What Is The Purpose Of Air Filters
Although many of us forget to change our air filters, they play a very important role in ensuring our engines run smoothly.
The main purpose of air filters in cars is to keep dirty air from making its way into the engine.
Performance air filters for cars do a better job of filtering the air that goes into the engine. Imagine running your car without an air filter.
This allows a whole manner of dirt and dust to flow to the engine, this will prove costly in the long run. The dirt particles can cause damage to the engine.
Pistons as well as piston rings would need to be replaced because of the wear and tear caused by allowing dirt to flow through to the engine.
It can be expensive to carry out this work especially if you cannot do the work yourself. It is therefore a good idea and cost effective to ensure that your air filter is fit for its purpose.
There are different types of air filters that you find being used in cars. The most commonly used are the affordable paper air filters, cleanable gauze filters and also the protective form filters.
The cleaner the air that flows through the engine the better the performance of the vehicle
Performance Air Filters
Most people run their vehicles on standard factory air filters. However, you might choose to replace the standard factory air filter with a performance air filter to improve your car’s power output and performance.
In theory performance air filters for cars are designed to increase your car’s horse power and acceleration. If the filter is less restrictive in terms of air flowing through it.
The engine does not have to work as hard to pull air in, this results in the engine making more power because it is operating more efficiently.
If the performance filter is designed to bring more air into the engine, the engine’s sensors will detect that there is more air going through to the engine. When the airflow to the engine increases more fuel is injected resulting in more power.
What Materials Are Air Filters Made Out Of
Most original standard factory air filters are paper made up of pleated wood pulp bonded together. They are cheap and they do the job but they get clogged up very quickly and will need replacing regularly to be at their most efficient.
One of the most popular material used in after market filters is cotton gauze. These filters are often oiled so that any dirt passing through the filter gets stuck in the oil. These types of filters never need replacing, they just require cleaning and re-oiling
Another option is foam, these do not filter quite as good as paper or cotton but the difference is so minimal that you probably won’t notice. It can get clogged up easier than paper or cotton.
One of the least popular options are metal filters. They consist of very tightly wooven stainless steel mash and they do not require oiling. They do not have the same filtering qualities as the other materials due to the mash not being able to catch fine particles of dirt.
At the end of the day it is really down to your individual preference and what is available for your car.
Cleaning Your Air Filter
Some people will choose to clean their air filter instead of replacing it with a new one. If you are running the factory paper filter, I would recommend that you replace your old filter with a new filter instead of cleaning it. Paper filters are very cheap to buy, so you might as well buy a new one.
The reason for my suggestion to replace with a new filter is that when you clean your old air filter, you are never going to be able to clean off all the dirt particles clogging your filter.
The effect of the dirt particles stuck on the filters after cleaning is that your cleaned air filter is a bit more restrictive than the brand new one in terms of the air flowing through the filter to the engine.
If you are running the more expensive brands of after market performance filters like K&N, Simota, Pipercross and so forth. The manufacturers themselves recommend you clean your filter.
These types of filters are marketed as washable and reusable. It would not be cost effective to replace these expensive filters overtime you service your car unless of course if money is not an issue.
Over these years of washing and reusing these filters, the same problem arises. You can never clean off all the dirt particles clogging your filter. The filter’s ability to let air through it will reduce over time. This results in the filter allowing less air to flow into the engine compared to when it was new.
Some of these after market performance filters have been oiled. Some people have reported problems with their mass airflow sensors caused by some oil seeping through the filter to the mass air flow sensor.
Does It Really Matter Which One You Use
The original standard factory air filters will do a good job of cleaning the air that makes its way to your engine. Your car will run very well as long as you regularly change your air filter.
I recommend you get your air filter changed with every car service. In my humble opinion you do not really need to swap your factory filter for a performance filter.
The gains in horse power and performance are very little if any at all. Having said that, why is that a lot of people still run performance air filters on their cars despite the evidence that shows that they do not give you too much gains in terms of power.
I have come to the conclusion that people who choose to run performance air filters do so because they look cool in the engine bay and mostly they sound really good and they last longer than the standard factory paper filters.