket means a replacement part or accessory for your vehicle that’s not supplied from the original-manufacturer. There are a few things in terms of quality and performance you’d want to look for when researching or buying an air intake system or filter.

I’ll begin by mentioning that an aftermarket intake system is an extremely common and, under most-circumstances, install easily. You may ask: “”well, why not just use the stock intake system, what’s wrong with that?” It’s an extremely common question I hear often!

While you shouldn’t have any issues with your stock intake,  it’s well known in the tuner world that stock-intakes are ages behind aftermarket upgrades mainly due to a few major issue:

  • Air Restriction – Naturally, your stock air intake or filter comes in-cased within a large plastic box, this box restricts the air-flow to your engine thus in turn causing.
  • Lower-Quality Filtration – OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) intake systems do not filter out as much dirt, dust and moisture as well as aftermarket air filters. Many aftermarket air intake systems or filters have dust covers available for purchase as seen here.
  • Heat – OEM intakes  suck in hotter air due to the the restrictive plastic box they’re contained within.

What Do the Above Issues Affect?

Performance, performance, performance!

Because of the increased air-restriction, your stock system can not suck in with as much force as an un-restricted aftermarket system…resulting in decreased-acceleration response.

Many stock/factory system air filters use a paper-media as their filtration method. It’s cheaper and easier for the manufacturer to mass-produce…but is not by any means comparable to that of aftermarket manufacturers in the term of performance.

In the case of aftermarket production, high quality, high efficiency filtration is utilized in the form of foam and cotton gauze. Such uses allow for better air flow and the capturing of finer harmful particles. Additionally, they’re reusable and washable and normally easy to clean effectively making them easier on the environment.

One of the most detrimental issues that affects stock cooling is heat. Because of the restrictive air box, more heat resides near the intake. warmer or hotter air is then in turn, pulled into the engine. What the engine needs for increased power, acceleration and mileage is cooler or cold dense air. Dense air contains more oxygen, more oxygen makes an engine happy.

Because it’s hot under the engine-bay, it’s a tough task for any air intake system to pull in cooler air, but it’s  near impossible to do so with restrictive stock cooling unless it’s extremely cold outside!

Cooler air flow is a constant necessity your engine needs to achieve it’s best performance. Cooler air flow means increased horsepower, better gas mileage and increased acceleration response. Each of which you’ll notice (even if slightly) from an aftermarket intake any day over a stock, original OEM intake.

Air intake systems and filters come in a variety of shapes and sizes and designs. The most common or most well-known aftermarket intakes are considered to be  “cold-air intake” and  “short ram air intake” While I won’t be discussing them in much detail in this Air Intake Buyers Guide, you can read our comparison of Cold Air Intake vs Short Ram Intake at the page linked.

Cold Air Intake Systems vs Stock Intake:


A typical Cold Air Intake from AEM

  • Further from the engine due too it’s elongated tubing
  • Sucks  in cooler more dense air
  • Air Flow Increased
  • Engine Power Increased
  • Fuel Mileage Increased
  • Engine-Bay Appearance Upgrade
  • Easier Installation

Short Ram Air Intake Systems vs Stock:

K&N Typhoon 69-1013TS

A typical Short Ram Air Intake from K&N

  • Quality Short Ram’s contain heat-shields allowing for easier suction of cooler air
  • Shorter inlet-length than any other intake-system allowing for higher powered suction.
  • Upgraded Engine-Bay Appearance
  • Air Flow Increased
  • Engine Power Increased
  • Fuel Mileage Increased
  • Easier Installation
  • My personal Short Ram incentive: A louder suction noise upon accelerating

With everything said and done, this Air Intake Buyer’s Guide should have provided you with the knowledge to determine what you need or don’t need when purchasing an aftermarket air intake system or filter. I’d advise you to move away from your stock air system as soon as you can!

Be sure to read up on the reviews of aftermarket intake systems from the air intake reviews sections:

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