How Much HP Does A Cold Air Intake Add?

For those new to making modifications to their car, adding a cold air intake is a great first step as it is relatively easy to install. But just how much horsepower does it add? We’ve put together some useful information on what a CAI system is, how they work, and how much horsepower it can add to your vehicle.

How Much HP Does A Cold Air Intake Add

A CAI system helps your car engine ingest cooler air, increasing the car’s horsepower. A car air intake system supplies a higher amount of cool air to the engine and comprises two parts: a filter and an air duct.

What Does A Cold Air Intake Do?

The air inside the engine bay of a car can get very hot, as the internal combustion creates a lot of heat, and the bay itself is enclosed on all sides. By installing a CAI system, cold air is supplied to the engine. Cooler air contains more oxygen and, in turn, creates more powerful combustion.

Do Cold Air Intakes Work?

As far as performance modifications go, cold air intakes are a worthy investment. They are fairly cheap and simple to install and have huge benefits in terms of the horsepower of the car.

If you are a fan of the sound of engines, you will be thrilled to learn that installing an air intake system will increase the noise of the engine sound. The more powerful airflow in the engine bay gives off a low and deep roar.

How Much Horsepower Does A Cold Air Intake Add On Average?

The amount of horsepower gained from adding a cool air intake to your car varies. Naturally, the more horsepower a car has to start with, the more potential there is for a larger power increase.

A car with a turbocharged engine bay has the most to gain from adding a cool air intake, but that is not to say that other cars cannot benefit too.

How much horsepower does a cold air intake add to a 4-cylinder?

A car with a 4-cylinder engine has less to gain from installing a cold air intake system than a car with a larger engine, but it can still be a significant power increase.

It is entirely possible that adding a system to a 4-cylinder car may not add any horsepower at all. If this is the case, there is still a benefit to be had in increasing the sound of the turbo.

How much HP does a cold air intake add to a v6?

V6 engines are bigger than 4-cylinder ones and are more likely to benefit from a cold air intake pipe. As with any car, there are more significant improvements with supercharged or turbocharged engines.

How much horsepower does a cold air intake add to a v8?

Installing a cold air intake to a car with a bigger engine compartment, such as an 8-cylinder one, has more benefits. More engine in the combustion chamber means that each of the 8-cylinders can increase horsepower, and you can expect to gain a minimum of 15 horsepower.

How much HP does a cold air intake add to a 5.7 hemi?

A 5.7 hemi can expect up to 30 or so extra horsepower with the addition of a cold air intake. The same with all of the other engines; this will vary depending on the quality of the intake itself.

How Much HP Does A Cold Air Intake Add

Cold Air Intake Benefits

So far, we have seen that a variety of engines can benefit from more power with the installation of a cold air intake kit. However, there are several other benefits to be had as well with this car mod.

Better engine sound

One of the main reasons people opt for a cold air intake filter is to improve their engine’s sound. By replacing the stock intake, a CAI system makes the sound of the engine amplify much more, making your driving sound even more impressive.

Added horsepower

As mentioned above, there is an increase in horsepower to be had when installing one of these systems into your car. Obviously, it is important to note that the amount of horsepower gains available will vary from engine to engine.

Lower fuel consumption

Once you have an air intake filter in your car, you will notice that much less fuel is used altogether, saving you lot’s of money in the process. A cold air intake kit delivers more oxygen to the engine, improving the car’s miles per gallon.

Improved acceleration

The colder air in the engine as a result of one of these filter systems can help a car to become more responsive. This means that when the accelerator pedal is pushed, you will likely feel a difference in how quickly the car speeds up.

Cold Air Intake Pros And Cons

Before you decide whether you want to invest in a CAI system for your car, it is worth looking through all of the pros and cons below to help you decide whether it is for you.

Advantages of cold air intake

The engines roar is louder

A CAI system will make the engine in your car louder, as it will make lots of noises as you accelerate and release the gas pedal.

An increase in horsepower

As mentioned above, each engine, regardless of size, is likely to benefit from an increase in horsepower once a CAI system is installed.

Better MPG and savings on fuel

The system will improve the miles per gallon on your car, as the engine will not use the same amount of fuel as it did without a CAI system, saving you money in the process.

Improved acceleration

The CAI system will increase the responsiveness rate of your car, meaning you are a lot more likely to reach a higher speed when you put your foot down on the gas pedal.

Aftermarket intake means a change in the filter is required less often

Unlike factory air intake systems that require filter changes every 15,000 miles or so, aftermarket cold air intakes come with filters that only need to be cleaned between every 30,000 to 40,000 miles. This couldn’t be easier as you will just need to wash the filters in some soapy water and rinse them clean in cold water afterward.

If you would like more information, check out the additional benefits of adding cold air intake.

Disadvantages of cold air intake


This is where moisture in the air gets into the engine and can cause physical damage inside the chamber. This may require further repairs that can be costly.

Off-putting sound

Whereas for some, the louder roar of the others is amazing and worth the installation of a CAI system on its own, for others, it can be pretty horrible and a major drawback to installing one of these systems in your car.

Reading accuracy issues

The installation of the CAI system can cause vehicle meters to give the wrong readings. This means that when the system is added to a car, the meter may need to be upgraded along with it.

Is A Cold Air Intake Worth It?

For those looking to add horsepower to their car easily and cheaply, a CAI system can be a wonderful option. After all, you do not need anything special to be able to install it, and depending on the type of engine, the improvements in horsepower and other benefits are more than worth the cost of the kit itself.

Cold Air Intake FAQs

Does a cold air intake make your car louder?

Absolutely, there is no doubt that a CAI system makes your car louder. An engine with one of these systems installed takes in more air, and the more intense airflow helps the car give off a loud growl that some people will love and some people may not like at all!

Does a cold air intake increase mpg?

Yes, a CAI system does increase miles per gallon. When there is not enough oxygen in the internal combustion engine, more fuel is consumed. Therefore, the higher amount of cold air helps achieve a better air to fuel ratio and higher MPG.

Are cold air intakes worth it on trucks?

Trucks also benefit from the installation of a CAI system and are likely to get an increase in horsepower. It is also good to note that while a CAI system can be a worthwhile investment in car modifications, for optimum performance increase, you may also want to consider other purchases too, for instance, buying a new exhaust.

Can you put a cold air intake on a non-turbo car?

Yes, a CAI system will still work on a non-turbo car. It just means that there is less to gain in terms of horsepower compared to cars with such engines.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave Junior is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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