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Chevrolet Silverado Cold Air Intake System Overview

Chevrolet Silverado Cold Air Intake System Overview

One of the first purchases a proud new Silverado owner makes is purchasing a cold air intake system. With oxygen-rich, cold air flowing through your engine, a cold-air intake system can substantially improve engine performance and longevity. If you purchased a Silverado 1500 V6 to save some money, but still crave the power of a V8, then a cold air intake system is a great place to start. We offer this comprehensive cold air intake guide to help you choose the right cold air intake system that will maximize the performance of your Silverado.

Shop Silverado Cold Air Intakes

Silverados come with a ton of power from the factory, however, both the V6 and V8 engines have a lot of potentials to unlock even more performance gains. Upgrading the cold air intake is a great modification to add to any truck build for immediate results. Find the perfect cold air intake to open up your Silverado's airflow and unless the true power your truck has to offer.

Shop Cold Air Intakes

What’s Wrong with My Silverado's Stock Intake?

To be candid, Chevy’s air intake system is a little short of laughable. With confusing twists and turns restricting airflow, stock intake systems are designed to last, but not necessarily perform. The stock air intake system lies close to the engine and radiator fans, which means the air your engine breathes, when you pump the gas, is the same warm air it exhales.

Warm air is less oxygen rich, which results in less than optimal combustion. At high rpms your engine will heat up very quickly and pumping that same warm air back through your engine results in less power than you’d like. This affects everything from drivetrain performance to your engine’s torque. You bought a Silverado for its power; unleash the beast with a cold air intake upgrade.

What is a Cold Air Intake?


Cold air intake systems are composed of curved tubes and an improved air filter design to improve airflow to your engine. Cold air intake tubes are wider in diameter allowing for better airflow and built with curved mandrels to direct air straight through the manifold to the engine unrestricted. More air equals more power, but colder air equals even more power.

A cold air intake is designed to pull cold air through the air filter by placing it in the inner fender of the wheel well or at the coldest compartment of the engine. Cold air is more oxygen rich, which produces greater engine combustion and more power. Most cold air intakes are designed to completely shield the air filter from any heat whatsoever. 

A cold air filter confers more benefits for your Silverado 1500 that you may not even notice:

  • Increases horsepower and torque
  • Improved throttle response
  • Better gas mileage
  • Reduce engine temperature
  • Improved air filter life

Cold air intake systems even work with your engine’s computer to maintain a proper air-fuel ratio. With better airflow, your engine starts diverting more fuel to match the fuel-air ratio, which results in greater engine power. 

Silverado Intake Tube
Intake Tube

Cold Air Intake Parts 

Aftermarket cold intakes come complete with a brand new air filter and more aerodynamic intake tube. Air filters come in two different forms: oil or dry. Brand new aftermarket air filters have a larger surface area and only require cleaning after 30,000 miles.

An aftermarket cold air intake air oiled filter could last a lifetime where stock air filters have to be thrown out every 10,000-15,000 miles. With cleaner, colder air, a brand new air filter will not only improve power and performance, but also fuel economy. 

Our selection of aftermarket cold air intake tubes for your Silverado 1500 are designed with highly durable polyurethane that shields air filters from heat. With simpler construction and wider diameter aluminum tubing, an aftermarket air intake tube reduces airflow turbulence allowing the engine to breathe at high speeds. 

Silverado Dry Air Filter
Dry Air Filter

How Much Horsepower will my Silverado Gain from a Cold Air Intake?

On average, a cold air intake will add about 11 horsepower to your Silverado. Couple this upgrade with a new mass airflow sensor or a throttle body spacer for even better air regulation. Ideally, a tuner will help your cold air intake run tip-top. Aside from increased horsepower, your cold air intake will also save you money at the pump.

What’s the Difference Between an Oiled and Dry Air Filter?

Most likely, if you've never upgraded your air filter then you have a standard OEM dry air filter in your Silverado. These are disposable air filters made of foam or paper. They are designed to restrict air to your engine and could become clogged over time with dirt and contaminants.

Oiled filters are designed to be reusable and have more open-air control to allow more air to breathe through your engine. Oiled filters come with cold air intake systems because both components allow for better air quality and quantity. All you should do is wash off the contaminants from an oil filter and allow it to dry before placing it back in your air intake system.

Silverado Oiled Air Filter
Oiled Air Filter

Choosing a Silverado Air Intake System

Deciding on a new air intake system comes down to a matter of budget. A cold air intake system may be more expensive, but it arrives with better horsepower, fuel economy, and it could increase the life of your engine. Remember these four main specifications before you purchase a new air intake system:

  • Budget: Is this the right time to invest in a cold air intake system?
  • State Regulations: Some states have CARB certifications that limit emissions. You’ll need to purchase a CARB certified cold air intake if you live in a state like California. 
  • Vehicle Specific: Depending on your Silverado model, you'll need to find a cold air intake system that fits snug beneath your hood and is compatible with your engine compartments. 
  • Dry vs. Oiled Filter: Upgrade an air intake system with a long-lasting oiled filter for maximum performance. 
63 Silverado Aircharger Cold Air Intake
Cold Air Intake

Do I Need to Tune My Silverado with a New Intake?

Retuning your Silverado with a new air intake system depends on the system you get and its manufacturer. While it’s generally recommended you tune your Silverado for a new air intake, it may not be necessary.

Check with a mechanic or manufacturer before doing so. For the best performance, you’ll want to tune your Silverado with an aftermarket tuner after getting a new cold air intake so you can get the most of your new air flow system.

Installing a Cold Air Intake System on My Silverado

Fortunately, most aftermarket cold air intakes are designed to simply bolt on underneath the existing engine cover. Remove the engine cover and mass airflow system and bolt the air intake onto where the stock air box stood.

Place the air filter over the fender well and make sure everything is tight. Finally, install your edge molding over the air intake compartment, reassemble the pieces and you’re ready for the cost-effective advantages of a cold air intake system.

Fitment includes: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Hybrid, LS, LT, LTZ, WT, XFE, Custom, HighCountry