The main task of air filters is to protect the engine against pollution sucked in along with the air. From their proper operation depends not only on the trouble-free operation of the power unit, but also its durability and, consequently, its service life. It is therefore worth considering which air filter will be most suitable for the engine of our car.
With (close) 100 percent isolation
The most important element of the air filter is its contribution in the form of filter paper soaked in resins (sometimes multilayer materials or synthetic nonwovens are also used). For economic reasons, paper is most often used, although it has the smallest capacity to absorb dirt, within 190-220 g / sq m (for example, multilayer material – 230-250 g / sq m, and non-woven fabric 900-1100 g / sq m). The filter paper used in air filters has a thickness of 0.4 to 1.2 mm, with a grammage ranging between 110 and 200 g / sq m. To increase the filter surface, the material is pleated. Pleats should be evenly distributed – stuck or folded may contribute to clogging of the air filter. Modern air filters are expected to have a very high degree of dirt separation – up to 99.8 percent. In addition, they must also have high efficiency, i.e. absorb large amounts of contaminants, with relatively long intervals between subsequent filter cartridge changes.
Important gaskets and reinforcements
Another important element included in the air filters is the gasket. Most often it is made of polyurethane, thanks to which it provides a very good fit to the shape of the filter housing, and at the same time prevents unfiltered air from entering. In addition, seals must retain their properties in different temperature ranges and at the same time be resistant to chemical agents. Various types of reinforcements are used for the correct operation of air filters. The main thing is that the filters do not deform during their operation. The design of the filters can be reinforced using glue or by using a metal mesh. Reinforcements distinguish good quality filters, in the cheapest available on the market they usually do not occur.
Damping and folding
Also, the filter housings may differ. In the most advanced constructions they contain special resonators that are designed to reduce noise levels. The housing of the filter cartridge itself is also important because the efficiency of the air filtering process depends on the accuracy of its adhesion to the filter housing. Air filters should be replaced periodically as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Prolonged driving with a clogged filter can result in higher fuel consumption due to the wrong proportions of the air-fuel mixture. A clogged filter is also responsible for accelerated engine wear: unfiltered contaminants get into the power unit with the air.
How to exchange?
Replacing the air filter is a relatively simple operation and can be done by virtually anyone. Remember to clean the housing thoroughly after removing the used cartridge. Then install a new cartridge, paying special attention to maintaining its correct position: the point is to prevent unfiltered air from entering the interior. The crankcase breather filter should also be replaced periodically, if used in your car. And finally one practical remark. Experts advise against “cleaning” the filter element with compressed air. This procedure performed in some workshops is aimed at extending its use instead of replacing. In most cases, however, the effect is opposite to what was expected: compressed air destroys the pleats of the filter insert, which results in a significant deterioration of its filtration properties.