If you have been shopping for an air filter replacement for your vehicle, you may have run across some that offer improved performance and others that offer more affordable price tags. What is the real difference between the different types of air filters? Is one better than another?
The 3 most common filter elements you will find at your local parts store are:
Let's check how each performs in your car and which one will work best for your vehicle.
Paper: For Affordable and Reliable Performance
The engine or cabin air filter that came with your car is most likely a paper filter. Since your filter should be changed every 12,000 to 30,000 miles, it is made to be as affordable as possible. The woven wood pulp provides good airflow while reducing the amount of dust and debris that can get into your engine and gum up the works.
Paper auto filters are relatively inexpensive and made to be thrown out after each use.
Reuse a Gauze or Cotton Filter to Save Money on the Long Haul
If you are a do-it-yourself person, perhaps you would like to save a few extra dollars and work to protect the environment. Some cotton or gauze auto air filter replacements are designed to be cleaned, oiled, and reinstalled every 5,000 miles. High-mileage vehicles like long-haul trucks or ones that work in a dusty environment benefit from using the cotton filters since you can keep reusing them until the element becomes worn out or damaged. In performance vehicle applications, the air filter is designed to be cleaned and then coated with a special oil that increases the filter's ability to capture more debris.
A cotton filter will cost about twice the price as the paper filter, but the buyer will make that back after the first few times the filter is cleaned and reused. Better yet, this type of filter could last the lifetime of your vehicle with proper maintenance. That's up to 150,000 miles!
Foam Adds Extra Protection in Dusty Environments
Finally, you may find a foam filter or filter wrap in the automotive filter replacement section of your local parts store. These are the least popular kind of filter as the foam doesn't offer the same trapping ability as paper, and it can restrict airflow. Foam is also the least environmentally friendly type of element. You will often find foam filters on farm and lawn equipment. In many of these applications, the foam portion is coated with a special oil that increases the filter's ability to remove debris. If you live in a very dusty area, your service center may suggest adding a foam filter wrap to your standard paper filter to help reduce the amount of debris in your engine.
If you're not conscious about your air filter, you could run into some pretty nasty problems. If the filter is exceptionally dirty, your engine has to work harder than it should to pull the same amount of air through the filter. When it's working that hard, it might even force some particulates through or around the filter, which can cause damage to your engine. You also run the risk of lowering your fuel economy. If you notice that you have a higher RPM than normal, or a harder time accelerating, it's probably time to replace or clean the filter.
It's possible that your air filter just needs a good cleaning, so before you buy a new one, take a look at your existing air filter. If it doesn't look too bad, you can use an air compressor with an air hose attachment to blow away the dust and debris. If it is a cotton or gauze filter, you need to follow the special instructions on your air filter cleaning kit for cleaning and re-oiling. If it looks pretty gnarly, go through the following steps to replace it with a new one.
Buy the filter. You can order your new filter online or go to an auto parts store to make your purchase. Make sure to look up your car's make, model, and engine size either online or in your owner's manual before you buy anything, though. The same car can come with different engine sizes, so you don't want to buy the wrong size air filter for your particular engine.
Look under the hood. You should see a fairly large box that has at least one large hose coming out of it. The filter box is pretty easy to access in most vehicles, but some of the fancier/newer models have this box down underneath other hoses and electrical wiring. If you're not confident that you can put everything back the way you found it, make sure to go to your trusted mechanic instead of doing it yourself.
Remove and replace. This is probably the easiest step. Open the air filter box, remove the old filter, replace it with the new one, and close the air filter box. Be careful not to unplug any wiring or hoses while you do this.
Keeping your air filter in proper working order isn't difficult. Just make sure to be vigilant about it to keep your car in tip-top shape. Xinji Hongye Filter Paper Co., Ltd. was established in 1990. Mainly produce automotive air filter paper, fuel filter paper, oil filter paper, industrial dust filter paper.
We have accumulated experience promoting technological innovation in the production process to become one of China's leading filter paper suppliers.