Pros and Cons of a High Flow Air Filter

January 27, 2012

If you are tired of changing your air filter it is time you invest in a high flow air filter. When performing routine maintenance on your vehicle, one of the most overlooked aspects is that of the air filter. To keep your car performing well, something as small as the air filter can actually make an impact. They should be changed yearly, whether they look dirty or not. When your air filter is clogged then your vehicle suffocates, in a sense. It's much like a vacuum, when decreased power is noticed; a dirty filter may be the cause because air is literally being pushed through at the price of power from your vehicle. Simple solution, buy a new air filter every year, right? Not necessarily. There are high flow, sometimes called high performance air filters that may be right for you.

One of the benefits of a high flow air filter is that, unlike regular filters, you don't have to change it every year. All you have to do is clean it about every two years or so. This is because they don't get clogged as quickly or as easily, yet they offer better air flow and better filtration of the air going into your engine. And if your engine is getting more air, then it can perform better. In fact, a high flow air filter can actually increase your horsepower by about 3 to 5 HP and increase your torque as well. At the same time, this can lead to increased fuel efficiency. How? In some of the more expensive units, the filter comes with a cold air intake unit. This is installed to pull air from the outside of the car instead of the hot used air inside the engine bay. Going back to science class, cold air is more dense and will therefore burn better, hence improving the performance of your engine.

However, don't think that a high performance air filter has no bad to it. There are problems that can arise from installing one of these. Do note that these are not guaranteed to happen, but it is a possibility. One problem that has been noted is that because of the increased air intake, high performance filters can actually expose your engine to more debris and contaminants. It can also increase the amount of dirt and dust in your oil and put more wear on the internal elements.

Another problem that has been noticed, especially with cold air intakes, is that water from the road (accompanied by mud and other forms of dirt) can splash up and soak your filter and/or introduce water to your engine. There are ways to avoid this, however, such as by buying a hydroshield and making sure to not drive through roads with high water. Although, it is to be noted that you do pay for quality with these filters. The better the quality you buy, the less you risk any harm to your engine.

Whether you want to increase your horsepower, your fuel efficiency or just reduce the hassle of regularly changing your air filter, a high flow filter may be a good choice. You would have to weigh the pros and cons against how much you are willing to pay for a quality filter.