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Unlike the usual replacement brand filters that you can get in a discount store, performance air filters can be washed and reused. This is a big deal for many reasons. Designed to increase horsepower and acceleration, they can go 50,000 miles before they need to be cleaned, (just like your work boots.) What's more, performance filters come with warranties up to ten years/one million miles, and will not void out your vehicle's warranty. Finally, high performance air filters are good for the environment: Because they are reusable and last so long, most performance filters will outlast your car and will never end up in a landfill. Where can you get yourself one of these miracles of modern automotive engineering? Look for brand names like Accel, AFE, Airaird, Green Air Filter, K&N Filters, True Flow, and Volant. They offer top of the line performance filters.
Most stock air filters uses paper or foam rubber as a filtering medium. In recent years major manufacturers like K&N and Green have come out with a high-performance, permanent type filter that allows for maximum air flow and protection against contaminants. These filters are made from pleated multi-layered oil soaked surgical cotton fabric. It is claimed that the dirt that sticks to the outside does not block airflow significantly for up to 50,000 street miles. The oil barrier in effect acts as a supplemental filter medium without clogging the filter. The high performance filter uses a cotton wire mesh barrier to reduce air turbulence while allowing high volume airflow. The big thing is that these filters can be cleaned and reused, making them essentially permanent. Should you get one for your family car or SUV? The consensus seems to be not unless you are planning to run in a NASCAR race.
What does an air filter do anyway? The job of an air filter is to keep the dirt out of your engine while allowing vital air to flow into the engine. This has been the way of the auto world since the spark plug. The system works OK, in its way, but over time, of course, the dirt collected, another word for filtering, clogs up the paper (or foam) filter, reducing air flow along with your engine's performance. You get lower horsepower, torque, and throttle response. Basically imagine wearing one of those surgical masks 24/7 for months or when the hairs in your nose…uh, well, you get the idea. Some race drivers run without an air filter to maximize performance, but this is not recommended for your low-performance street vehicle. (Though it might be fun to try for a while.)
Chances are you think you know all the ways you can save money on gas: Keep your engine tuned, use the right motor oil. Keep your tires inflated properly. Those are all correct. But there is one inexpensive part on your vehicle that can, according to the Energy Department, when working properly can improve engine performance by 10%. The part of which we speak is the humble air filter. A clean one keeps air flowing to the engine, a dirty one blocks air, leading to money-wasting underperformance. With today's reusable, performance air filters you can keep the clean air flowing, preserve the environment, and save yourself some money in the bargain.
So, you want to put a high-performance re-usable filter in your vehicle. Good idea, especially if you have a high performance vehicle. If you don't, well, as they say, it couldn't hurt. These bad boys will get more air to your engine which can goose up performance. And because they're washable, they can provide filtering protection up to 250,000 miles. There are a couple of caveats about the reusable. If you do a lot of off road and other heavy-duty driving, you may need to inspect and service your vehicle more frequently. As a rule, most re-usable air filters should be inspected every six to 12 months.
Now, here's what you do to install your reusable filter:
-Raise the hood and locate the air filter compartment.
-Remove the clamps holding down the housing and set them aside.
-Pull out and inspect the filter. If you see a layer of dust build-up, it's time for a cleaning.
-Tap it against a flat surface to remove any loose debris.
- Spray both sides with air-filter cleaner and soak for at least 10 minutes.
-Rinse with tap water and air dry.
-Put a small amount of oil on each pleat and let it soak in for 20 minutes. Before you put the filter back in.
-Use the shop vac to clean any debris from the filter compartment. Make sure your hoses are in good working condition.
-Reinstall the filter (making sure it fits properly in place.)
-Replace the housing and tighten the clamps.
-Close the hood.
-Start your car.
Does everything sound and feel right? If so, you're ready to roll!