What Is An Air Intake Resonator?

Your air intake resonator reduces the noise from your engine and increases your car’s horsepower and RPMs.
Written by Patrick Price
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
An engine air intake resonator is a critical component in your car’s intake system. It reduces air pressure in your engine, improves RPMs, and muffles the noise caused by your engine. 
A lot of people believe that the air intake resonator’s only purpose is to reduce the noise made by your car while it’s running. While this is one function of the resonator, it’s far from its only purpose. 
Here to explain what an air intake resonator is, what it does, and how it works is
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What is an air intake resonator?

In the simplest terms, an air intake resonator or “air intake resonator box” is a chamber or opening built into a car’s intake pipe. Essentially, it's not much more than a wide spot along the intake pipe that creates an opening or expansion chamber to reduce the air pressure in the engine.
Car resonators come in two typesin-line resonators and side-branch resonators. In-line resonators are part of the main track of intake piping, and they look like a sudden bulge or bellying of the pipe. Side-branch resonators, by contrast, are slight divergences in the main track of the intake pipe. 
The two types of resonators may look a bit different, but their functions are exactly the same

What does an air intake resonator do?

An air intake resonator’s box is meant to reduce pressure wave harmonics in your engine. While that may seem like a lot of industry lingo, it’s actually very simple. 
Basically, when air enters through your cylinder head’s intake port, excess air is let loose to bounce back and forth through your car’s internal systems. This creates sound waves called harmonics. These waves put pressure on various engine components, reduce RPMs, and inhibit your horsepower.
The air intake resonator serves to ensure that your car’s engine still works at capacity. It gives those pressure waves a place to expand and partially dissipate, resulting in a quieter, but significantly more powerful, engine. 
A lot of car owners assume that the resonator reduces horsepower and acts as a muffling tool, but as explained above, it actually does the opposite. While it does make the car quieter, it actually maximizes the horsepower and efficiency of your vehicle. 

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No—that’s a common misconception. Actually, the opposite is true. The air intake manifold improves your horsepower by reducing pressure on your engine and increasing RPMs.
No—removing your air intake manifold would cause numerous performance issues and drastically reduce your horsepower.
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