How to Keep Your Cold Air Intake Cool

wrapped cold air intake

How do you keep the air entering your engine as cool as possible? It comes down to a question of physics. Installing a cold air intake is a great first step. By bringing cooler air into your engine’s combustion chamber you have enhanced your car’s overall performance. Horsepower is up along with an improvement in fuel economy. The engine is sounding much more mean and powerful. When you drive by, heads are turning. But is it possible to tweak that intake’s performance just a little bit more?

Keeping Things Cool

The purpose of installing a cold air intake is to deliver a larger volume of colder air into your car’s engine. You have helped that by having moved the air filter away from the top of the engine. The intake filter is closer to the car’s grill or wheel well where the air entering it is cooler. However, it is still inside the engine compartment and the longer you drive the hotter the engine compartment gets.

One thing you can do to keep your cold air intake cool is by wrapping the tube with a self-adhesive heat shield wrap. Using a gold reflective wrap (you can find many options on Amazon)makes the intake tube more resistant to the radiant heat that builds up inside the engine compartment. As heat increases in the engine compartment, it affects the cold air passing through the intake tube. When the temperature of the air in the intake begins to rise even a little bit, you start to take a hit on your car’s performance. Tests have shown that this gold reflective wrap will keep temperatures anywhere from 4°-7° cooler than an unwrapped black intake tube. And it improves the overall look of your intake tube.

Installing The Wrap

Installing this wrap is pretty straightforward. Remove the intake tube so that it is easier to work with. Clean the tube’s surface with rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt and enable the wrap to adhere uniformly. Measure the circumference of the intake tube so that you know how long you need to cut each strip of the wrap. It will make things much easier and give you a better-finished look if you split each strip in half length-wise so that they are not so wide. Start applying the wrap on one end of the tube and slightly overwrap each strip as you apply them. (As you reach any bends in the tube, you can further trim the pre-cut strips length-wise to better fit them around the bend.) Another point about aesthetics, wrapping should be done so that the ends of each strip meet on the bottom of the tube so that they can’t be seen after you have reinstalled the intake tube on your car.

It is important to make sure that the area of the tube under any clamps NOT be wrapped. As the heat increases the adhesive on the wrap can tend to act as a lubricant and cause the intake tube to slip off.

Additional Thoughts About Compartment Temperatures

At this point we need to talk about a couple of additional ways of reducing engine compartment temperatures. You can add a vent to your car’s hood to bring in more cooler air. You could also consider wrapping any sources of heat on the exhaust side of the engine. Both of these ideas will help your intake system by lowering the ambient temperatures inside the engine compartment, which will help keep the intake air cooler as it travels through the system and into the combustion chamber.