Air Intake System Buying Guide
This buying guide isn’t going to tell you about the amazing power gains you can get by installing truck accessories like an air intake system. We won’t even tell you about the leap in fuel efficiency you can expect when you’ve installed a high-flowing cold air intake. It’s a fact. We know that installing an aftermarket intake on your truck or SUV is going to give you performance gains. We also know that these added performance gains can and will give you better fuel efficiency.
As we mentioned before, getting a high-flow air intake system is always a good decision. They generally offer larger diameter inlet tubes that are smoother and allow air to move into your engine faster and with more volume. They also feature reusable filters that are a larger, conical design and facilitate increased airflow. Each of these kits feature a bolt-on design that requires no modifications and include all hardware necessary for installation. The top manufacturers are K&N, Volant, AEM, S&B, and AIRAID. Let’s take a look at the systems.
Fuel Injection Performance Kits, or FIPKs, are the original high-flow air intake kit from K&N. They are 50-state legal and available for almost any vehicle on the road. They generally come with a high-flow intake tube, a pleated, aftermarket air filter that provides up to 500% more surface area, and a heat shield to keep hot air away from your intake system. All necessary hardware is included, so installation is a breeze. As is the case with all of K&N’s systems, these come with a Million Mile Warranty.
The K&N 77-series intake kits are just like the FIPK, except that instead of a black ABS tube, they come equipped with either a polished or a grey aluminum intake tube. The 77-series kits give you all of the performance of K&N’s FIPK high-flow air intake system and the attractive aluminum intake tube helps dress up your engine compartment.
The Volant closed airbox design fully surrounds the high-flow, reusable filter element, which keeps hot engine air out of your intake system. You'll get the coldest air possible for maximum vehicle performance. Volant high-flow intake systems are 50-state legal and their Lifetime Warranty can’t be beat. These intakes include a reusable cotton gauze filter housed in a custom polyethylene box with carbon fiber-styled cover that retains less heat than metal. All necessary hardware is included.
S&B Air Intakes have the perfect balance of airflow and filtration and they meet legal requirements in all 50 states. They utilize a closed airbox system that keeps hot engine compartment air from entering your intake system. The filter box is topped with a clear lid for distinct underhood styling and, like the rest of our intake systems, this one utilizes a bolt-on design and includes all necessary hardware. S&B’s Million Mile Plus Warranty assures that you are buying a quality product.
AIRAID Intake Systems are great for someone looking to inexpensively add a high-performance air intake system to their vehicle. All AIRAID systems are 50-state emissions legal and include all hardware and brackets required for installation. Every system includes a new, high-flowing, reusable air filter and some even include a new aluminum intake tube and heatshield.
The Brute Force Intake System from AEM is a class-leading design. The polished aluminum intake tube and stainless steel heatshield really dress up the confines of your engine compartment. Also included in the kit is AEM’s revolutionary non-oiled synthetic filter that is able to withstand unlimited cleanings. Also, since there’s no oil on the filter, it can’t foul sensitive engine electronics. Some systems include a power throttle body spacer if AEM’s testing shows that it increases power output. All hardware for installation is included and every system is 50-state emissions legal.
Now that we’ve talked about the different air intake systems, let go over a few more important topics.
Now, just because your filter is considered reusable and is supposed to last forever, that doesn’t mean that you can just install it and never think about it again. Filters need to be cleaned every 30,000-50,000 miles. Check the instructions supplied with your system for specific cleaning intervals. Also, with the exception of the new non-oiled synthetic filter featured on AEM’s Brute Force Induction System, all filters need to be re-oiled with a special solution that helps trap dirt particles and extend the life of the filter medium. Again, refer to your instructions for specific oiling instruction.
OEM Warranty Considerations
Some of you with newer vehicles may be concerned about any warranty issues related to installing these products. Maybe you’re thinking that Chevy or Ford will deny any warranty claims you may have because you installed an aftermarket air intake system (or any other aftermarket accessory for that matter). The truth is, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a Federal Law that says that the vehicle manufacturer cannot deny your warranty claim unless the product you installed actually caused the problem. Basically, if your coolant system goes or your alternator or starter dies, the manufacturer can’t deny your warranty claim just because you have an aftermarket air intake system. The two products aren’t related.
If you have any comments or questions you can contact us at [email protected] or by calling 1-800-586-9713.
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