Just how important is air to your vehicle's engine system? Air is what helps the engine burn fuel and convert its chemical energy into more useful mechanical energy. Air is also vital in the engine cooling process; cool air is helpful in picking up and dissipating engine heat from the radiator. So the higher the amount of air intake is, the more efficient your vehicle's engine is. And one of the ways you can increase your vehicle's air intake is through the hood scoop. The hood scoop is designed to be mounted on the hood, on top of the engine bay. From this position, the hood scoop draws in cooler, denser air into the engine compartment. With the increased air intake, the engine's power output is bound to increase as well. You can think of it this way: air from the grille will go directly to the intake system while air from the hood scoop goes to the engine bay. On top of that, a hood scoop can make your ride look sportier!
• Aids the cooling process by hoarding in more air via an opening on the hood
• Concentrates airflow in the engine bay
• Additional aesthetic accessory for your vehicle
All You Need to Know about the Hood Scoop
- The hood scoop is an upraised opening on the hood that looks and acts pretty much like a small vent. This is a common fixture on muscle cars, which is why this feature is usually associated with performance.
- The scoop is raised on the hood to catch additional air stream when running at high speeds. The airflow is channeled to the engine compartment in a short, direct path, usually through a tube or passage that is insulated against heat.
- Although hood scoops are primarily designed to supply more airflow and to enhance performance, not all are capable of providing any sort of power gain. Aside from decorative hood scoops that are just added for mere appearance, some scoops fail to achieve the desired outcome because of their poor construction and design.
Rear spoilers give the vehicle wings to fly at highway speeds by reducing drag and adding traction. They also make the vehicle look sleeker. For the front end, you have hood scoops to give the vehicle a bit of the sporty edge. The scoop lets the engine breathe in more air, so it will run cooler and work better.
What is a hood scoop?
The hood scoop is an upraised opening on the hood that looks and acts pretty much like a small vent. This is a common fixture on muscle cars, which is why this feature is usually associated with performance. The hood scoop sits on top of the hood to catch additional air stream, especially at high road speeds. The airflow is channeled to the engine compartment in a short, direct path, usually through a tube or passage that is insulated against heat. To achieve this, the scoop is placed on a high-pressure area, such as the rear of the hood or close to the vehicle’s cowl. The scoop may also be in reverse, with the inlet facing the windshield. It should also be mounted at a certain level to draw in faster-moving air.
Some hood scoops are used merely as a decorative accent. Although they have an inlet, these scoops are actually closed on the inside. The protruding vent on top of the hood is there mostly for the appearance of a performance-driven front end or for a sleeker-looking body.
What does a hood scoop do?
The engine would run cooler and could work much better if more air can get into the hood. That is why the hood scoop is used to funnel air straight into the engine compartment on top of the bumper grille. Air speed and pressure increase as the vehicle runs faster. In some applications, hood scoops are designed to bring in cooler, denser air, which contains more oxygen compared to the warm under-hood air. This not only keeps the engine cooler but also makes fuel combustion more efficient. This can lead to a swell in horsepower and a boost in overall engine performance. Some scoops are even built to mimic the effects of a turbocharger or as an integral part of a supercharging system. That is why some prefer adding less-expensive hood scoops to bolting in exhaust headers.
Although hood scoops are primarily designed to accommodate more airflow and to enhance performance, not all are capable of providing any sort of power gain. Other than decorative accessories that are just added to resemble the look of muscle cars and performance vehicles, some hood scoops fail to achieve the desired outcome because of their poor construction and design. Shallow scoops, for instance, may not draw in the needed amount of air, thus failing to make any difference at all. The aerodynamic drag that some scoops may create may also undermine their potential as a power booster.
Hood scoops may attract dirt and may let in water. That is why the scoops must have drain provisions in the air cleaner assembly. The added exposure to the elements could mean more frequent air filter replacements. Another downside is added noise that the engine may create because of the scoop.
What are the different designs or types of hood scoop?
Different types of hood scoop are used by various car manufacturers. They vary in terms of function and overall design.
Ram air scoop
The ram air system is built like a cold air intake and is designed to create high-pressure air to work like a supercharger. The scoop starts with a smaller opening and gets wider as it gets closer to the engine. As air is funneled further down the scoop, air pressure increases. The supercharging effects can only be felt when running at faster speeds.
Cowl induction hood scoop
The main difference with other types of hood scoop is that this is placed at the back of the hood, with the inlet facing the windshield since its base is considered a high-pressure area. Air that blows through the windshield then flows down into the scoop’s opening to enter the engine compartment. This brings in cooler, higher-pressure air much like a cold air intake.
This is also called a turbo scoop since it is a part of a supercharging system. It induces cooler outside air to the top-mounted intercooler. The scoop is not responsible for any performance boost on its own. The supercharger or turbocharger provides some power gains but generates a lot of heat. As a heat exchanger, the intercooler makes sure that the engine operates at safer temperatures, while the scoop provides added ventilation.
This is also known as the shaker system or shaker hood. This scoop got this name because it vibrates along with the running engine since this mounted directly to it, particularly to the air cleaner. Sticking out through a hole in the hood, this scoop draws in cooler, denser air at higher road speeds and directs it straight to the air filter.
The NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) duct was initially developed for the jet aircraft. Unlike the conventional upraised scoops, the duct is submerged, mounted below the surface. This is built with curved walls and a sloped ramp. This reduces aerodynamic drag and allows faster-moving air to be drawn into the duct.
How can you find the right aftermarket hood scoops?
Here is a list of things that you have to consider to guide you through the wide selection of aftermarket hood scoops:
First, you need to figure out whether you add a decorative hood scoop to improve the appearance of your car or use a functional hood scoop to enhance its performance. You can then trim down your choices to hood scoops that best suit your needs and the type of vehicle you are driving, whether it is for street driving, for racing, or for hauling.
The hood scoop may already be a built-in feature of your vehicle or can be an add-on for either for appearance or for performance. This may be bonded or bolted to the hood. A little bit of research will tell you which method or design will work best for your vehicle.
Factory-fitted hood scoops are typically made of solid steel, especially for older muscles cars and vehicle models. More modern scoops are now made out of composite materials, which can be a good alternative to steel when it comes to durability. Some are made of fiberglass and even plastic, which are lighter.
Most hood scoops come in black or chrome, which are easier to mix and match with any paint or finish. They may also come as primed or ready to paint to match for a monochromatic tone or to make it pop in a different color.
Decorative hood scoops may come in single or dual models and may vary in shapes and sizes. For functional hood scoops, you have to consider the performance boost you are aiming to achieve and what will be most suitable to your vehicle based on application, driving style, and other requirements.
The price of aftermarket hood scoops may range from around $30 to more than $180. The larger difference in price points is based on the design, application, brand, and vehicle type.
A functional hood scoop is typically used side-by-side with an air pan, an air cleaner, or an air filter. Make sure that the scoop is integrated into the system. The hood scoop should also comply with the regulations in your local state to make it street legal. For instance, the scoop cannot be four inches above the hood or the added noise the engine will make should be within a certain level.
How to Choose the Right Type of Hood Scoop
There is more to a hood scoop than just mere design and style in your car. Those dents, holes, and bulges are actually functioning as "breathers." They also help in maximizing the potential of combustion chambers to burn fuel. Cold air makes oil thicker, which allows the engine to squeeze more energy from it.
Given these benefits of hood scoops, you should pay attention to the functionality of the design and type when selecting which one to buy and install in your car. There are several types of hood scoops and each has its unique characteristics and special benefits.
Types and functions of hood scoops
- Louvered hood scoop- A louvered scoop is easy to recognize. They look like gills of a fish. Surprisingly, they both work the same way; they are inlets and outlets of air. This application is great for those who have low-suspension cars because the scoops are not protruding and they do not block the driver's view of the road. It is also appropriate for cars which have the tendency to overheat fast because this type's design consist of several holes, thus it permits more cool air. This is commonly used in Ford Mustangs, Hummers, and Honda Civic.
- Air extractor scoop- Looks the same as louvered though it is smaller. Its main function is to serve as vents to release heat from the engine. If you're finding the best solution for overheating, this is the right choice. This is also easier to install than the louvered type.
- Ram air scoop- This scoop was popularized by race cars. If you own one, this can work well. It is designed to catch enormous amounts of air that is produced from driving extremely fast. Since this is always exposed to heavy air pressure, make sure to choose the one that is made of fiberglass because they are stronger against the wind than plastics.
- Cowl induction scoop- Both this type and the ram air scoop share the same mechanism. This type though is bigger in appearance. It actually looks like a huge bulge on your car's hood. That design is made strategically to absorb high-pressurized wind that often strikes the windshield, grilles, and bumper. Among all the other types, this is the best when it comes to engine cooling and fuel efficiency. However, its design is the least desirable. Perhaps it's made to improve performance and not style.
Other useful tips:
- Have your air filter checked regularly. A hood scoop allows the entry of dirt and debris so you need to add extra maintenance.
- Choose a hood scoop that can withstand extreme weather conditions, heat, corrosion, and wind. Choose scoops that are made of durable ABS materials, fiberglass, and aluminum.
Ready, Set, Scoop: How to Install a Hood Scoop in Your Car
There is so much more to a hood scoop than the style it brings to your car. The truth is, it is created for mechanical and not for aesthetic purpose. It functions as an entry passage for cool air to flow directly to the engine compartment. It provides cooler air to lessen the heat around the engine. It is also one of the best race-car performance enhancements. The hood scoops in race cars uses the high levels of pressure produced by the car's extreme speed. The pressurized air inside the engine doubles the cooling effect. So whether it's for function or style, installing a hood scoop is a good addition to your car. Now if you're planning to install it all by yourself, you need to prepare a few very important tools and pieces of equipment and be familiar with the following steps.
Difficulty level: Difficult
Tools you need:
- Grinder with cutting wheel
- Hood scoop of your choice
- Zeus clips
- Permanent marker
- Tape measure
- Sabre saw
- Sand paper
Step 1: Protect yourself. Wear your safety glasses, gloves, and work clothes. You'll be using drills and other sharp tools so wear safety gears to avoid any accident.
Step 2: Take the hood out of your car. Once it's out, use a sandpaper to scrape the paint on the area where you're planning to install the scoop so that the temporary markings you'll make don't smudge away.
Step 3: Now that the hood is out, take a look inside the engine and locate the car's carburetor. Scoops are best placed directly on top of the carburetors for enhanced performance. Mark or measure its location before going back to the hood.
Step 4: Copy the same measurement on the car's hood then proceed with the cutting. Check the shape of the end of the scoop you are about to install. Use a marker to plot it on top of the hood. Once you're ready, cut out the shape using a sabre saw.
Step 5: Cut out the holes on the scoop and on the hood where you can insert the bolts to hold the scoop in place. Use the sandpaper to smoothen the edges.
Step 6: Attach the scoop. Tighten the bolts and screws to keep the scoop steady and firm. Once you're finished installing the scoop, you can put the hood back in the car. If you have plenty of time, you can repaint the scraped part of the hood.
Be amazed with your car's new look. The time duration of the installation varies depending on the DIYer's skills. Follow these instructions and you'll do well.