7 Best Cold Air Intake for Chevy Silverado in 2021
Do you know which part of the vehicle is responsible most for the excellent performance? Yes, it is the vehicle’s engine only- the soul and heart. But most of the modern engines these days comes with an internal combustion engine model that applies lots of force on some of the crucial parts of the engine along with huge heat dissipation. The performance of your Chevy Silverado can be highly affected in case if engine gets too hot. That is where the Cold Air Intakes System comes into play. It helps to keep your engine safe by lowering the heat dissipation and improves the overall horsepower, torque, and performance of the vehicle.
But with a vast variety of options available in the market, it is quite challenging to find the best cold air intake for Chevy Silverado 1500 until you know what are the things you must look for. To help you choose the right one, we have curated this detailed buying guide for you along with some best recommendations available in the market. Let’s check out how cold air intake works and what all you need to keep in mind to get the right one.
7 Best Cold Air Intake for Chevy Silverado in 2021
|Volant 15553 Pro 5 Filter Enclosed Air Intake System||106 Reviews||$315.14||Check on Amazon|
|Airaid Cold Air Intake System: Increased Horsepower, Superior...||12 Reviews||Check on Amazon|
|High Performance Parts Short Ram Air Intake Kit & Red Filter Combo...||8 Reviews||$69.99||Check on Amazon|
|K&N Cold Air Intake Kit: High Performance, Increase Horsepower:...||2,335 Reviews||$329.99||Check on Amazon|
|S&B Filters 75-5116 Cold Air Intake for 2017-2018 Silverado/Sierra...||91 Reviews||Check on Amazon|
|aFe Power Magnum FORCE 54-32332 GM Silverado/Sierra Performance Intake...||$305.55||Check on Amazon|
|BLACKHORSE-RACING 4" Cold Air Intake System Kit with Heat Shield...||1,057 Reviews||$56.89||Check on Amazon|
How does Cold Air Intake Works?
As you know the fuel combustion process is responsible for the wheel-turning horsepower of the vehicle, and to improve the vehicle’s torque or horsepower, we need to improve the efficiency of the Combustion process. This can be achieved better by Cold Air Intake systems than the stock ones, which you can understand as explained below:
The Cold Air Intake system improves the efficiency of the combustion process by injecting denser and high volume oxygen molecules via cylinders into the combustion chamber. This is because cold air consists of more oxygen molecules than warm air (provided by the stock air intakes), which means more oxygen molecules participate in the combustion process. By reducing the air temperature, cold air intake enhances the engine airflow. This way, you can get better efficiency and mileage with enhanced horsepower & torque in the same amount of fuel as the stock ones.
To get better and improved airflow, go for the cold air intake system having lesser bends, wider diameter and smoother tubes than the stock ones. The aftermarket cold air intakes come with a wider air intake tube for smooth airflow. Some of the best brands to consider for the best cold air intake system for Chevy Silverado is aFe power, Spectra, Black Force, K&N, Airaid and Blistein, about which we will talk later in this buying guide.
Benefits of Cold Air Intake System for Chevy Silverado
Before jumping to the suggestions and recommendations for the best cold air intake for Chevy Silverado, it is crucial to understand its potential benefits to make the right decisions. If you are not aware of the advantages of a cold air intake system for your vehicle, here are some of the prominent ones:
Enhanced Oxygen Molecules
One of the biggest advantages of installing a cold air intake system for Chevy Silverado over the stock ones is the enhanced oxygen supply. By providing more oxygen molecules for the combustion process, the cold air intake improves the performance of the engine system.
Improved Horsepower And Torque
As the increased oxygen supply enhances the combustion efficiency of the engine, it also improves the overall Horsepower and Torque of the vehicle so that your car can handle/tow more weight, can have a better throttle response.
Enhanced Fuel Economy
The increased efficiency of the combustion process not only improves the horsepower and torque of the vehicle but also enhance the fuel economy as better mileage can be achieved by an enhanced combustion process in the same amount of fuel. The increased combustibility of the engine requires less fuel to generate more power for the vehicle’s movement, resulting in enhanced fuel economy by the cold air intake system than the stock ones.
Enhanced Throttle Response
The cold air intake kit increases the airflow to the engine and thus the efficiency of the combustion process which directly impacts the throttle response of the vehicle by enhancing it. As the airflow increases, it gives you a better throttle response every time you use the gas pedal.
Better Engine Life & Performance
As the cold air intake kit helps in reducing heat dissipation by providing cool air, it prevents the thermal degradation of the engine system. Also, there are fewer impurities, dirt, and dust get accumulated by the reusable filter of the cold air intake, which improves the overall performance and the life span of the engine system.
Reusable & Eco Friendly
The factory stock system or the standard filtration system consists of normal disposable filters that collect all the dirt, impurities, and other harmful particles that can be really dangerous for the engine system. But the modern cold air intake systems come with reusable filters which you can clean anytime to remove the hazardous particles and thus be safe for your engine system and environment.
One of the best cold air intakes for Chevy Silverado that is known for its excellent filter performance and quality is Volant 15553 Pro 5 Filter Enclosed Air Intake Kit . The best thing about the air intake kit is its filter is enclosed in a closed box to keep it safe from the engine’s heat, dust, debris, and other contaminations to maximize the performance of the engine system. Talking about its filter, it comes with a MaxFlow 5 filter consisting of 5 oiled cotton layers to remove dirt and debris up to a maximum extent.
Gives New Custom Look to Your Vehicle
Another great advantage of the Cold air intake system over the factory ones is that it gives your Chevy Silverado a new custom look which you won’t be able to achieve with the latter one as it comes in a very bland look. Modern cold-air intakes come in a variety of colours and finish to give your vehicle a great look.
One of the best cold air intakes for Chevy Silverado that comes with an attractive design and finish is Airaid Cold Air Intake , compatible with the 2014-2020 Chevy Silverado 1500. Apart from its highly attractive design, this air intake is known for its superior horsepower and torque gain with an easy installation guide.
Different Styles of Cold Air Intake for Chevy Silverado
There are different styles of Cold Air Intake systems available in the market for Chevy Silverado that you can opt from. There are primarily three styles of Cold Air Intake available for Chevy Silverado and these are:
Short Ram System
Short Ram System is the most affordable one and easy to install. In this type of style, the pipe of the factory air intake gets replaced by a smooth pipe along with an open-element air filter. The advantage of this Short Ram System is that it provides a smooth and short way to the engine by drawing air from the inside engine bay. It is designed to provide less plumbing to the engine system. Also, since the short Ram system provides a short and easier path to the engine system, it generates less torque and horsepower than what you achieve with the Cold Air Intake system.
One of the best Short Ram systems for Chevy Silverado 96-98 models is High-Performance Parts Short Ram Air Intake Kit . Made from premium brushed T-306 aluminium and industrial grade stainless steel, this short ram air intake kit is designed to provide a better throttle response and horsepower output.
Ram Air Intake System
The only difference between the Cold Air Intake System and the Ram Air Intake System is that the latter one comes with long tubes and an air filter at the end of the system to provide high airflow with better speed & pressure. Since it enhances both speed and pressure of the airflow to the engine system, it enhances the overall torque and horsepower of the vehicle than the cold air intake system.
True Cold Air Intake System
True Cold Air Intake System is the most popular style for Chevy Silverado comes with an air filter mounted as far as possible at the rear end to draw air outside from the engine bay. Since it emphasizes more on drawing air outside from the engine bay, it provides denser and cooler airflow than the other styles. The true cold air intake system consists of more pipes and thus it is more expensive yet effective than other styles available in the market. Also, its installation is quite complex to do by yourself, so keep that in mind while buying one.
One of the best True Cold Air Intake Systems for Chevy Silverado 1500 is K&N 63-3082 Cold Air Intake Kit . This k&n kit comes with extended 10 years of Warranty with better acceleration and uphill performance while towing. Also, it is dyno-tested with 50% more airflow than what you can achieve with the factory ones. On top of that, it is easy to install with bolt-on power that takes less than an hour to get installed conveniently.
Key Features of Cold Air Intake
There are some crucial key features of the Cold Air Intake System that you must consider while buying the best air intake for Chevy Silverado, like:
Tubing is one of the most crucial and primary features of the cold air intake kit responsible for the collection of cold air (oxygen molecules) and delivers them to the engine system. Since it forms the basis of the working of cold air intakes, it must be of high quality, made from the best materials like aluminium, stainless steel, rubber or plastic. Always choose the best material for tubing that prevents the tube from external damage and shocks for the proper working and enhanced durability.
2. Air Filter
The other crucial feature of any intake kit is its air filter as it helps in keeping dirt, dust and other harmful impurities away from the engine system by assuring that it doesn’t accumulate & deliver to the combustion chamber. In case if dirt or dust gets accumulated in the combustion chamber, it can impact the engine’s performance by reducing fuel efficiency or causing other severe damage.
Thus it is crucial to check the quality of the air filter while buying the best cold air intake for Chevy Silverado or any other vehicle. Most of the high-quality cold air intake kit comes with their specialized washable filter these days that not only ensures the less accumulation of dirt & hazardous impurities but also allow you to clean and reuse the filter for better efficiency and performance.
There are two types of Air Filter commonly available in aftermarket air intake kits, i.e.:
Oiled Air Filter
As the name suggests, the oiled air filter consists of cotton media filled with oil to trap even the microparticles of dirt, dust, and other hazardous impurities in a better way than dry filters. The best thing about the oiled filters is that they are washable filters and have wider openings than dry filters to ensure better and higher airflow than the latter. As this filter can trap even the smallest dirt/dust particles, it improves the efficiency and life expectancy of your engine system up to a great extent. Due to their maximize engine performance, oiled air filters are suitable for heavy towing, off-road travel, and racing purposes.
Most of the modern aftermarket air intakes come with oiled air filters for maximum engine performance, but the one that is highly praised in the market for its excellent filtration and efficiency is S&B 75-5116 Cold Air Intake Filters for Chevy Silverado 1500 (2017-18). It is a cleanable, 8-Ply cotton oiled filter known for providing 40.16% More Airflow & a 99.15% Efficiency Rating.
Dry Air Filter
Unlike Oiled Air Filters, dry air filters are not always made from cotton only, but sometimes made of high-quality form or paper elements as well, depending upon the brand you are choosing. This high-quality form/paper/cotton material effectively traps the small impurities or dirt going to the engine but due to its relatively smaller openings, it doesn’t provide as much airflow as oiled air filters. Dry filters are usually ideal for regular usage and city roads where you don’t require maximum engine performance.
3. Mass Flow Sensor
As the name indicates, the Mass flow sensor in the intake system determines the amount of airflow passing through the intake system to the engine. This calculation is necessary to determine how much airflow the engine needs for its maximum performance. There are two common types of Mass Flow sensors are available in the aftermarket intake system:
Vane Meter Mass Flow Sensor
In the Vane meter mass flow sensor, there is a moveable spring-loaded air vane connected to the potentiometer. The spring-loaded vane moves according to airflow and the potentiometer calculates the amount of airflow injected into the engine system according to the movement of the vane when the voltage is provided to the meter.
Hot Wire Mass Flow Sensor
In such kind of mass flow sensor, the regular voltage is provided to the wire in the engine’s air stream till it gets hot. Once the wire gets hot, its electrical resistance increases and as the air passes through this wire, its resistance decreases which is get measured to determine how much airflow is delivering to the engine for its maximum performance.
Things to Consider While Buying the Best Cold Air Intake System for Chevy Silverado
Apart from the key features, we have mentioned above, here are some other important aspects to keep in mind while buying the best cold air intake system for Chevy Silverado, like:
1. Size & Fit
One of the most crucial things to check while buying the best cold air intake is the correct size & fit according to your vehicle type, model, and make. Not every air intake system is made for your vehicle and thus you should always try to buy the one that comes with accurate fit and size, compatible with your vehicle’s model. Always check the specifications to find the right fit otherwise you won’t be able to achieve the level of performance you are looking for with the wrong size/fit.
2. Heat Protection
It is crucial that the elements of the Air Intake Filter you are choosing must be made from heat-resisting material otherwise the air intake system will be degraded by the heat, impacting the performance of the engine. Since the cold air intakes help to draw cool air (denser than warm air), it must be safe from any kind of heat impact.
To provide complete heat protection to the air filter, most of the air intake kits are designed with completely enclosed boxes. This way filter remains safe from thermal degradation and contamination. To protect the tubing of the air intake system, manufacturers generally use heat-resisting elements or black powder-coated material.
Don’t go for the air intake systems that use cheap material to save cost as you have to replace such systems anytime soon. Always go for the one that uses high-quality material to prevent the system from any kind of wear and tear for long-lasting performance & durability.
4. Easy to Install
Not all air intakes come with ease of installation as some of them have complex components that require professional assistance, costing both time and money. So if you want to save your efforts, money, and time, go for the one that comes with easy to install components so you don’t have to rely on anybody in case of an emergency.
One of the best cold air intake for Chevy Silverado that is known for its easy installation is aFe Power Magnum Force 54-32332 GM Silverado Intake System. The system comes with an easy installation kit where everything you need to install comes in the kit to save your time and effort. Just utilize the factory mounting parts and installation will be done with ease.
Price is always the deciding factor whenever we consider buying an aftermarket system for our vehicle. It is not necessary to always go for the expensive one as you can get better deals according to your requirements at an affordable rate as well. But it is crucial to decide your purpose and requirements first, so only chose the one that actually meets your requirements before spending extra money.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly cold air intake for Chevy Silverado, then nothing can beat Blackhorse Racing 4 Cold air intake . It is the most affordable option available in the market that is known for its ultimate performance and better throttle response.
6. Lifetime Warranty
It is always advisable to check the system’s lifetime warranty to get better support and services in case of any part failure. But these days, brands don’t provide a lifetime warranty but you can check their limited warranty period (which is about 5-10 years in reputable brands). This will help you to save additional bucks in the long run in case of any repair or replacement.
Tips to maintain the long life of Cold Air Intake Systems
Buying the best cold air intakes is one thing but maintaining them to ensure their long life/durability is the other. It is crucial to follow some maintenance tips so that you don’t have to spend money again and again on the replacement/repairing of air intake components. Here are some simple yet effective tips you can follow to ensure the durability and long-lasting performance of your aftermarket intake system:
Regular Cleaning to Remove Dirt & Debris
Regular cleaning of air intake system from inside & outside is crucial from time to time to prevent the system from early damage or degradation. You can use a nylon brush with soft bristles or compressed air to remove the debris from the hard-to-access parts to ensure better airflow through the system whenever you feel a degradation in the performance. But never use a metal brush or any hard component for cleaning as it can damage the sensitive components of the air intake kit.
Oiling at Regular Intervals
You must have use a good amount of oil for the regular cleaning so the system works properly without any damage. There is no such benchmark after which cleaning is required as it depends upon usage, vehicle type, road conditions, and many other factors. But for the safe side, it is advisable to regularly clean your system after every 30,000 miles for better gas mileage & performance intake.
Inspect Air Filter Time to Time for damage
You might have observed the degradation in the flow rate of the air or engine’s performance which could be due to the damage in form of holes/cracks in air intake system components. To check if that is the case, you must inspect the air filter and tubing of the air intake from time to time using a light source, and in case if there is any damage, replace it immediately with a new filter/tube to improve power gains and high flow rate.
Use Pre-Filters and Hydro-Shields for enhanced Service Interval
Sometimes water gets into the motor of the engine and damages it permanently. To avoid this situation, it is advisable to use pre-filters and hydro shields that potentially hydro-lock the engine and prevent it from damage for long-lasting performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Does Cold Air Intakes cause any kind of Engine Problems?
Usually, Cold air intake improves the performance and efficiency of the engine system without causing any damage or problem but in some scenarios, you might face this problem if the intake pipe is of incorrect size (too large or too narrow). In case of the incorrect size/fit, the air flow rate will be impacted that will affect the overall fuel/air ratio in the engine, causing frequent engine problems while driving. But if you use the correct size of tubing, there will be no damage or adverse effect on the engine’s performance.
2) Is tuning essential with the cold air intake?
The requirement of Tuning depends upon the cold air intake style and vehicle’s type. Not every cold air intake requires tuning as it itself enhances the torque and horsepower of the vehicle. But in case if you need more advanced modifications then you can go for tuning after consulting it with a professional.
3) Does cold air intakes makes towing easy?
Although Cold air intake not directly makes towing easy but indirectly it does by improving the torque and horsepower of the vehicle. With an enhanced torque power you can observe better towing of the vehicle as compared to the factory ones.
Choosing the best cold air intake for Chevy Silverado is not an easy task but you can definitely ace it with our detailed buying guide. Always look for the right size, your purpose of buying the aftermarket intake system, and brand’s reputation online to get the right one for your vehicle. If you have any other queries related to the air intake system, don’t forget to ask us in the comments. Buy safely & smartly!