Most people don’t think about their car’s air filter all that often, and most of them need to be reminded by their mechanic that it actually exists and it plays a crucial role in their engine’s performance. Did you know that changing or cleaning your air filter can prolong your vehicle’s engine life and improve fuel efficiency? That’s right – the job of the air filter, after all, is to filter the air that enters the engine, and the cleaner the air that enters the engine is – the more efficiently the engine will burn the fuel. Outside air is full of dust and debris, and if those particles make it to the engine, that may cause problems.
Air filters are typically fitted inside a black box (or metal housing in older vehicles), so they’re quite easy to neglect and forget about. Even when there are some issues with the engine and the service engine light goes off, the air filter is usually not the first thing that pops into your mind. However, it’s one of the most affordable car parts that can show significant improvements in your engine’s performance, so it’s always worth checking out whether the air filter is the problem or not. Buying a brand new air filter won’t break your bank, and you can probably even afford high-flow or washable air filters.
Washable air filters are generally slightly more expensive than disposable air filters, but you can clean them up a couple of times before you have to get rid of them. Some will last you for several years before you’ll actually need a new filter, which makes them a well worthy long-term investment. You can usually find model and make specific air filters, but there are also universal types that you need to make sure will fit your car before you buy them. In fact, you should ensure even whether the model and make specific air filters will fit your car, especially if you’ve done any aftermarket modifications to it.
Air filters are typically made of paper or foam. Paper filters are the most popular type, simply because they’re very efficient, cost-effective, and easy to maintain. People get confused by the term “paper” and they generally assume it’s the same type of paper used for packaging or writing – but that’s not the case. Foam filters are another popular type, especially oil-wetted foam filter. Depending on the quality and the thickness of the foam, these filters offer minimal air restrictions and high dirt capacity, which makes them popular among off-roaders who ride their rigs in dusty terrains.