Does Air Filter Make Car Louder?

By November 19, 2020July 19th, 2021Air Filter

Replacing just air filters will not make a car louder. For a louder sound, you need  a cone air filter that replaces the stock air filter and air box. This way, your air filter is widely exposed and you will hear a louder sound of air gushing into the engine as you accelerate – a very unique and satisfying sound. 

That was just the summary for you busy people finding answers 🙂 If you want to know the details, stick around. I will cover more about air filters and the best ways to increase car sound (for cheap)!

How Does Car Air Filter Work?

Before we discuss the impact of air filters and sound, let’s first understand how air filters work and why.

In short, your car needs air and fuel to generate power and move. Air is sucked from the surrounding and fuel is injected to the combustion chamber by your car. The more air available, the more power your car can generate.

Car air intake system. Air enters from here.
Air filter is located inside the air box.

This sounds good but the air in our environment is not always clean. Dust particles, flies, insects, sands – there are many impurities in the air and they should not enter the car engine. This is where air filters come into play – they filter out the impurities and only let air particles in. 

Stock air filters are made of paper. They work great for filtering out impurities but they can be restrictive. Meaning they restrict the amount of air that can enter your engine – and theoretically speaking, this can reduce performance.

Image of stock air filter
Image of stock air intake.

How Does Performance Air Filter Work?

Performance air filters aim to increase performance by being less restrictive. They allow more air flow while still trapping the impurities.

Instead of being made from paper, performance air filters like the K&N ones are made of foam, coated with oil. The foam material allows air in, while the oil traps fine impurities out. 

This allows more airflow and can increase horsepower. In theory this works great. But what about in real life? 🙂 I cover more about performance air filters in this article – how it works, pros and cons and much more. What Does a Performance Air Filter Do? Check it out if you want to learn more. 

Image of Performance Air Filter
Oil based performance air filter. (K&N brand)

Will Air Filter Impact Car Sound? 

Now that you are familiar with stock and performance air filters, let’s talk about sound. 

Both stock air filter and performance air filter will not make your car louder. Theoretically speaking, performance air filters should make your engine louder because it increases air flow. 

However, this is not true because the increased air flow is not significant enough to impact sound. I think it’s important to understand this. 

If you really want to have a louder car from an air filter, you can choose to replace the air box and air filter with a cone air filter. So far, I have only been talking about replacing air filters alone. 

However, there is another type of air filter that comes in a cone shape – they are bigger and much more exposed.

They significantly increase air flow and they are not silenced by any air box (like the stock does). Thus, providing you with a louder noise when you accelerate. 

Here’s a cone air filter from Amazon if you wanna check it out.

Cone Air Filter
Cone air filter replaces the existing air box and air filter. (it’s exposed)

Why Does Cone Air Filter Make Car Louder?

Stock air filters are confined inside an air box. Manufacturers purposely do this to reduce the noise from a car. I mean, not everybody likes loud cars right? 

If you install a cone air filter, you will have to remove the existing air box and air filter. A cone air filter is much larger than the regular air filters. They are meant to be exposed, so they can allow more air to enter. 

Without the airbox, the sound of air gushing into your car will not be silenced anymore – providing you with a louder and aggressive sound when you step on the throttle. 

Take a look at the images below. One is a stock air filter and another is a cone air filter. Notice how the cone air filter is widely exposed. Thus, providing you a louder car sound. Whereas stock air filter is kept in a box and silenced.

Here’s a video comparing the sound from a stock air filter and a cone air filter. Pretty significant I would say.

Why Is My Car Louder After Replacing Stock Air Filter?

I just told you only a cone air filter will make your car louder. But what if you just replaced your stock filter and noticed that your car is louder? 

There could be a couple of reasons for this. But spoiler again, your car will not be louder because of a paper based air filter. It’s definitely because of something else.

  • Previous filter was very dirty. It’s possible that your filter was extremely dirty and did not let much air come in. And after you replace it with a new one, air starts to flow in normally and you mistakenly think that your car is louder.
  • Air box is not sealed correctly. Earlier I told you that stock air box works as a silencer. It’s possible that when replacing the air filter, you did not close the air box properly – causing additional air noises to seep out.
  • Extremely thin air filter. It’s also possible that the new air filter is extremely thin. It allows so much more air though, where you can slightly hear it. But this means a lot of impurities can enter your engine! Better get it checked.

Will Air Filter Make Turbo Spool Louder?

No, an air filter will not make turbo spool to be louder. The location of a car air filter is a little too far away from the turbo. 

If you want a louder sound from your turbo spooling, you might want to look into downpipe instead. Downpipe is a pipe that connects turbo to your exhaust. A larger aftermarket downpipe can improve the exhaust flow and give you louder spooling noise.

Of course that’s not the only reason to install downpipe. I cover more about it in this article. Does Downpipe Make A Car Louder? 


Other Ways To Make A Car Louder For Cheap

If all you look for is a louder car sound, then below are better alternatives. Though, these are just quick summaries. If you want to know more about making cars louder for cheap, then head over to this article. 5 Ways To Make Car Louder For Cheap.

1. Cold Air Intake 

Although cold air intake is marketed to increase horsepower, the true beauty of cold air intake is the unique sound it provides. Every time you accelerate, you can hear the sound of air rushing into the cold air intake. 

Here’s a video of what I am talking about. Listen to the part at 0:39

K&N Cold Air Intake
Cold air intake

2. Aftermarket Muffler

Muffler is probably the most popular mod when it comes to making a car sound louder. They directly replace your stock muffler to make sure it does not silence the engine sound as much. 

There are many types of mufflers – some are perfect for daily driving while some others could be so loud that it’s deafening. 

That’s why it’s important to get the right muffler. Here’s an article where I discuss the things you should look for when buying a muffler. Check it out before buying any muffler! Best Performance Muffler: Which To Get And What To Look For? 

Flowmaster muffler
Performance muffler

3. Resonator Exhaust Tip

Resonator exhaust tip is a mod that you could just clip on your exhaust tail for an improved sound. They are inexpensive, easy to install and make your car noticeably louder. Plus, they also make your exhaust tail look sexy. 

Here’s a video showing the before and after of resonator exhaust tip. For such a cheap mod, it works quite great. This is the best route if you are on a budget.

You can find plenty of resonator exhaust tip from Amazon and they are cheap. Just make sure the sizing fits.

Ifandi L.

Ifandi L.

Passionate about everything mechanical. Ifandi has been involved with motorcycles and cars since the old days - in his family's auto parts shop. Want to keep in touch? Scream "STRAIGHT PIPEEEEE" at the top of your lungs and Ifandi will show up.

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