How to Build a Cold Air Intake

by Nathaniel Miller

Combustion engines use compressed air and fuel to deliver power to the drivetrain of a vehicle in order to make it move. Many factors go into making the engine work at its top potential, but one thing that can make a significant difference in the way your engine performs is the temperature and amount of air that is delivered to the combustion chamber. Your engine's stock air delivery system provides sufficient air for daily driving and gas mileage performance, but in order to get the most horsepower or for racing situations a cold air intake is essential. Cold air intakes route the air delivery system to a position in the engine compartment that brings in cooler outside air instead of warm engine compartment air. Cold air intake kits are available for a wide variety of applications, but at times can be expensive. It is possible to make your own cold air intake system with materials readily available at your local auto parts store.

Begin by removing your old air intake system. Pop the hood and locate the air box. Disconnect the air intake hose from the air box using the screwdriver and then unscrew the mounting screws on all four sides of the air box to pull it free from its mount.

Decide where in your engine compartment you are going to mount the cold air intake. A good place is usually at the base of the radiator behind the air dam, as this provides directly forced, cold air to the air filter. Once you have picked the location of the cold air intake, decide the best way to route it there. Determine how you will run the bendable exhaust tubing through the engine compartment to reach the location of the cold air intake.

Mount the exhaust tubing to the end of the air intake using the screwdriver, then route the tubing through the engine compartment towards the new location of the air filter. Use the metal strapping to securely mount the tubing in place through the engine compartment. Mount the air filter to the end of the tubing with the screwdriver, then use the metal strapping to mount the air filter in place.


  • check It is sometimes helpful to use a piece of thin copper tubing to map out the routing of the intake tubing. This can help you visualize the route and get an accurate view of the bends involved.


  • close Do not forget to plug your oxygen sensor back in after changing the air delivery system, as forgetting this could make your engine run very badly.

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