Get ready for the fastest, easiest, most essential upgrade to your vehicle: a performance air filter. There’s no gimmick with a performance air filter – simple science and years of testing have combined to make the simplest way to deliver clean volumes of air to your engine.
What can a performance air filter do for my vehicle?
Adding a performance air filter results in an abundance of immediate and long-term benefits, including:
- Improved airflow to your engine
- Boosted horsepower, performance and gas mileage
- Better filtration of engine-destroying dirt
- Easy maintenance, thanks to infrequent cleaning
- Environmentally-friendly reusable materials
- It’s the last filter you’ll ever need – saves you from the expensive disposable filter circus
A guide to the improved airflow of a performance air filter
You’ve probably been living on disposable paper filters for decades. You have no idea what you and your engine have been missing.
If you have a disposable paper filter in your vehicle, every “breath” your engine takes is through that filter. With multiple layers of paper, the flow to your engine can be quite restrictive – and that’s before dirt particles plug air passages. By the time a disposable filter is near the end of its life, it could well be choking your engine.
That’s the problem performance air filter makers, such as K&N, Green Filters and True Flow, set out to solve. The first thing they replaced was the material your vehicle’s air must flow through. Performance air filters use cloth or foam filtration, which is infinitely less restrictive to airflow than multiple layers of paper. Dust and dirt hit the advanced filtration layers, but do not cut off your engine’s breathing.
It’s a simple idea. When you can breathe better, you probably feel better and perform better. The same concept applies to your vehicle. Increased airflow to your engine makes it noticeably more efficient and powerful.
The basics of power and fuel economy improvement with a performance air filter
Freeing up your airflow really unleashes your engine. The most noticeable effect is an instant 2% to 4% improvement in horsepower – a difference you can feel at the pedal and in the seat of your pants. Boosts in acceleration response and towing power are also common.
Performance air filters make this possible by creating virtually unrestricted airflow from the filter to the combustion chamber. Higher volumes of air are available for burning, creating more efficient fuel mixtures that harness more power out of every drop of gas.
The same balanced air/fuel ratios provided by the increased airflow of a performance air filter also improve your gas mileage. By getting more power out of the gas you’re burning, you in turn use less of it in driving your vehicle from point A to point B every day.
A guide to the easy maintenance of a performance air filter
Disposable air filters are usually stuffed to the gills with nasty dirt after 15,000 miles and must be tossed. In dustier conditions, such as vehicles that spend their driving lives off-road, a paper filter can choke your engine much sooner.
Compare these to a performance air filter’s maintenance schedule. All you have to do is pull the filter out, clean the dirt off and re-oil. Let it dry, put it back in the air box, and you’re ready to rock like your filter is brand new. And, your performance air filter only needs cleaning every 50,000 miles under standard driving situations; dusty climates after 30,000 miles. Compare that to paper filters you have to hassle with more than three times as often.
Every performance air filter manufacturer also has a cleaning kit for their filters, including cleaning solution and oil. It’s a good idea to pick-up the right cleaning kit along with the performance filter for your vehicle. If you have an AEM Air Filter, get an AEM Cleaning Kit. The same goes for S&B, AFE and True Flow.
Quick reference: performance air filters and improved filtration
They fit in the same spot as your stock disposable air filter, so how can a performance air filter provide cleaner air to your engine? Much of the improved filtration has to do with the materials used to make your performance filter.
Because cloth and foam air filters are more breathable, they have more places to store dirt without restricting airflow. With more air flowing through these air filters, manufacturers oil the cloth or foam material layers – an easy way to stick and trap dust particles that are trying to get by the filter. As an even bigger bonus, the trapped oiled dirt grabs other dust particles, keeping even more dirt from entering your intake tube.
A word on air filters and environmental friendliness
An overwhelming 100 million disposable paper air filters end up in US landfills or incinerators every year. If you drive a standard 12,000 miles per year, own your vehicle for 10 years, and replace your filters after the requisite 15,000 miles, you’ll end up chucking 8 filters.
Performance air filters never need to be replaced. In fact, they’ll more than likely outlive your vehicle. With regular maintenance and cleaning, your filter is good for more than 1,000,000 miles – well past the number of miles you’re likely to drive in your current vehicle.
Aside from being reusable, performance air filters employ more environmentally-friendly materials than paper filters. Disposables employ thick, bleached paper layers that originated from a felled tree with a good number of age rings. Compare that to a cloth filter, made from annually-harvested cotton that takes considerably less time to grow.
Don’t forget fuel savings! A performance air filter also does its duty by lowering your gas consumption, making for a reduction in harmful emissions that brown our sky.
The last filter your vehicle will ever need: the basics of performance air filter life
Not only will you throw away three disposable filters before you have to clean your performance filter once, but you’ll never need another air filter for your vehicle. Performance air filters can be cleaned and re-oiled to last much longer than the life of your vehicle. In fact, some of AutoAnything’s performance air filters are guaranteed for 1,000,000 miles!
So in addition to boosted power, improved gas mileage and reduced maintenance, a performance air filter saves you cash. Forget having to plunk-down for a disposable air filter the next time you hit the auto parts store or drive-thru oil change joint. End the shady debate with the shop servicing your vehicle about how dirty your filter is. A performance air filter sets the filter needs for your vehicle straight for life.
Installing your performance air filter: a quick guide
Are you ready for one of the simplest installations of a performance upgrade? Performance Air Filters fit in the exact spot where your restrictive paper filter once lived. Installation involves quick loosening or removal of your air box for cleaning. Once dry and dirt-free, fit the performance air filter in place. Cleaning makes for a tight seal between the air box and the polyurethane border. If you’re one of the proud few who has never changed their own air filter, location and directions can be found in the manual for your vehicle. From K&N to Green Filters, all the top air filter brands are a breeze to install. About 10 minutes is all it takes to transform your vehicle into a lean, mean, free-breathing machine.
A tutorial on performance air filter materials
AutoAnything’s performance air filters employ two different essential material styles for advanced filtration: multi-layer cloth materials or high-grade foam.
The more popular of the two styles, cloth air filters typically employ multiple layers – sometimes as many as seven – of cotton-gauze cloth. The highly-breathable material is contained in a specialized ridged shape by wire mesh on both sides. The mesh corrals most of the incoming dirt, while the fibrous cloth texture helps collar the rest.
The pleated material shaping offers more surface area and helps trap more dust and dirt in the ridges and crevices than a flat sheet would. When oiled properly, these filters trap massive amounts of dust without clogging.
Some of our most popular cloth air filters are K&N, AEM and S&B.
Foam filters boast extreme breathability thanks to the nature of the material. The foam itself is about 97% air, with numerous pockets for allowing airflow. These natural spaces in the material also make a great place for trapping dust. The grabbing power is enhanced by proper oiling. With the dust held in a few open holes in the foam, plenty of pockets remain for clean airflow.
For an unrestricted blast of energy-rich oxygen of a foam filter, equip your vehicle with a True Flow Air Filter.
The entire filter assembly for both cloth filters and foam filters is held together by a polyurethane molding. This compound is applied liberally for a strong cling to the filter layers and wire mesh. The border is also injection-molded for an exact, tight fit to your air box that won’t allow stray air or gunk past the filter.
Which performance air filter is right for my vehicle?
Every performance air filter that AutoAnything offers for your vehicle will fit exactly and is rigorously tested to perform great. And, any performance air filter is worlds better than your restrictive, disposable paper filter. For additional selection help, consider:
- The brand name you’re most comfortable with
- Which filter material you would prefer
- How far you want to take your air intake system upgrading
Which brand am I most comfortable with?
Performance air filters have been around for decades. Still, there’s been a surge in popularity with these essential products, thus a rise in the number of companies making them. New companies can either be an innovator or an imitator when it comes to performance filters -even disposable filter manufacturers have tried to jump into the market.
- If you’re comfortable with a particular brand of air filter in your vehicle, stick with that brand when selecting a performance air filter. Companies like K&N and S&B have been around the block a long time and have earned a reputation for excellence.
- If you like the potential of innovations and improvements, look into and select a newer brand of performance air filter. AEM, for example, is making huge strides in oil-less cotton-gauze air filters.
- For the safe choice, go with whichever brand a friend, neighbor or expert uses and recommends for your vehicle. Use others’ firsthand experiences with companies such as AFE and Green Filters to help guide your decision.
Which performance air filter material is best for my use?
Both foam and cotton/gauze filter materials provide excellent filtration and a significantly increased airflow rate. And, both cloth and foam filter manufacturers claim their filters hold more dirt than any other filter.
- If you want the most common performance filter material used on the road today, go with a cloth air filter. Everyone from Injen to Volant makes cloth air filters, so there are tons to choose from.
- When you want the filter that most closely resembles the stock filter already in your vehicle, a cloth performance air filter is the pick.
- In high-dust settings such as desert areas and off-roading, try a foam performance air filter in your vehicle. True Flow is the undisputed champion of foam filtration.
How serious are you about performance air intake upgrades?
Helping your vehicle’s power by upgrading your vehicle’s air system doesn’t stop with the filter. There are also entire air intake replacements that combine a performance air filter with a wider intake tube for faster, higher volume airflow.
- If you want the quickest possible power upgrade for your vehicle with minimal installation, pick a performance air filters.
- When a little more power sounds great for your vehicle, go for a performance air intake kit. See the AutoAnything Air Intakes Research Guide for more in-depth information.