Air Scoops 101: What’s The Use & Does It Increase Horsepower?

By December 3, 2022Air Scoop

The air scoop is a modification that allows your vehicle to get more air for better performance. It is designed to allow cool air into the intake. Since cool air is much denser, more oxygen is needed for better combustion, thus increasing horsepower.

Personally, I have used the air scoop with my Honda civic. After the installation, I noticed a better performance with my engine. The only problem is that it requires a lot of care when dealing with water. 

In this article, I will go into the details of air scoops and should cover lots of things to help you understand more about air scoops and help decide whether you should get it or not.

What’s The Use Of Air Scoops?

Air scoop featured image

Air scoop

Air scoop allows cooler air into the engine to achieve better performance. If you want to achieve an air scoop, part of the vehicle’s hood is cut out, where the air in the surroundings will flow directly to the engine. A part called a scoop is then mounted in the opening. 

In addition, the scoop, sometimes called the air dam, is mounted on the vehicle’s hood and allows air to flow directly down to the engine area.   

Having an air scoop on your vehicle can be decorative or functional. Many people have the scoop done and the plastic or metal raised mount without the actual opening. When this happens, the air scoop is done purely for decorative purposes. 

On the other hand, a functional air scoop will have an opening that could open and close. When the vehicle is in motion, the opening will open, and when it stops, the opening closes. The driver can control the opening with a lever or switch, which can be done automatically.  

When mounting the air scoop, you must find air pressure areas on which it will be mounted. A good place to mount it is near the windshield and can be mounted either facing the windshield or away. When the vehicle is being driven, pressure is created, pushing air into the scoop, which is then directed to the engine. 

The air scoop will provide cooler air from the environment compared to the air under the hood. Warmer air will reduce the performance engine. The air scoop concept was mainly used in aircraft and later adopted by car users.

Do Air Scoops Increase Horsepower?

Car with air scoop

Depending on your engine, an air scoop can add 12 to 50 hp. The amount of added horsepower depends on many factors, like if you have other modifications or where the air scoop will be facing. 

An array of air scoop aftermarket products available in the market provides different added advantages. There are also different types of air scoops, which come in different shapes and sizes that help increase the engine’s air intake level. All these factors determine the power output your vehicle will get from the modification. 

Does Rain Water Get in Air Scoops?

Driving on rain

Rainwater can get into the air scoop and major parts of the engine. Water can easily enter the air scoop and find its way into the intake system. From the intake system, it could get to the engine. 

Draining a vehicle with an air scoop under the rain has become a major concern for people because of fear of water escaping in the air scoop. Although, in most cases, the water that comes from the rain is not enough to get into the engine system. In some cases, they are diverted from entering the engine to where they are drained. However, this can only work when the water escaping the air scoop is small. 

If the water going into the air scoop is much more, it is much harder to divert the water. Some water is diverted, but a little water can find its way into the scoop and get into the intake easily. 

When water gets into the intake, the filter collects the water and allows the air to pass through to the engine as time goes on. If the water becomes too much, it will escape into the engine, which is the real problem. 

When water enters the engine, it can cause instant damage to the piston and cylinder. It will cause the parts to crack and break. The engine will then start to fail due to the damaged parts. 

How To Keep Water Out Of Air Scoops?

Some ways to ensure water does not get into the engine through air scoops may include creating a dead zone, manual air scoop switch, masking tapes, and more.

People are constantly faced with the problem of preventing water from getting into their air scoop, which has proven extremely difficult. Although most air scoop comes with its way of coping with water, it is ineffective in most cases.  

There are ways to prevent water from entering your air scoop, especially during the rain. Some of them include the following. 

1. Divert water to dead zone

One way to prevent rain from entering the air drain is by creating a dead zone. What this dead zone does is that water entering the air scoop is diverted to the dead zone.

When the dead zone is created, a tube is connected where the water will pass through and be drained to the ground through the suspension area. In some cases, people like to divert the water to the intercooler.  

2. Use switch to open or close air scoop

Another way to prevent water from entering the air scoop is to get a manual switch. The air scoop is not always opened for vehicles that use automatic air scoop. It only opens when you start your engine and move the vehicle. This way, water can not enter the scoop when parked, only when moving. 

By getting a manual switch for the air scoop, you can manually close it when it rains or whenever you feel like it. 

3. Cover air scoop with tape when raining

You can also get masking tape to cover the air scoop whenever rain falls. The tape will shield against the rain, keeping the air scoop dry while driving. 

4. Use ram air scoop

Another way to protect the air scoop from the rain is using a ram air scoop. It is designed to work perfectly with your vehicle’s body and draws a large volume of air into the engine in response to the throttle. 

Like the air scoop, there will be an opening in the vehicle’s hood, and the air ram will suck through the opening. The good thing about the ram air scoop is that it is designed to remove every excess water in the air. With this, you can drive comfortably in the rain.

How To Wash a Car With an Air Scoop?

When washing a vehicle with an air scoop, you must ensure that some things are in place. Putting some measures in place, you are ensuring that water does not enter into the air scoop. Some of these measures may include the following.

1. Control where the water flows

You must pay attention to how much water you use and where the water flows to. You do not need to waste too much water when washing your car. The more water you use, the higher the risk of having water in the air scoop. 

Reduce the water you use when washing the car, and be careful not to allow water to flow to the air scoop. Doing this reduces the chances of water getting into the engine bay while washing the car. 

2. Control the water pressure

When washing your vehicle, you must use only a little water pressure, especially with a vehicle with a scoop. The required pressure when washing a vehicle should be between 1,000 and 1,500 PSI. 

When washing a vehicle with air soaps, you must use a water pressure of about 1,000 PSI. By doing this, you will be able to control better where water can reach.

3. Carefully dry engine compartment

After washing the vehicle, ensure that you dry every part of the vehicle’s body. Look into the air scoop, ensure that water does not get into it, and then proceed to clean. After doing this, you can lift up the engine’s hood and dry the engine bay. 

You can use a thick, soft clothing material to remove any excess water in the engine bay. Ensure that you check all parts of the engine, especially the battery and filters, which often place water could sneak into. 

4. Cover air scoop while washing

If you want to completely minimize the extent water can get into the air scoop, you should cover it when washing the vehicle. You can use many ways and materials to cover up the air scoop. You can make use of waterproof masking tape. Masking tapes are quite common and are mostly used for plumbing and construction.  

You can use a garbage bag if you cannot find the waterproof tape. All you have to do is place the garbage bag in the air scoop. Garbage is even more common, and you will not have a problem finding one. 

5. Use waterless wash

In addition, you can also consider waterless wash. As the name implies, you can wash your vehicle without water. With the help of some special chemicals, you can clean your vehicle’s body, which would be as good as using water. You can find them as spray or concentrate. 

All you need to do is apply a cloth or any cleaning material and wipe. With this, you reduce the chance of getting water in your air scoop to Zero. Do not use chemicals on the engine parts. 

How Much Does Air Scoop Cost?

Air scoop can be quite cheap, depending on what brand you are getting. An aftermarket air scoop can cost as low as $17 up to $400. 

The difference in this cost could be due to the material used to make the scoop. Some are more daring and have some unique qualities. More expensive scoops are mainly used with high-performing vehicles. 

The installation process may cost$100 or more if you have it done by a professional. It will cost you little to nothing if you are doing it yourself.

How To Install Air Scoops

Installing an air scoop is easier than expected, and you need little knowledge about automobiles. To get started with installation, you will need a good guide to help you install the air scoop accurately. You must also have experience using heavy tools like the angle grinder or chop saw. 

The first thing you have to do is get your equipment ready.  Below are the tools required:

  1. Measuring Tape 
  2. Masking tape 
  3. Paint 
  4. Angle grinder or chop saw 
  5. Drill bits 
  6. Sealants 
  7. Drill 

Once you have the tools ready, you can get into the installation process highlighted below.

1. Find the center of the hood 

The first thing to do is find where the air scoop is to be fitted; to do this, you must find the hood’s center. Use a measuring tape center of the hood and mark it with a marker.  

2. Measure the air scoop 

Now you have to measure the air scoop to know where you will catch on the hood. Flip the air scoop, and if it is a bolt-on type of scoop, you will not cut the exact size of the scoop on the hood. If you do, there will be no space to bolt the scoop to the hood. 

3. Map out the Air Scoop on the hood 

Now that you have the measurement of the center of the hood and the scoop, you can map out what you are cutting on the hood. First, use a marker to draw where you will mount the air scoop. Use masking tape to cover the parts to which the scoop will be bolted. 

4. Drill the hood 

Drill small holes at each corner of the mapped area, and then enlarge those holes with a boring bit. The holes will serve as starting and finishing points during the cutting process. 

5. Cut the hood

Use your cutting device to start the process. Cut the hole in the hood and ensure it only goes within the mapped-out area. Note that the hole must be flawed. 

6. Check and drill holes 

Double-check the measurement of the hole you have cut and ensure that it is good enough to fit the scoop. Now drill holes in the appropriate areas and brush away metal remnants. 

7. Install bolts and mount the scoop

Now you can install the bolts to the holes drilled into the hood. Before mounting the scoop, apply adhesive to the edges and bolt it tightly to the hood. After doing this, add gap sealer to the edges of the scoop. Use mask tapes to put the scoop in position tightly so the sealer will dry properly.  

Is an Air Scoop Worth It?

The air scoop is worth installing on your vehicle. It is a good way to increase your vehicle’s performance. It works well with both high-performance vehicles and any other type of engine. Installation does not require much like other types of modifications.

Also, the modification costs less to have installed in your vehicle and does not need as much mechanical experience, just knowledge of tool handling. It will not hurt your engine, and you must be careful about water entering the scoop. 

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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