Ever Wondered What Makes Your Engine Tick?
As it turns out, every engine from a motorized scooter to a cruise ship needs two basic things to function: fuel and air. And no matter the size or complexity of your engine, whether you’re in a tiny old junker car or a Ferrari, that air comes from your air intake system. We will talk about AEM intake system there.
What an Intake System Does
The easiest way to think of an air intake system is ventilation. Basically, it’s how your engine breathes–because it relies on fuel consumption for energy, it needs oxygen to run efficiently. That’s where your intake system comes in.
How an Intake System Works
There are three components of an air intake system:
- Air filter
- Mass flow sensor
- Throttle body
The air filter is exactly what it sounds like–a filtration layer that keeps out any unwanted particles (in this case, dirt or debris). The mass flow sensor, which can be either a hot wire or a vane meter, allows air to pass through before making it to the throttle body. The throttle body controls how much air gets to your engine’s combustion.
That last bit is critical to how your engine works. When you accelerate, the throttle body opens, pouring in air so that you can pour on speed. When you decelerate, the throttle body closes, limiting the flow of oxygen and reducing the engine’s power.
In a carbureted engine, air flows from the air filter to the carburetor. This component works on a venturi principle, in which air drawn into the system is accelerated through a narrow passage. Once the passage widens again, it creates a vacuum, which is what draws fuel into the moving air column through the carburetor jets.
Of course, most cars these days use fuel-injected engines, which uses electronic controls for greater precision to meter the flow of air and vaporize fuel.
Common Issues with an Air Intake System
One of the most common issues with your cold air intake system is built-up debris. Remember, the filter catches dust and debris, but your system will still get dirty with extended use. This can limit the flow of air, which results in reduced acceleration power in your engine.
Another common problem is an air leak, which can cause your mass flow sensor to read incorrectly. More or less air than the calculated amount affects your engine performance over time, and it can also allow dirt and debris into the system.
Because your air intake system is so critical to how your engine functions, it’s essential to have a warranty to protect it, like an AEM intake warranty.
Learn How to Make Your Car Work for You
Much like the human body, your car engine is comprised of a huge collection of interconnected parts, all working together to achieve an outcome. And like the human body, you have to take care of the system if you want it to stay healthy.
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