Brandon Wirtz, a member of the LockerGnome team, decided it was time to make a few upgrades to his Mini Cooper. One of these upgrades – which is primarily focused on increasing horse power and gas mileage – is to increase the amount of air flow to the engine by replacing the stock air intake with something better.
By replacing the stock paper air filter with a larger cloth model, the amount of air flow to the engine increases. This increases the combustion efficiency and results in a few extra horsepower. Improved gas mileage and slightly increased speed are a couple expected advantages to this upgrade.
Cloth air filters are slightly more expensive, though they are reusable and allow for the free flow of air between the environment and the engine. Cleaning can be done using a special kit that maintains the chemical balance required for the intake to function properly.
One thing to keep in mind when doing this upgrade is to make sure the mass air flow sensor is out of the way and safe while you’re replacing the intake. This is a $150 part that can impact the way your vehicle works and performs. Another item of note is that you will want to secure the new intake to avoid bumps and dips in the road causing unhealthy jostling. In this instance, Brandon went with zip ties (also known as cable ties) to keep the intake securely in place.
A new air intake won’t create a drastic change in your car’s overall performance alone. It is one of several upgrades that can improve the way your vehicle functions. A slow car won’t become an instant drag racer, but the benefits in the improved gas mileage may pay off financially over time.
UPDATE: After a wave of inquiries as to the possibility of “heat soaking” an engine by removing the plastic casing surrounding the old air filter, Brandon put out this video demonstrating his MPG and temperature readings after the upgrade.
Do you have any gas mileage improving tips or tricks? Please leave a comment below and let me know.