The Different Types of Air Intake Systems

If you don't know what air intake is, then you have come to the right place! In simple terms, an air intake system sucks more air into your pickup truck engine. Not only does the system keep the engine cool, but it also helps to generate more horsepower. Basically, better, continuous airflow translates to better horsepower on the road. An air intake system consists of three different parts, including the throttle body, air filter, and mass flow sensor. These three components work together to help engine power and fuel economy. The air intake system brings air into the intake manifold, controlling the amount of air in the combustion chamber. Before heading online to buy one yourself, read this guide to the different types of air intake systems. That way, you can get the best performance air intake system for your car's engine at Specialty Performance Parts.

Three Types of Air Intake Systems:

Find out the differences between the three, and maybe you'll find which is the perfect fit for your needs.

Air intake system in car

Cold Air Intake

Cold air intake systems are great because cooler air is denser and more oxygen-rich than hot air. To put it simply, your engine will see a power gain with cooler, denser air, also helping the car's fuel efficiency. Cold air intakes can do this because their air filters sit farther away from the engine bay than other intakes.

This intake system also has a heat shield around the filter to keep the airflow as cool as possible. Commonly, you’ll spot cold air intakes behind grilles and bumpers in the engine compartment. Since these devices are so effective for boosting engine performance, we have cold air intakes available among our selection of F150 Raptor accessories.

Ram-Air Intake

Ram-air intakes share a common factor with cold air intake systems—both devices can deliver cooler air to your internal combustion engine. However, ram-air intake filters sit at the front of the car, near the engine. Don’t hesitate to ask your parts supplier if their ram-air intakes have heat shields to protect them from becoming too hot. If the engine is what generates hot air, why place this intake system at the vehicle's front end? The answer is that ram-air intake systems send oxygen-rich cool air to the engine by sucking it in as the car travels forward. Such a setup can pack a powerful punch on the road and have a positive effect on engine efficiency.

Short Ram Intake

If you’re looking for a power gain that won’t take up as much room as other systems, consider a short ram intake. Due to its smaller size, this intake system supplies air to the engine faster than the options above. That said, the air comes from the engine bay, meaning that short ram systems won’t provide the cool air flow that the other options on this list do. Short ram intakes aren’t useless, though. In fact, they’re perfect for anyone looking for a better throttle response.

As you can see, learning the different types of air intake systems is very simple. Now, hopefully, finding the best automotive intake system for your ride will be simple too. At Specialty Performance Parts, we have a wide selection of performance parts for your specific vehicle to draw the maximum performance and power output over your stock system.

Types of Intake Systems Infographic