Best Automotive Air Filters

January 27, 2012

When choosing an automotive air filter most people have one of two things on their mind; increasing the level or performance or durability that their air filter provides, or making sure that the air filter they install follows the exact OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specifications. For both types of driver, it's a good idea to do a comparison between different types of filters that are currently available on the market.

Performance Filters

Performance filters are designed specifically to increase airflow over the stock air filter. This increases the amount of air that the engine can pull in at any one time, which helps the car perform better. K&N is the most well-known brand of performance air filters. K&N offers a comprehensive line of air filters and intake accessories for a wide variety of automobiles. They are known for having the utmost quality and reliability. It's very likely that you can find a performance filter manufactured by K&N that will fit your specific vehicle make and model.

Another common brand of performance air filters is the "Air Hog" line manufactured by Fram. Air Hog filters haven't been around as long as K&N, and they may not be as easy to find in your specific application. However they have received excellent marks in quality and reliability. In addition, they are manufactured by Fram, who is an established manufacturer of quality air filters. These days it's easy to find plenty of off brand air filters as well. It's probably a better decision to go with a reputable manufacturer like K&N or Fram; your filter is protecting your engine from damage, and you don't want to trust that to just any product.

Another plus of this type of filter is that they are made to be washed and re-used several times; which means that you don't have to keep buying new ones, and saves disposable filters from ending up in landfills. When using a reusable filter, make sure that you check and clean your filter on the same schedule that would apply for filter replacement. Look in your owner's manual to find out how often this needs to be done. The two biggest downsides of this type of filter is their cost and the fact that they could interfere with your manufacturer's warranty if they require modifications to install. They will hit your wallet for several times the amount it would cost you to buy a standard air filter.

OEM Replacement Filters

Most consumers will opt for the simple option of using an filter that directly replaces the one their vehicle came with originally. The good news is that the requirements put on OEM replacement filters are much more stringent than those put on performance filters. That means that virtually any filter that is sold as an OEM replacement has to follow specific guidelines. Some well known and reliable brands are Fram are Bosch, but any filter offered as an OEM replacement in a reputable auto repair store is required to meet the specifications put out by your car's manufacturer.  


Related Questions and Answers

What are Common Things to Encounter when Cleaning a Car Air Filter?

When you are cleaning your car air filter, here are a few tips to remember. Clean your air filter every 5,000 miles or so. But ensure that you are using a reusable filter, as paper filters are meant to be discarded. The foremost sign of a dirty car filter is higher gas consumption on your car. The car also appears sluggish and the exhaust pipe darkens very fast. On starting your car, you can smell fuel inside the car. Do not clean your filter more than 25 times, as the cotton fibers in the filters usually give out by 1,000,000 miles. Cleaning the filter will not work now.

Is a K&N Air Filter Cleaner Required to Clean a K&N Air Filter?

As a precaution, it's always best to use matched K&N air filter cleaner accessories on your air filters. This ensures that your filter lasts longer and works better too. Most of the branded products from K&N are made of special non-detergent based products that will not harm the filter. Additionally, you should not use petroleum based products that will harm the filter. Although you can use ordinary detergent to clean the filter, it should be completely rinsed out. This is very difficult to do and leaving detergent inside the filter can damage it. After drying the filter, remember to re-oil it well.

How much do Performance Car Air Filters Boost Horsepower?

Performance car air filters are specially made for high horsepower cars. Ordinary air filters have twists and turns that can filter air better, but performance filters reduce this restriction of air flow. Increased oxygen means better combustion and more energy. Most of these high performance filters can be really expensive, but they are worth the improved performance. Improved air flow through the car in the form of polished intake manifolds and bigger air filters can really speed up your car. Most air filters are accepted in every state, but check before installation.

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