The Dodge Charger is one of my favorite muscle cars. It’s big, bad, and even has a pretty mean V6. With that said, there’s always room for improvement, and with Dodge discontinuing the Charger and Challenger lineup in 2023, we won’t be getting any new muscle cars.
So, if you’re looking to spice up your V6 Charger (who doesn’t?!) before speed parts get more expensive, a cold air intake is a great place to start. The OEM air box is notorious for being very restrictive due to noise regulations and it’s a big power bottleneck for future mods.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the five best cold air intakes for all Dodge Charger V6 engines. We’ll also discuss what to look for in a cold air intake and how it can improve your Charger’s performance.
The 5 Best Cold Air Intakes for Dodge Charger V6
|1. K&N 57-1564||Check Price On Amazon|
|2. R&L Racing AF Dynamic||Check Price On Amazon|
|3. K&N 57-1543||Check Price On Amazon|
|4. Rtunes Racing Cold Air Intake||Check Price On Amazon|
|5. Airaid 350-171||Check Price On Amazon|
1. K&N 57-1564 (3.6 V6 Premium Pick)
Let’s start with the 3.6 Pentastar V6. K&N really outdid themselves with their cold air intake for the 3.6 V6 and we firmly believe that this cold air intake is the best choice for that engine. The only drawback is that it’s pretty expensive, but don’t worry – we’ll cover a cheaper alternative shortly.
Now, let’s talk about the important stuff – power. The 57-1564 claims to increase airflow by 50%, and it certainly felt that way to us. After driving for a while in order for the ECU to get used to the increased airflow, we definitely felt the increase in throttle response at low RPMs. It’s quite a significant change.
We’ve also noticed a slight increase in MPG, but only by 2-3 which is to be expected from only upgrading the intake. In order to get up to 10% more HP and even better mileage, you’ll need to also replace the exhaust and get a tune.
However, the biggest reason why we think this is the best cold air intake for the 3.6 V6 is because of the sound it makes. You’ll love the loud WHOOOSH under the hood and it even changes the exhaust sound by making it more throaty.
Lastly, this cold air intake kit is really well made and even comes with a 10-year (or million-mile) limited warranty to back that up. Again, that is to be expected from K&N. The installation was a bit of a pain, but definitely worth the effort in the end.
Now, the filter element is washable, but even though K&N claims that you don’t need to clean the filter for 100,000 miles, it’s probably a good idea to clean it once a year anyway.
2. R&L Racing AF Dynamic (3.6 V6 Best Value)
If the K&N above is out of your price range, then you might be interested in the very similar-looking cold air intake from R&L Racing. It costs nearly two times less than the K&N above, yet provides pretty similar performance and sound
The R&L Racing cold air intake is designed to increase horsepower up to 10%. We didn’t dyno test it, but we believe them – it does make a difference. The increased airflow is immediately noticeable in the form of increased throttle response, just like it was with the more expensive K&N intake.
We’ve also noticed a slight bump in MPG, but nothing too significant. Just like with the K&N, in order to get the full benefit of this cold air intake, you’ll need to also upgrade the exhaust and get a tune.
The sound is also great. You’ll definitely hear the difference, especially when accelerating from a stop in sport mode. The exhaust note also changes a bit, but not as much as with the K&N.
In terms of quality, this cold air intake is washable and also pretty well made. The only drawback is that the installation can be a bit tricky, especially if you have big hands. You’ll probably have to bend the metal hangers a bit in order for everything to fit properly, but overall, it’s not a big deal.
3. K&N 57-1543 (3.5 V6 Premium Pick)
Let’s move to the 3.5 V6 that was used in the sixth-generation Chargers. Now, this engine is a bit different than the 3.6, so you can’t just use the same cold air intake. The K&N 57-1543 is specifically designed for the 3.5 V6 and it’s a great choice if you’re looking for premium quality and performance.
The K&N 57-1543 is also designed to increase airflow by 50% and provides a noticeable increase in throttle response. However, the best part is the sound. It’s absolutely fantastic and you’ll definitely hear the difference in exhaust sound as well. It makes the stock exhaust sound a bit more mellow, but with an aftermarket exhaust, you should hear a significant difference.
The quality is also great, as you would expect from K&N. It’s a bit fiddly to install, but you won’t need to bend anything or anything like that in order to make everything fit properly.
The only drawback is the price – it’s quite expensive. But, if you can afford it, we think it’s definitely worth the money as this cold air intake will easily last for another 100,000 miles and then some.
4. Rtunes Racing Cold Air Intake (3.5 V6 Best Value)
On a tight budget? No problem! You can still get a pretty decent cold air intake under $100, and so far, this one is our favorite for the 3.5 V6.
At this price, the quality of parts that came with this cold air intake seems really good. One thing that we dislike is that the heatshield does not have rubber weather stripping around the edges, which would prevent hot air under the hood from entering the intake. Though the piping is well made, the chrome finish looks cheap to us personally.
In terms of sound, it’s really good. You will hear a big difference that’s very similar to the much more expensive K&N, even at idle. The exhaust note also changes a bit, making it a bit more throaty.
With that said, we’re not too convinced about the longevity of the filter element and we doubt that it will last as long as the K&N.
5. Airaid 350-171 (2.7 V6 Premium Pick)
Last but not least, we have the 2.7 V6. Airaid is a very popular brand and their 350-171 cold air intake is one of the best options for the 2.7 V6, as it flows practically the same amount of air as the more expensive K&N. Moreover, it even fits the 3.5 V6 if K&N is not your thing.
The quality of this cold air intake kit is really good, especially for the price. Interestingly, it does not replace the stock intake pipe like other cold air intakes, which is a plus. That said, some people really like the look of an aftermarket intake pipe, so it’s really down to personal preference. If that’s the case – the K&N 57-1544 might be a better choice, though it’s more expensive.
The heat shield is also very well made and should keep most hot air from the engine bay out. As far as sound goes, the oversize filter element really transforms the intake noise of the 2.7, which is actually pretty cool. The exhaust note also changes a bit, but not as drastically as with the other cold air intakes on this list.
All in all, the Airaid 350-171 is a great cold air intake, especially for the price. It’s well made, flows plenty of air, and even sounds great.
How to Buy the Best Cold Air Intake for Your V6 Dodge Charger
Now that you’ve seen some of the best cold air intakes on the market for the 6 and 7-generation V6 Charger, let’s quickly go over everything you need to know in order to get the best one for YOU.
Price: Expensive VS Cheap Cold Air Intake
One of the biggest issues that you’ll be faced with when searching for a cold air intake is the price, or rather – known brand vs generic.
Now, times are tough right now economically, and not everybody is able to spend $400+ on an air intake. If you’re on a budget, you’ll have to make compromises.
There are a lot of cold air intakes for the V6 Charger under $100 and they are pretty well made, but they probably won’t last 100,000 miles like the ones from known brands. Furthermore, known brands usually provide a lifetime or 100,000-mile warranty for the buyer and generic brands don’t.
Since a more expensive cold air intake will last you 100,000 miles, it might be a better idea to just get the more expensive one that lasts longer rather than buy cheaper intakes every few years.
Piping Material: Plastic VS Metal VS Carbon Fiber
If you want to be really picky and get the absolute most out of your money – get a cold air intake with plastic piping or carbon fiber. While it seems counter-intuitive (plastic is flimsy), plastic is a much better insulator than metal.
The whole point of getting a cold air intake is to drop the intake air temperature, and plastic or carbon fiber is your best bet to prevent heat soak through the intake pipe. If you can find an intake with a plastic heatshield or even with a heat reflector, then even better.
Filter: Dry vs Oiled
Dry air filters are really popular because they’re so easy to use. Simply wash out the grime, let the filter dry a bit, and you’re back on the road. On the other hand, oiled filters need to be cleaned and oiled afterward, which does get messy.
But which type filters dust and other abrasive particles better? Well, dry filters catch slightly more contaminants but only by 1%.
To that end, dry filters are the best.
Frequently Asked Questions
Eddie is the co-founder of CarCareCamp.com, and the site’s primary contributor.
Under his belt, Eddie has a bachelor’s degree in Automotive Electronics Engineering and almost a decade of experience working as a semi-truck technician (specializing in electrics).