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Confused about cold air intake systems? Here are some facts:
Cold air intakes do not produce a definite amount of horsepower and not 50 more horsepower. The horsepower gained is typically between 3 and 10, but sometimes less.
Cold air intakes are designed to pull in cooler air, outside of the engine bay, because the air inside the engine bay is much warmer.
There are rumors that a cold air intake system will void your warranty. It's unlikely, but always read up and research the cold air intake system before you make your purchase. Every cold air intake system will print the instructions and warranty violations on the box.
Although you can get a handsome cold air intake system, remember that it's meant for performance. Most manufacturers will say their cold air intakes give a certain amount of horsepower and helps with torque. This usually means with other modifications, or on engines built for speed, you can get the top amount of horsepower. You may also have to make modifications when installing a cold air intake.
Radiators are an integral part of your engine system - unless of course you're driving around a '68 VW Beetle, since these have air cooled engines. For the rest of us, engine cooling is more complicated. As your motor makes power, about half of the energy produced is released as heat. This heat must go somewhere, so it is whisked away from the explosive combustion process by the water pump. The water is pumped through tiny channels in the radiator, and these channels are laid down in sheets, or cores. Radiators can have 2, 3, even 4 cores. The higher the number of radiator cores in a car radiator, the greater the cooling capacity.
As you increase the horsepower of your car, more heat is generated, and a factory radiator cannot keep up with the demand.
A radiator tip: New, high performance radiators can cost upwards of $1000, so before you plunk down your money on an aftermarket radiator, look into getting your factory radiator upgraded with an extra core. This will cost a fraction of a new radiator, and there are many local shops which specialize in this service.
While we all know to have regular oil changes, a check on our car's radiator is rarely performed.
If you plan on conducting a radiator inspection, do this:
-When looking at your radiator, look at every visible part, even the inside, where the radiator cap is located.
-Look for corrosion around the cap, around the fittings and around the hoses. If there is corrosion, this may be a good indication of a small or moderate leak.
-Look for leaks: if any coolant is on the ground around the vehicle or on any surface of your vehicle, including the undercarriage, seek professional advice immediately.
-Check for discoloration in the coolant; it may look like rust. An oily film in the radiator coolant is a sure sign of a major problem.
Most mechanics or technicians will not perform a radiator check-up unless you request one.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|