Air filters – What are they and what do they do in your car?
They help keep your engine clean
Air filters are needed to keep your engine from turning into a choked-up mess of dirt and contaminants.
To produce power, an internal combustion engine needs a spark, fuel and oxygen.
The oxygen comes from the air that the engine breathes in.
Without an air filter, your engine would suck in very dirty air.
Imagine if your nose and lungs didn’t have those tiny hairs to filter out germs, viruses and other nasties.
You’d be sick almost all the time.
My filter looks clean – can I skip replacing it?
Unless you’re an expert with access to an electron microscope, we advise you to replace your air filter according to your manufacturer’s recommended intervals.
A clogged filter makes it harder for your engine to breathe.
That means a filthier and less efficient motor that consumes more fuel.
Should I use a third-party air filter?
Like oil filters, it is best to use the one made for your car by its manufacturer.
OEM filters are specifically designed to suit your car. Don’t risk your car’s health by choosing cheaper alternatives.
What about aftermarket air filters that boost performance?
Aftermarket filters can help engines produce more power by improving their breathing.
They allow your engine to take in more air, thereby providing an improvement in performance.
Decent brands will be able to accomplish this without compromising filtration standards.
Most aftermarket filters are also “washable” – they can be cleaned with special oils and re-used instead of replaced.
However, unless you have a good and trusted mechanic that can advise you on these matters, stick to your OEM filter.
As some drivers can attest, modifying your car can become a costly endeavour once you start!