Best Cold Air Intake For 2018 Silverado 1500

2018 Silverado 1500 Air Intake

Adding a cold air intake to your 2018 Silverado 1500 will deliver two important results. First, it will increase your truck’s overall performance. Secondly, and possibly the more important result is that in doing so it will increase your driving enjoyment. Let’s face it, a more powerful performance and a satisfying increase in engine roar makes for a much more enjoyable ride.

There are a lot of performance upgrades that can be done to your truck that will cost you many hours of time and a pocketful of money. Adding a cold air intake is not one of the tasks that will require the skills of a master mechanic to accomplish. And the cost is fairly inexpensive compared to other types of engine modifications, like turbos and superchargers.

In this review, we will explore the best cold air intake system for each of the 2018 Silverado 1500 engine types, the 4.3L V-6, the 5.3L V-8, and the 6.2L V-8.

The Best 2018 Silverado 1500 4.3L V-6 Cold Air Intakes:

 K&N 77-3085KPRtunes Racing
OEM Part Number77-3085KPHI-CH-09BL
Horsepower increaseup to 10 HPNo data
Torque IncreaseNo dataNo data
Airflow increaseUp to 50%No data
Filter TypeOiledWashable
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K&N 77-3085KP

This intake will bolt onto your truck in one hour or less and delivers better gas mileage, increased acceleration, and will make your V-6 engine roar with power. It comes with K&N’s 10-year, million mile warranty and a lifetime filter that requires no cleaning for up to 100,000 miles (driving conditions will affect cleaning requirements).

Dyno-testing results show that the K&N filter delivers up to 50% more airflow than the Silverado’s stock air intake. There are two options to choose from, one features a chrome metal tube, the other a HDPE (high-density polyethylene) tube. Installation, on average, takes less than one hour and can be done using simple hand tools.

Some product owners complained about the vent nipple being made of cheaper plastic material than they thought it should be. They stated that if the part is installed as the directions say, there is a chance of breaking the vent nipple. Their solution was not to use the nipple that is supplied and instead, replace it with a nipple mage of brass or some other rust resistant metal.


  • American made
  • Increases horsepower and throttle response
  • Washable red lifetime filter
  • Ease of installation


  • Not CARB compliant
  • Some consumers complain about the quality of secondary parts

Rtunes Racing Cold Air Intake

Ease of installation and a lower price makes the Rtunes Racing cold air intake a popular choice by auto enthusiasts. The only tools needed are a screwdriver, pliers, and a ratchet set. By providing your engine less restrictive, cooler air, this intake system will increase horsepower, throttle response, and deliver improved engine sound at a very affordable price.

Rtunes is not a name as readily recognized as some of the other manufacturers of air intake systems, but they have been in business for over ten years and produce high quality air intake systems.

The Rtunes system uses a dry filter instead of an oiled one. The filter is washable using soap and water and should be inspected about every 5,000 miles to determine if it requires cleaning. Make sure that the filter is completely dry before reinstalling.


  • Less than half the price of many competitors
  • Washable, reusable blue filter
  • Installs in less than one hour
  • Less expensive than other similar systems


  • Not CARB approved

Best Cold Air Intake for 4.3L V-6: K&N 77-3085KP

You get what you pay for and for the 4.3L V-6, we recommend staying with a proven industry leader, K&N. At the same time, we recommend following the advice of other users by replacing some of the plastic parts with brass ones before installing the system.

The Best 2018 Silverado 1500 5.3L V-8 Cold Air Intakes:

 K&N 71-3082aFe Power 54-74104aFe Power 51-12332-GR
OEM Part Number71-308254-7410451-12332-GR
Horsepower increaseup to 8 HPup to 12 HPup to 18 HP
Torque IncreaseNo dataUp to 15 lbs./ft.Up to 23 lbs./ft.
Airflow increaseUp to 50%Up to 35%Up to 55%
Filter TypeNon-woven SyntheticOileds, 5-Layer3-Layer non-oiled
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K&N 71-3082

As with the other K&N intakes, the 71-3082 model has been dyno-tested to improve airflow into the engine’s combustion chamber by up to 50% more than the stock intake system. It also is backed by K&N’s 10-year, million mile limited warranty and under normal driving conditions it should perform for up to 100,000 miles before requiring servicing.

Users report a 1-2 MPG increase and a satisfying increase in engine sound that is not overly loud except when you want it, and expect it, on startup and during hard, off-the-line acceleration.

If you use your vehicle to tow a boat or trailer, the increased airflow that provides a horsepower boost will make acceleration smoother and provide better power to tackle those uphill treks.

There are two finish options, a black filter with a black metal tube, or a red filter with a chrome tube. Owners sometimes questioned K&N’s use of plastic accessory parts, even going so far as warn people about taking care not to over-tighten them during installation


  • Made in America
  • Increases horsepower and acceleration
  • Washable, reusable filter
  • Ease of installation


  • CARB EO # D-269-49 applies only to 2014 models
  • Quality complaints concerning plastic accessory parts

aFe Power 54-74104

aFe claims that this system will improve airflow into the engine by at least 35% and will produce a 12 horsepower difference. It has a 5-layer, washable filter fitted in a sealed box construction with a sight window to allow you to inspect the filter without disassembling the box. Because of the closed box, air temperatures entering the combustion chamber are lower than other competitor’s systems.

The boost in horsepower is accompanied by a satisfying rumble at higher RPMs. Add to that the fact that the GT 54-74104 is CARB certified and is legal in California and all other states.

Some users reported that the aFE Power Momentum system requires that the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor to be adjusted. They report that the fuel mixture may not be correct which will hurt engine performance and fuel economy.


  • Fewer parts make installation easy
  • Legal in all 50 states
  • Powder coated heat shield


  • May requires MAF tuning
  • Installation problems may occur

aFe Power 51-12332

The Power 51-12332-GR has an oiled, 3-layer filter that will increase airflow by 55% over the Silverado’s stock intake system. The kit includes a black, powder coated heat shield and matte gray powder coated aluminum intake tube.

This system is not CARB compliant and cannot be installed and used in California or any other states that follow California guidelines. That said, installation should take 45 minutes or less, even if you possess limited mechanical skills.

The system delivers a deep, throaty roar leaving the line and, if you can resist pushing your foot down on the accelerator every time you drive, will deliver a slight fuel economy improvement, in the 1-2 MPG area. The greatest improvement in power is in the lower RPM’s.


  • Installs in 45 minutes or less with basic hand tools
  • Powder coated heat shield and intake tube
  • Washable synthetic media filter


  • May require tuning
  • Not CARB compliant
  • Rubber couplings may require adjustment

Best Cold Air Intake for 5.3L V-8: K&N Cold Air Intake 71-3082

This K&N system is not CARB certified but if you don’t live in California this is the best choice for your 5.3L V-8 Silverado. It is less expensive than the two aFe systems, it comes with K&N’s 10-year, million mile warranty, and it will deliver the additional power and the increased engine sound that you want. More cold air filter option for this engine can be found here.

The Best 2018 Silverado 1500 6.2L V-8 Cold Air Intakes:

 aFe Power 54-12332Volant 155546
OEM Part Number54-12332155546
Horsepower increaseup to 18 HPNo data
Torque IncreaseUp to 23 lbs./ft.No data
Airflow increaseUp to 55%No data
Filter Type5-Layer-oiled5-Layer-oiled
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aFe Power 54-12332

the aFe Magnum Force intake system has a 5-layered, oiled filter. Unlike aFe’s Momentum GT, it is not CARB compliant so it is not legal for use in California.

The engine will sound great not only upon initial acceleration but through every transmission shift. Reported to increase airflow into the combustion chamber by up to 55%, the added power delivered will increase throttle response and acceleration.

Unlike other brands, Magnum Force does not warranty their filter. Some owners complain of color loss and that after only a few thousand miles, the filter appears to have crumpled.


  • Installs in less than one hour
  • Powder coated heat shield
  • Washable, reusable cotton gauze filter


  • May require tuning
  • Not CARB compliant
  • Shorter filter life

Volant PowerCore155546

The Volant air intake system different from the others we are reviewing in that it is a heat-resistant, closed box system. The filter is completely enclosed to keep dirt and engine compartment heat from entering through the filter and affecting engine performance. The Volant intake meets or exceeds the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) filter standard.

Consumers that have owned both a Volant cold air intake system and a different manufacturer’s system claim that the Volant is constructed of higher quality materials. The intake’s design and black color makes it appear more “stock” under the hood.

Volant air intakes are warranted for 1 year for material defects and 4 years or 100,000 miles for the filters. It is unknown at this time if the Volant intake has California CARB approval. Contact the manufacturer for more information regarding an exemption sticker.


  • Maintenance free filter, never needs cleaning
  • Improves engine efficiency
  • Filter is unaffected by moisture


  • Requires some disassembly for servicing the filter
  • More difficult to install


Our choice for Best Cold Air Intake for 6.2L V-8: aFe Power 54-123

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Why Install a Cold Air Intake on Your Silverado?

Cold air intakes are a fairly inexpensive addition when compared to other engine modifications and installation of these systems is usually able to be accomplished even by owners that have limited mechanical skills.

The goal of any cold air intake system is to not only provide cooler air to the engine’s combustion chamber but to provide a larger quantity of that cooler air. Straighter tubes and a larger filter will aid in that delivery. It is a proven scientific fact that cooler temperature air contains more oxygen, and oxygen is the critical ingredient that will allow your Silverado to give you more power when you punch down on the accelerator.

A more satisfying engine roar and increased performance makes a cold air intake worth the money, time, and energy you will spend on installing the system.

There is something to watch out for if you upgrade your intake system. If the system you choose has an exposed filter (one that is not contained in a sealed box), it may be susceptible to water intake on rainy days or with you drive through deep puddles of water. Sucking water into your engine is not a good idea, so be aware.

Except for that, enjoy the added horsepower and the awesome sound that comes with a cold air intake system. And also be sure to watch heads turn as you jump on the gas when the light turns green.