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 77-3085KP||Rtunes Racing|
|OEM Part Number||77-3085KP||HI-CH-09BL|
|Horsepower increase||up to 10 HP||No data|
|Torque Increase||No data||No data|
|Airflow increase||Up to 50%||No data|
|Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
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 71-3082||aFe Power 54-74104||Rough Country 10551|
|OEM Part Number||71-3082||54-74104||10551|
|Horsepower increase||up to 8 HP||up to 12 HP||up to 18 HP|
|Torque Increase||No data||Up to 15 lbs./ft.||Up to 23 lbs./ft.|
|Airflow increase||Up to 50%||Up to 35%||Up to 55%|
|Filter Type||Non-woven Synthetic||Oileds, 5-Layer||3-Layer non-oiled|
|Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
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
Rough Country 10551
The Rough Country 10551 Cold Air Intake is a standout product for those wishing to enhance their vehicle’s performance without delving deep into complex modifications. This intake system is meticulously designed to pull cooler air, a feature that immediately showcases its merit by delivering denser oxygen to the combustion chamber. The result? A noticeable boost in horsepower and an improved throttle response. The sturdy construction, deviating from typical plastic alternatives, implies a commitment to longevity.
Installation is where the product truly shines for its user-friendliness. Even those without a mechanic’s touch can swiftly set it up, although, like some users, you might find a visual guide (like a YouTube tutorial) more helpful than the included instructions. Once installed, the throaty roar it gives during acceleration and the soft growl at cruising speeds makes it not just a performance enhancer, but also an auditory treat.
However, no product is without its quirks. The 10551, while impressive, has its limitations. It’s not for sale in states adopting CARB regulations, narrowing its accessibility. Some users also pointed out minor issues with hose fittings, something to be aware of during installation. Still, for its price and the overall benefits it brings to the table, the Rough Country 10551 is an excellent addition for both car enthusiasts and regular users.
- Efficiently boosts horsepower and throttle response for better vehicle performance.
- Quality construction ensures a durable intake system that lasts longer.
- Unique design moves filter away, allowing cooler air circulation and better combustion.
- Includes reusable air filter which is easy to clean and environmentally friendly.
- Installation is straightforward, suitable even for those with minimal mechanic experience.
- Not available in states following CARB regulations, limiting its market.
- Some users reported issues with loose PCV hoses during installation.
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’s well priced & 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 options for this engine can be found here.
The Best 2018 Silverado 1500 6.2L V-8 Cold Air Intakes:
|K&N 63-3082||Volant 155546|
|OEM Part Number||63-3082||155546|
|Horsepower increase||up to 11 HP||No data|
|Torque Increase||Up to 21 lbs./ft.||No data|
|Airflow increase||Up to 55%||No data|
|Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
The K&N 63-3082 Cold Air Intake is an impressive amalgamation of design and functionality, made from resilient High-Density Cross-Linked Polyethylene. Its black intake pipe, complemented by the red air filter, not only enhances the engine’s appearance but also promises a significant performance boost. Installation is straightforward, taking under an hour, and users can expect a horsepower increase and a more profound, throatier engine sound.
However, while the product offers many benefits, it isn’t without its drawbacks. Upon receipt, the packaging may seem underwhelming, lacking sufficient protective materials to shield its components. More importantly, potential users, especially those residing in the US, need to be aware of its legal restrictions. The system isn’t street legal in all US states, and specifically, it’s not permitted for sale or use in California.
In conclusion, the K&N 63-3082 Cold Air Intake delivers on its promises of performance enhancement and ease of installation. It’s a recommended aftermarket upgrade for those seeking improved throttle response and engine sound. But as always, before committing to a purchase, customers should check its legality within their state.
- Noticeable horsepower gain boosts overall engine performance.
- Durable High-Density Polyethylene intake pipe.
- Easy and quick installation under an hour.
- Washable, reusable High-Flow Air Filter™.
- Custom heat shield protects against engine heat.
- Packaging lacks sufficient protective materials.
- Not street legal in all US states.
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: K&N 63-3082
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.