Key Differences Between Cold Air Intake Vs Stock Intake

What is the most common reason for replacing a complete stock intake or purchasing a new cold air intake filter? The answer is – either to improve previous performance levels or to increase in performance. And today’s article will help you to determine these intake filters difference in performances by revealing the core differences between them-

So, what’s the difference between cold air intake vs stock?

The key difference between stock and cold air intake filters is their filtration capacity and intake air flow rate. Both filters capture contaminants from the air, but stock filters get choked with solid particles because of high pollution.

Stock box limits the airflow and oxygen molecules into the engine. Oppositely, cold air filters provide cold air through 6 layers of filtration, which contains more air pressure and oxygen molecules.

Core Differences Between Stock Intake Vs Cold Air Intake: 

Now, to compare each of the air intakes performance standpoints, let’s learn the differences in more details-

  Stock air intake filter Cold air intake filters
Made from: The stock air intake filter elements are constructed from a special grade of paper and this special version of the paper can catch dirt and other particles. The cold air intake system comes in various styles and can be made from different materials such as plastic, metal, rubber or silicon, and other composite materials.
Filtration Capability: Because of the high level of pollution, most stock air filters can get choked with solid particulate matter and that will result restricted airflow or less oxygen supply to the engine. Therefore, you need to clean your stock engine and other parts or do the stock replacement on each general vehicle servicing. Cold or cool air filters have thousands of layers of cotton gauze between the aluminum wire mesh sheets which can hold the specially designed oil to create a strong filtering mechanism. This mechanism can catch and hold smaller dust. This process helps to maintain the standard flow of air to your vehicle engine. 
Effective for Dirt/Dust Holding: Stock air filters come in oil and dry filter both options but the effective holding rate is not higher.  Since cold air intake systems are designed with multiple layers of fiber, they can more effectively capture and hold the dirt.
Intake Airflow Rate: Stock filters are known as restrictive filters. They collect dirt or dust particles and effectively choke pores which eventually restrict further air pressure rate. During filtration maintenance, cold air intake filters achieve a high and virtually unrestricted air pressure. Also, allow extra oxygen.
Cost And
The major plus point of a standard stock filter is its low cost and ease in replacing the entire stock box since the stock set-up process is quite easy. Cold air filters are relatively costly and the replacement task can be a little troublesome.

Cold Air Intake Benefits:

Here, let’s learn what benefits a cold air intake offers-   

  • A cold air intake can increase horsepower over stock intake and also increase fuel efficiency. 
  • Cold intakes let in extra oxygen to flow and also better for efficient heat transfer.
  • If you want a quicker throttle response in your car then cold air intake also ensures that. It also provides better acceleration to stay safe on busy roads. 
  • These intakes tend to improve the air-to-fuel ratio, which eventually increases the gas mileage.
  • These air filters are sturdier than any typical stock filter elements and last longer than stock upgrades.
  • These filters can boost up to 30 to 40 HP power and torque in your car.

Disadvantages Of Cold Air Intake:

Now, let’s learn and understand the disadvantages- 

  • A cold air intake is more expensive and if you have money limitations then this one is not a better solution.
  • Unlike stock setup, a cold air intake has a more time-consuming and complex installation process.
  • These intakes tend to absorb moisture and debris, which means they tend to compromise the internal elements. 
  • Since Cold intake generally places filters outside of your engine bay, there’s a risk of water flow entering the cylinders. And when a significant amount of water gets trapped inside your cylinders, it causes a hydro-lock on your engine.

Aftermarket Air Intake Vs Stock-Which One Better?

Mainly, the answer depends on the desired outcome. Some vehicle owners prefer using stock with common modifications instead of replacing the entire stock engine. Others may prefer replacing stock with an aftermarket to upgrade previous performance levels.

Let’s learn the differences between aftermarket CAIs and Stock first-

  • Mainly, people purchase an aftermarket intake filter or aftermarket CAIs to replace the current stock filter for better airflows, fuel mileage, and torque. 
  • An aftermarket CAIs pulls colder and denser air which contains extra oxygen too. But a stock airbox pulls regular or warmer air with less density and oxygen.
  • Most aftermarket intakes can reduce the filter inlet, larger inlet by using low-restriction filter elements. They can even offer a bump above stock in power when the filter inlet air temp decreases. For example, an 11° intake temps drop in filter will increase approx. 1% power.
  • If you consider filtration capacity, aftermarket CAIs are more efficient in filtering all contaminants and dust than any stock airbox or stock filter.
  • Since an aftermarket intake pulls colder air, fuel can burn more efficiently. But the airflow of stock one is less thin or dense in oxygen, and you will get less mileage and poor performance of your vehicle.

Different Factor In Performance Between Short Ram Intake Vs Cold Air Intake-

Let me explain the difference in the performance of these two to make the decision easier-

  • In case the highest increase in torque and horsepower is your preference to select the intake, a cold air filter will be an ideal option. But if you do not have such specific requirements, then go for a short ram intake because it also offers a more quicker throttle response and decent acceleration. 
  • If you want to consider which one has better sound, consider the short ram intake because its pipe is short and close to the throttle body. That’s why it can resonate louder sound. 
  • If you have a budget or money limitation, let me remind you cold air intakes are expensive and have a way more complex installation process.
  • Unlike cold air intakes high engine bay temperature does not affect short-ram intakes and water does not get into your engine either.
  • Short-ram is specially designed to not cause any experimental errors too.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do cold air intakes make a difference?   

Yes, they can reduce the temperatures of the air and increase the airflows. Also, cold air intake filters offer better throttle response and better fuel economy than stock filters.

Can a cold air intake damage your engine?  

No, unless you are driving your vehicle way more aggressively.

How much horsepower will cold air intake add?

All cold air intake filters are more capable of increasing horsepower than stock filters. If you install a volant open element filter/cold air intake in your car, it can add 5 to a maximum of 12 horsepower.

Does performance air filter increase horsepower?

Only high-flow air filters can increase horsepower. If your performance air filter has high flow and getting more air, it will perform better.

Do all short-ram have heat shields?

Not all short-ram have default heat shields. But some manufacturers construct heat shields or induction boxes so that the air filter can reside in, and that’s when intake filters allow colder air than the ambient temperature of the engine compartment. Heatshield also decreases air temp of the hot engine compartment.

What is the air Inlet/larger Inlet temperature rate in general?

The air inlet generally has a minimum temperature of 60° to a maximum temperature of 80°C.

Can you install a turbocharger/turbo kit on a stock engine?

Yes, those can help stock engines in performance gains since turbo and turbo kits tend to increase the engine’s power gains. If you are installing turbo kits for extra power, better to perform some stock upgrades.

Can I use kinetic Turbo with a cold air intake?

Generally, along with a particular turbo engine, you will have to purchase a specifically designed cold air intake that fits your car configuration. So, you will need a customed designed air intake to pair with the kinetic turbo for using to boost your engine’s power gains.  

How does air enter into the vehicle engine?

The atmospheric pressure pushes the air into the engine through the positive pressure. The air goes into the intake because atmospheric pressure pushes it in. If you use a supercharger, it will add to the intake pressure for more power or low atmospheric pressure. Also, remember there is only positive pressure.

Too high oil temp-is it good or bad?

Generally, oil temp should be warmer than your coolant, and it plays a major part in keeping your engine smooth and active. But too high temp can cause harm to your engine.

Ending Notes

I have already explained the core differences between cold air intake vs stock here. So, just read thoroughly to understand each factor in performance that differentiates each air intake filter’s impact on performance.