Air Intake Hose Buyer's Guide
- The air intake hose, also known as an air intake tube, is the part that connects your air filter box to the vehicle’s throttle body. This hose is extremely important because it delivers clean, filtered air from outside the vehicle to the engine where it will be mixed with fuel for combustion.
- Cold air drawn in by the air intake system from outside the engine bay is oxygen-rich, making it better for engine combustion. If the air intake hose is clogged or broken, it will be difficult for the vehicle to achieve the proper air-to-fuel ratio for optimal engine power, efficiency, and emissions.
- The common signs of a cracked or damaged air intake hose are the Check Engine Light , engine stalling and rough idling, loud whistling or hissing engine noises.
- The cost of an air intake hose will vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model. In general, OE replacement parts will cost you in the range of $3 to $293.
- Replacing a cracked air intake hose is important to prevent engine overheating, fuel contamination, and poor gas mileage.
Just like humans, internal combustion engines need air to function. Oxygen, in particular, must be mixed with fuel for small explosions to ignite inside the combustion chamber and power the movement of a vehicle. Many have compared the intake manifold to our lungs since it is responsible for distributing air to each of the engine’s cylinders. But as important as this part is, there is another component that is critical to the function of the air intake system—the air intake hose.
What is an Air Intake Hose?
The air intake hose, also known as an air intake tube, is the part that connects your air filter box to the vehicle’s throttle body. This hose is extremely important because it delivers clean, filtered air from outside the vehicle to the engine where it will be mixed with fuel for combustion.
An air intake hose is typically made of an ultra-durable rubber or plastic material. Instead of a smooth pipe, it is designed to have wide spots or empty chambers that smoothen airflow and absorbs vibrations. It’s important that all tubes and hoses in the air intake system are free from leaks and clogs so that proper airflow to the engine is maintained for ignition.
What is the Purpose of an Air Intake Hose?
To understand the function of the air intake hose, we must do a quick overview of how the air intake system works. The air intake system is typically installed behind the grille or the hood scoop where it can collect air as the vehicle moves. A cold air intake hose collects outside air and allows it to flow towards the air filter box. Any dust, rocks, pollen, and other debris are trapped in the filters, allowing clean air to flow to the next step.
An intake hose connects the filter box to the throttle body. Every time the driver steps on the accelerator pedal, a valve in the throttle body opens, allowing the filtered air to flow towards the intake manifold. The network of hoses in the intake manifold, in turn, distributes clean air to each engine cylinder where it is mixed with fuel for combustion.
What Happens if the Engine Air Intake Hose Breaks?
Cold air drawn in by the air intake system from outside the engine bay is oxygen-rich, making it better for engine combustion. If the air intake hose is clogged or broken, it will be difficult for the vehicle to achieve the proper air-to-fuel ratio for optimal engine power, efficiency, and emissions.
At the same time, if an air intake hose is cracked or damaged, it can introduce contaminants which could negatively affect internal combustion and emissions. Foreign matter and debris may find their way into the engine because outside air will be able to enter the system without passing through the air filter. The Mass Air Flow and Mass Air Pressure sensors may also produce faulty readings because the system is no longer airtight.
Symptoms of a Bad or Leaking Air Intake Hose
Check Engine Light Switches On
The Check Engine Light can be triggered by a variety of engine problems. Use an OBD-II scan tool and connect it to your engine computer to determine if the code is related to your engine running in a rich (insufficient air) or lean (too much air) condition. If it is, one of the possible causes that you must get checked is a damaged or cracked air intake hose.
Unusual Engine Noises
Air rushing in toward broken parts of the air intake hose can produce noises that are more noticeable as you step on the acceleration pedal. Listen for any loud whistling or hissing noises from under your hood.
Rough Idling and Poor Acceleration
Insufficient air in the combustion chamber can result in difficulty in achieving the proper air-to-fuel ratio. This often causes vehicle backfiring and an overall lack of power due to unburned fuel.
Why is an Air intake Hose Replacement Important?
Over time, rubber or plastic hoses can wear out due to extended exposure to heat, vibration, and moisture. It’s pretty common to find cracked air intake hoses, especially in older vehicles. Haphazard repairs or improper reinstallation can also result in breakage or leaks in the air intake system.
Replacing a damaged or leaking air intake hose is important in ensuring proper engine airflow for ignition. Without enough cold air, your engine will run lean and operate at higher temperatures than it should. This is one of the most common causes of engine overheating. As unfiltered air enters the system, contaminants may also build up in the engine which can cause parts to wear out faster than they should.
Choosing the Right Air Intake Hose
The incorrect amount of air or fuel fed to your car's engine can greatly affect your vehicle's horsepower rating. Getting the correct air-fuel mixture, therefore, is crucial to keeping your engine's performance at its peak. The air intake hose takes care of allowing air to enter the engine, and if this component develops a leak, it could mean trouble.
Reasons to Buy a New Intake Hose
A damaged intake hose, quite simply, is a useless piece of equipment that needs to be removed and replaced with a new one immediately. Besides being really inexpensive, an air intake hose is also very easy to install. There are bolt-on types available in the market that make them a breeze to clamp on. A worn or cracked intake hose can cause the engine to idle too fast or too rough. If the signs are there-visible wear or damage, or a wheezing or sucking noise in the air system-it's time for you to replace the air intake hose.
Features to Look For
Air intake hoses are usually short tubes made of metal, plastic, rubber, or silicone. The ones made of metal are more durable but are less heat-resistant. Rubber, on the other hand, is more flexible, but it resists more heat than metal. It's important to look for hoses made of the right material that fits your engine's needs.
If you are buying an air intake kit, look for one that makes use of heat shields to isolate the air filter from the rest of the engine compartment. These brands offer heat-resistant hoses that can withstand heat up to 310 degrees Celcius. Heat, along with debris that accidentally made their way into the hose, is among the top factors in the corrosion or damage of an air intake hose.
Some aftermarket hoses offer enhanced oxygen flow to your car's engine compartment. Even these are not that expensive, so you might want to consider these products to replace your old ones.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace an Air Intake Hose?
The cost of an air intake hose will vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model. In general, OE replacement parts will cost you in the range of $3 to $293. These are sold individually, in sets of two, or as part of a kit.
Finding the Right Fit
To find the right engine air intake hose for your needs, use the CarParts.com built-in vehicle selector. Simply plug in your vehicle’s correct information to narrow down your results to all compatible parts. Rest assured that our selection of replacement parts has been checked and tested for quality by industry professionals, so you’re sure to get the most bang out of your buck.