When it comes to aftermarket air intakes, the answer is not a simple yes or no. It really depends on the exact vehicle and the particular intake system. A true cold air intake on a vehicle that has a slightly restrictive stock intake system can improve it slightly, although the gains are usually too small to be noticed. However, they do change the sound of the vehicle, usually making the exhaust note louder and deeper.
In terms of performance, a cold air intake system probably won't show much improvement as a standalone add-on. But if you also add other modifications, such as a low-restriction exhaust system, an effective cold air intake could be more useful. On larger engines, such as a 7.3 turbo diesel engine, an additional 14 whp average in 3 races and then with admission can be achieved. Apart from performance gains, cold air intakes are also beneficial for other reasons.
Factory air intake systems are typically equipped with paper air filters that need to be replaced every 15,000 miles. A cold air intake is installed outside the engine compartment, away from the heat generated by the engine itself. This means that colder air is drawn into the engine, which is denser and carries more oxygen to the combustion chamber for more power. Installing a cold air intake also has other advantages.
It is relatively cheap compared to other mods such as exhausts and headers, and it creates a louder grunt that many people enjoy. However, it is important to note that if your car is new and still under warranty, installing a cold air intake will void the warranty. In conclusion, aftermarket air intakes can be worth it depending on your vehicle and what you want to achieve with it. If you are looking for performance gains, then you may need to combine it with other modifications for noticeable results. But if you are looking for a sound upgrade or just want to replace your paper air filter more often, then a cold air intake could be worth it.