Does an Air Filter Improve Engine Performance?

Learn how an air filter can improve engine performance by increasing power and fuel efficiency.

Does an Air Filter Improve Engine Performance?

Improved power is one of the benefits of a clean air filter. When the filter is clean, more air and cleaner air can enter the engine, which improves engine performance. This can lead to an increase in engine power and higher fuel efficiency. High flow air filters don't need to be changed as often as regular filters, but they do require regular cleaning and maintenance.

A number of aftermarket manufacturers sell engine intake air filters that they claim provide better airflow and, as a result, increase a car's power and acceleration. Paper filters are usually very efficient at trapping dirt, but they have two major challenges. First, they need to be replaced regularly. Second, once the pores of the filter are clogged, air no longer flows as freely into the engine, and less air means less power and acceleration.

The EPA did not find a significant loss in fuel economy from a clogged air filter, but it did find in a test of gasoline-powered vehicles that acceleration improved with a clean air filter. Fenske tested each filter with a test bench and then measured the acceleration with a VBox to see if any data learned from the test bench translated into the real world. To protect the engine and keep it running at peak performance, the air filter must be replaced regularly. Usually this is every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. Replacing a clogged air filter can increase fuel efficiency and improve acceleration, depending on the make and model of your car.

In addition to improved power, an aftermarket air filter can also provide better filtration of the air entering the engine. This can lead to higher horsepower by about 3 to 5 HP and also increase torque. At the same time, this can lead to higher fuel efficiency. A clean air filter is designed to capture dirt and debris from the outside air, preventing them from reaching the combustion chamber and reducing the likelihood that you will receive a large repair bill. For some people, adding a high-performance air filter is not a necessity, but something worth buying simply because they are interested in modifying their vehicle. The air filter must strike a balance between trapping dirt and allowing the required volume of air to enter the engine.

In addition, some users say that oil sprayed on some of these types of filters also enters the air intake systems of engines. An air filter may not seem like an important component to regularly check and change, but it is essential to maintaining the performance of your car. When you realize that, it makes sense to regularly replace air filters.

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