Diesel Intake Upgrade Benefits

An air intake upgrade is one of the cheapest, simplest, and most effective modifications for diesel trucks. The increase in airflow and efficiency allows for a number of benefits including power gains, better throttle response, and improved fuel economy. For the relatively cheap $250-300 price point, it's hard to find a better bang-for-your-buck upgrade. In this article, I discuss intake upgrade benefits and why they're truly one of the best diesel truck mods.

Benefits of Cold Air Intakes for Diesel Trucks

Benefits of Diesel Truck Intakes

  • Horsepower & torque gains
  • Better throttle response
  • Improved fuel economy
  • Enhanced sound & appearance

The list of benefits is already impressive, but some may argue diesel intake upgrades offer even more. High-quality filters - like the S&B Filters we use - can potentially extend engine life and reliability through improved filtration. The reusable filters may also be washed and re-oiled making future air intake maintenance less expensive.

Ultimately, diesel intakes offer tons of awesome benefits and in this article I'm simply focusing on a few of the most notable ones. That said, let's jump in and discuss the bulleted points above in greater depth.

1) Horsepower and Torque Gains

When we hear from customers about why they want an intake upgrade, the answer is almost always the same, "more power and better fuel economy". It's no surprise since those are often the two biggest benefits of intakes.

It's normal to see performance gains of roughly 5-10 horsepower and 10-20 torque. Exact power and torque gains depend on a number of factors such as the diesel engine in question, tuning, additional upgrades, and more. A tune is essential in maximizing power gains from intakes as a tune can properly adjust for the increased airflow.

2) Better Throttle Response

Not only do upgraded intakes move a higher volume of air, but they also move air through the engine faster. In turn, you'll notice diesel trucks have better throttle response, turbo spool, and feel after upgrading the air intake.

It's worth noting that improvements to throttle response can be minor. However, most will notice the slightly better throttle response and every little bit helps.

3) Improved Fuel Economy

As briefly mentioned before, fuel economy benefits are one of the biggest benefits of diesel cold air intakes. An intake can offer fuel economy improvements of about 1-2mpg. These fuel economy improvements are most noticeable on the highway, but you may still see gains of about 0.5-1mpg in the city.

Even assuming a modest 1 mile per gallon improvement, the savings at the pump really start to add up after a couple years. If you drive 12,000 miles per year and see 12mpg that works out to 1,000 gallons of diesel. Increasing fuel economy to 13mpg with an intake upgrade saves just over 75 gallons - or about $300 at $4 per gallon.

Essentially, the savings at the pump pay for the cost of a diesel intake upgrade after just one year. Anything beyond that is pure savings. Check out our article on ways to improve diesel gas mileage if you're looking for more savings at the pump!

4) Sound and Appearance

Lastly, sound and appearance are two subjective topics, but many tend to enjoy the sounds and looks of an upgraded cold air intake. A larger, higher-flowing filter will free up a lot of turbo and induction sounds. It's especially noticeable during heavy throttle and high boost situations. Open intakes without an airbox will result in the loudest induction sounds.

Additionally, most diesel trucks use bulky airboxes from the factory that take up a lot of space. Removing the airbox or replacing it with a smaller design/heat shield helps open up some room in the engine bay. We think it looks great and makes future maintenance, repairs, and engine bay access more convenient.

Diesel Air Intake Upgrades Summary

Cold air intake upgrades for diesel trucks offer a number of awesome benefits for a great price. An intake offers about 5-10hp and 10-20 torque gains, a 1-2mpg fuel economy improvement, and better throttle response on most trucks. Intakes can also add cool turbo and induction sounds and make for a cleaner looking and more accessible engine bay.

It's an impressive list of benefits for an upgrade that's relatively cheap at roughly $250-300. The diesel fuel savings can even pay for the cost of a cold air intake after just a year. Ultimately, an intake is one of the best bang-for-your-buck mods and one we highly recommend for any diesel trucks.

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