Without combustion, your car would not move. Without air, specifically the oxygen in the air, there is no combustion. Your car relies on a mixture of fuel and air is injected into the cylinders, and before the 1980’s cars came with carburetor systems that allowed airflow into the fuel system freely.
In the 1980’car’s were equipped with the first fuel injection systems. Rather than rely on free-flowing air valves in the carburetor, an air intake system was introduced to force the perfect mixture of air and fuel into your engine for maximum power and mileage.
Your air intake is one of the least understood systems under the hood. Here’s a basic breakdown of how your car gets its breath of fresh air and keeps itself moving.
How Does the System Work?
There are three main parts to your air intake system, the air filter, the mass flow sensor, and the throttle body. These three pieces work in harmony to introduce air into your fuel system.
The air filter rests in between your intake funnel and the mass flow sensor. Its main job is to filter out dust and debris which can harm the inner parts of your engine. Only after air passes through the filter does it move to the mass flow sensor.
Mass Flow Sensor
This device, which sits between the filter and the throttle body, measures the mass of air entering a fuel-injected system. There are two types of mass airflow sensors in use today, a vane system, which uses a series of flaps to determine air mass, and the hot wire system, which uses air to cool an electrically charged wire, the hotter the wire, the less the mass of air.
The Throttle Body
The Throttle body controls how much air flows into the combustion chamber. There is a throttle plate inside of the housing, and the more you press the gas pedal, the more the plate opens, allowing a greater amount of air, and thus more speed.
Keeping this system in tip top shape is an important part of your regular maintenance. Not only will lack of air affect your power, but it will ruin your gas mileage if left unchecked. Check in with your local dealer to see if they are offering any service specials and keep your car breathing easy.