Zen and the Art of Cold Air Intake

by : David S. Brooks

Today’s automotive manufacturers are most definitely out of touch with your vehicle’s spiritual needs. They purposely retard engine output to appeal to the less enlightened masses who may or may not care about their vehicle’s performance. The biggest problem with this so-called “drivability factor" is the built-in inefficiency.

Fuel-air maps, timing curves, air intake, exhaust—all critical components to high performance—are consistently skimped in the name of drivability. Unfortunately, these problems can’t be meditated away. But, each one of these factory constrictions, especially air intake, can be easily remedied with a few bucks and a few turns of a wrench.

The path to power and torque enlightenment lies in the palm of your hand, Grasshopper. Just like a yoga pose for your engine, performance Zen can be achieved through proper breathing. The method is simple; bring loads of cool, fresh air in—expel masses of hot, used air out.

Lucky for us wrench-wielding gurus, there’s a burgeoning automotive performance industry out there preaching this horsepower philosophy. Companies like K&N, Airaid and Volant are the Zen masters of the automotive performance scene. Easy to find and relatively cheap, these guys make simple bolt-on air intake kits designed to help your engine breathe.

Think about it, if you’re holding the downward facing dog position and someone clamps a clothes pin on your nose, you’re gonna have a hard time taking in all that spirit-purifying air. The same goes for your car. Those unenlightened factory nerds equipped your ride with an intake system that wasn’t designed to take in those high-performance breaths. So, like a bad habit, you gotta drop it.

For less than three-hundred bucks, you can get a quality cold air intake. And, in less time than it takes to go from the lotus pose into a proper sun salutation, you can have your vehicle swallowing great gulps of power producing air. We’re talking performance gains of 10 to 30 horsepower, depending on your vehicle.

This new efficiency also leads to greater fuel mileage. Since your engine’s breathing free, it runs better. That means it takes less throttle to get your engine to do what you need it to do—which leads to the increase in mileage. Of course, once you get a load of all that new power, it may be hard to keep your foot out of it. This of course leads to a decrease in mileage but a huge boost in driving fun.

Remember, it’s easy to attain the perfect, eternal state of self-knowledge, liberation and free-breathing horsepower action. Simply equip your vehicle with a spiritual awakening in the form of a performance cold air intake system.

The spiritual mastery of your vehicle’s engine is a matter of choosing the proper cold air intake system. Systems like the volant cold air intake and others from S&B and K&N all make high-quality systems for most vehicles. These systems are tweaked and tuned on shop dynos and in the mean streets to deliver ultimate efficiency. - David S. Brooks