The car air filter is the part of the engine that helps protect it from infiltration – it’s a bit like your vehicle’s lungs. So if your pipe is clogged, the air circulating in your engine will be insufficient in volume or poor quality, thus preventing fuel combustion in good conditions… How does it work and what engine filtration solution should you pick ?
How important is having a clean air filter?
Modern combustion engines operate with a balanced mixture of air and fuel to achieve optimum combustion levels. Unfortunately, when certain operating conditions are not met, a clogged engine air filter can quickly hamper this perfect combination, at least enough to cause the check engine light to come on. At this point, you will need to replace your car’s air filter.
The different types of air filters
There are three categories of air filter:
- Dry air filters
The dry air filter is the most common type of filter. Its size depends on the amount of particles it can collect. It can be square or paneled, and is made from embossed parchment. To choose the correct air filter for your model of car, you can visit Hifi Filter Brand Catalog !
- Wet air filters
This type of air filter has numerous features but its main advantage is that you can reuse it after washing. It is said to be “wet” because its part in the foam filter is soaked in oil.
- Oil bath filters
Oil bath filters (1) use cotton gauze air filters soaked in oil over a mesh and were once the dominant filter on the market. These filters were very effective when most roads were dirt, but they could be messy to clean.
Paper air filters
Paper filters have a short life and need to be replaced regularly every 30,000 km (2). Of course, it depends on your riding conditions, especially if you frequently drive in a sandy, constantly dusty place or a polluted city center. If the car air filter is too old, it will eventually tear if misused, which is very bad for your engine.
Professionals, such as dealerships, garages, or auto centers, may instruct you to remove the air filter during periodic maintenance, especially if it is due every two years. In addition to the oil change, they sell the air filter as part of a “service kit”.
High-performance washable cotton air filters
There are also alternatives, which are washable filters (3): these so-called high-quality and high-performance air filters allow better air passage, excellent filtration and therefore increased fuel flow in the engine.
These filters are washable and can be reused, so their lifespan is almost infinite. From time to time, all you have to do is remove them, sprinkle them with water, let them dry and re-impregnate them with an oil that helps them regain their full effectiveness.
Not only can you keep the same air filter for the life of your car at about four times the cost of a paper air filter, they also ensure optimum engine efficiency.