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Metal Versus Composite Intake Tubing

One of the most distinguishing factors between different air intake systems is the material used to construct the intake tube. The two common materials used to craft these tubes are composite plastic and metal (aluminum or steel). Choosing the right air intake system for your ride is easy, once armed with a little knowledge of the advantages of each material.

Metal

K&N 77 Series Air Intake
K&N 77 Series Air Intake
K&N Blackhawk Induction Air Intake
K&N Blackhawk Induction Air Intake
Spectre Cold Air Intake
Spectre Cold Air Intake

Composite

Composite intake tubes are usually made with a high-density polyethylene plastic. While plastic can sound like a bad word when it comes to auto parts, thermoplastic polyethylene combines lightweight flexibility with outstanding durability. In fact, it can even be found in certain bulletproof vests. This composite material is more than capable of withstanding conditions under the hood of your vehicle.

From a performance standpoint, there are a couple of advantages that composite has over metal. First, composite material doesn’t retain heat the way metal does, meaning your plastic tubing doesn’t run as much risk of heating up the air entering your engine. Second, the composite molding process allows for precisely engineered bends, moreso than can be found on a metal intake. This allows the air to flow more freely to the intake manifold, slightly improving power over a metal tube.

aFe Magnum Force Stage 2
aFe Magnum Force Stage 2
K&N 63 Series AirCharger
K&N 63 Series AirCharger
S&B Cold Air Intake
S&B Cold Air Intake

If you have questions about air intake systems, chat or give our product experts a call. We're here for you, from guaranteed fitment to install assistance and resources like our blog to answer your questions. We're here for you.