Car Modifications - Air Filters

  • Mar 26, 2019

It is common knowledge that an air/fuel mixture combusts inside the engine of a car so that it can develop any kind of output. And fuel and air are both equally important in that equation. While the fuel pump is responsible for sending fuel to the engine, an air intake, usually at the front, is responsible for sending air into the engine through the throttle body. The more air an engine can suck in, the more fuel it can burn, thus making more power.

Now while the process is simple, the air entering the engine needs to be devoid of contaminants like dust and bugs, in order to not affect the engine’s health. This is where an air filters step in. It works as a barrier between the air intake opening and the throttle body to remove contaminants that might otherwise enter the engine and cause mechanical wear and oil contamination.

Air filters are usually made of pleated paper folded in a zig-zag shape and placed in a rectangular box. This is not a rule of thumb, but most mass-market cars today have such a filter in place. The advantages of these kinds of air filters are that they are relatively inexpensive, easy to replace and work well with engines that are geared more towards fuel efficiency than performance. Also, they need to be replaced at regular intervals for optimal engine performance. However, if extracting the maximum possible power out of your engine is your goal, then you should be looking at performance air filters.

Performance air filters are usually made out of cotton gauze which lets more air pass through than pleated paper. They are usually cylindrical in shape and not housed in a casing. However, performance air filters that can fit into the regular air filter box in mass market cars also exist. Apart from filtering the air, performance air filters only have one job, which is to increase the air flow to the engine.

If you are looking to swap out the stock air filter in your car for a performance air filter, know that stock mass market cars benefit very little in terms of numbers when using a performance air filter. The most noticeable change you will feel while driving the car is that the engine will rev more freely. Performance air filters work better when you are building a custom car aimed purely towards performance.


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