What’s an air filter? And when to replace it?

What is an air filter?

The air filter is a very important component for daily operation of motor vehicles, for engine carburetion and to maximize its potential it is placed in a filtering box (also known as Air-box). Without a filter we would have increased airflow directly to the engine with subsequent imbalancing of combustion by introducing too much air in relation to fuel: a compensation would be required, a larger quantity of fuel and consequently higher fuel consumption. Other than that, an air filter stops any impurity in the air, improving the engine’s lifespan by reducing unnecessary internal wear. Additionally, an air filter helps reduce noise profile and overall engine consumptions.

What is an air filter made of?

LA filter’s composition changes based on the filter itself, but generally it is comprised of two parts:
1) A solid part, usually a casing or a structure that holds up the filtering part.
2) The abovementioned filtering part, composed of materials such as sponges, veils or fabrics.

How many kinds of filter exist?

In the field of road vehicles two kinds of filters are most common: 1) Paper filter (very common filter usually mounted by the vehicle producer). 2) Cotton or fabric filter (usually present in sporting contexts).

What can a clogged filter lead to?

A clogged air filter not only impacts the quality and quantity of air necessary for fuel combustion and therefore on the vehicle’s performance, but also the pollution rating by increasing the amount of polluting emissions. In a rare, but not too uncommon, scenario, a clogged air filter may lead to the entire engine seizing, due to the presence of intrusive elements of considerable size or located in the combustion chamber, for example. It is then beneficial to verify the filter’s status regularly and to replace it every 200000 km, or otherwise according to the component producer’s directions.

Can you clean the air filter?

While this is a commonly asked question, one must make a distinction, for there is no single answer.

NO when talking about a classic paper filter: these are not designed to be cleaned but to be replaced, so avoid attempting to clean or otherwise clear it with compressed air. Not only would performance not improve substantially, if performed poorly the operation may lead to damage to the filter and further reduction of its operating capabilities.

SI in the case of cotton filters (sport filter), in this case the filter is designed to be cleaned as its lifespan is much longer than any paper filter (can easily stretch to 80.000 km and perhaps more, with good maintenance).