2020 Silverado Cold Air Intake Install, Video, and Review

Power, Performance, and Efficiency – The Best Cold Air Intake for 2020 Silverados

BY Lone-Star Hawaiian

There’s no doubt that Cold Air Intake systems are incredibly popular. Typically, the first thing “enthusiasts” do when they buy a car if it doesn’t already have one, is pull out the stock intake system and replace it with a “Cold Air Intake System.” Part of the reason they are so popular is 1) they are easy to install, and 2) they work well. And how they work is surprisingly elementary. Here is a recap of the install of a Cold Air Induction Elite Series cold air intake for my 2020 Silverado Trail Boss.

The Quick and Easy Way to Add Power and Save at the Pump

Shortly after purchasing my brand-new 2020 Silverado Trail Boss, I quickly noticed two things that needed to be changed, immediately. The first was the lack of “noise” a typical truck should make. Without an exhaust tone that was audible from the cab, it is near impossible to hear or feel your truck’s RPM. Without literally looking down at your tach, the amount of effort you’re asking from your tried-and-true V8 is a complete mystery. This was easily solved with a muffler delete kit from AFE, which quickly livened the truck up for a low cost and easy install. The truck is still equipped with a restrictive exhaust with cats and multiple resonators, so my neighbors don’t hate me…yet.

The next issue I needed to tackle was the hideous and extremely restrictive stock air intake system. When Chevrolet redesigned what is the “new and improved” Silverado for 2019, they redesigned the entire engine bay. The airbox moved from the passenger-side, where it lived for generations, to the driver-side of the engine bay. Also with the redesign came an extremely aggressive front end. Additional brackets were added at the front corners of the engine bay causing the stock air-box to be mounted much closer to the engine than the previous generations. When you move the stock plastic air box right next to the 8-cylinder furnace (also known as your engine), it’s easy to believe the air being fed through the stock filter and box is hotter than it needs to be. This is where a Cold Air Intake becomes a huge advantage.

Why Manufactures Don’t Do This from the Factory?

The cylinders in internal combustion engines generate power through controlled explosions with fuel and air. Typically, your stock engine does not receive as much air as it should for an optimal combustion cycle. Stock air intakes are designed to keep engine noise level to a minimum by using restrictive bends and a disposable filter usually at the expense of horsepower and efficiency. Surprising, right? If you are buying a truck, especially a Trail Boss, chances are you don’t expect the noise level to be kept to that of a Rolls-Royce. By freeing up the restrictive flow, you allow your engine to intake air more efficiently, and in a related benefit, it sounds dang good. But that’s only part of the advantage. 

The “Cold Air” portion of Cold Air Intakes provide both increased performance and better fuel efficiency, and how this works is pretty simple. If you think back to your 7th-grade chemistry class, you’ll remember that when you compare hot air to cold air, the air molecules of hot air are spread much further apart than cold air. As air is cooled it becomes much denser, which means more oxygen. If you have a charge of cold air into a confined area, like an engine cylinder, you have much more oxygen molecules in that cylinder than you would have with hot air. And more oxygen equals more powerful and efficient combustion. This results not only in increased horsepower (upwards of +14 hp with Cold Air Inductions system), but increased fuel efficiency. So, more power and you save money at the pump. Does it get any better?

The Cold Air Inductions intake system is constructed of high-quality heat-shielding material that prevents any heat soak. As you drive on hot summer days, you have confidence that the high flow filament filter and streamlined MAF tube will allow cold air to be sucked in through the shielded intake box to be converted into horsepower and big smiles. The combination of AFE’s muffler delete and Cold Air Inductions intake system creates an intoxicating sound that will most certainly lead to a very heavy right foot.

As an easy power-adding-gas-saving modification, the Cold Air Inductions intake system for the 2019–2020 Silverado is an absolute no-brainer. The truck feels lighter on its feet, and the throttle is crispy as a potato chip. The combination of sound and throttle response typically leads to feelings of horsepower gains, but this cannot be verified without a before/after dyno test. Even though I cannot verify the claimed +12 / +14 hp, I can claim an immediate increase in fuel efficiency. After several hundred miles driving, my highway mileage has increased from 19.5 mpg to 22 mpg. Cold Air Inductions’ intake on my Silverado is going to pay for itself in no time with these increases. But as for the smiles it puts on my face at wide-open throttle, it’s priceless.


YouTube: Lonestar Hawaiian

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2019 Silverado Cold Air Intake Review | Cold Air Inductions Inc.

Getting a Quality 2019 Silverado Cold Air Intake for a Reasonable Price

In a world where car and truck Cold Air Intake brands are a dime a dozen, it can be hard to stand out. Like many performance enthusiasts,  my early days in the custom car and truck scene involved going to Ebay and finding the cheapest parts I could, then waiting weeks if not months for them to arrive from overseas (usually China).  It was all about spending the least amount of money, and having the most aftermarket parts on my ride.  Fast forward to today and not much has changed, except one thing.   I learned to understand the importance of quality aftermarket parts.

My current vehicle is a 2019 Silverado RST.   I purchased it back in March of 2019 and immediately I was looking for aftermarket parts to install.  A Cold Air Intake System for my 2019 Silverado rst was one of the first items on my list, as it is for most enthusiasts.  My search turned up very few results though, being that this is a new generation of Silverado in its first production year.  Enter Cold Air Inductions Inc.  They manufacture Cold Air Intakes for a wide variety of late model cars and trucks, and specifically several for GM and Chevy like Chevy Colorado intakes, Canyon intakes, and Camaro intakes.   After researching the company and the product, I decided to try them out. 

Silverado Cold Air Intake Unboxing

I received a tracking number for my order the very next day, which came as a nice surprise since usually with other manufacturers you have to wait days before your order shows as shipped. I ordered the Elite Series Cold Air Intake System for the 2019-2020 Silverado 1500 equipped with the 5.3L V8 engine (retail $379-$399).   After a few days of checking tracking every couple of hours, the intake system arrived!  The packaging was neat and well thought out.  Everything was wrapped and protected so as not to scratch any of the parts during transit.  Upon initial inspection, the quality of this Cold Air Intake System was outstanding.  All of the welds looked neat and even.  The intake tube was coated both inside and out, and all of the rubber connectors and clamps were high quality.   I was expecting the Cold Air box to be sheet metal and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was actually thick cast metal.   The cast metal is still lightweight, but the extra thickness acts as a barrier keeping hot air out of the intake box.  They even went as far as to key the MAF port so that you can’t install the MAF sensor backwards.  All hardware was included, as well as very detailed instructions with photos. 

Silverado Cold Air Intake Install Video 

This Cold Air Intake System was very well engineered, and that showed during installation.  After skimming over the instructions to get a general sense of the task at hand, I collected my tools and began.   I only needed a few sockets, a few screwdrivers, and an allen wrench to complete the installation.  In true gearhead fashion, I installed the Cold Air Intake System in my driveway, mere feet from a nice shaded garage.  I was too eager to spend the extra 30 seconds pulling my truck inside.  Pulling off the Factory Air intake was probably the most difficult part of the entire process.  Once it was all removed, there were only a few bolts and clamps to tighten and I was done!  The fit is that of a factory setup.  Everything looks in its home and all of the components are showcased in the engine bay. 

Silverado Cold Air Intake Dyno Test/Review

Typically, a Cold Air Intake System won’t net you any performance gains without an ECM tune.  This prompted me to head straight to the Dyno and see for myself.  These trucks are still ECM locked from the factory, so any performance gains I see would surely be from the Intake System.   After establishing a baseline run of a whopping 277 horsepower to the rear wheels with the stock intake setup (and heavy 26″ wheels ), it was time to reinstall the Cold Air Inductions unit and let her rip once more!  I was surprised to see much smoother power delivery across the RPMs, especially in the higher range.  Overall I saw a gain of 5 horsepower to the wheels, and 6.5 foot pounds of torque with the peak horsepower hitting at 5300 RPM and the max torque at 4900 RPM.   All of this running on 87 octane pump gas.

The real fun with this Cold Air Intake System comes in the day to day driving.   Punch the throttle and you can hear the Intake Sucking air with force.   I’m used to hearing the engine revving as I accelerate through the RPMs, but the addition of this intake has deepened the sound drastically.   Trucks are not sporty by any means, but the more aggressive sound has me giving the throttle a little more foot than normal!    

As I am writing this I have had the Cold Air Inductions Inc. Cold Air Intake System on my truck for about a week, and around 1000 miles (I drive a lot).   The one thing I was the most pleased with was the additional gas mileage.  One of the great features of modern cars and trucks is the onboard computer systems.  I can see my average MPG over the last 50 miles, or 400 miles.   I keep a watch on the 400 mile average because it is the most accurate depiction of how I drive.  The 50 mile average is too affected by the occasional run up to 5k RPMs as well as sitting in traffic.  Only one of which I enjoy.  After a week of driving, my 400 mile average has gone up about .7 MPG.  While this is great, I’m sure it would have gone up more had I not enjoyed the throttle as much.  Rest assured, I will never know! 

In conclusion, I am very pleased with this addition to my 2019 Silverado.  The Cold Air Intake System again earned it’s spot as one of the first items that should be purchased when beginning to mod your car or truck, and Cold Air Inductions Inc. knocked it out of the park with this system.  Now it’s time to get back to the Internet and search for the next mod to my truck!