Modern cars come with 2 types of air filters:
- A engine air filter located in the air intake box under the hood near the engine, that filters air before it enters the engine.
- A cabin air filter located in the glove box in most cars, that filters air before it enters the interior of the car where the driver and passengers are seated.
Today we are going to talk about the engine air filter. Engine air filters come in many different shapes and sizes so it is important that you buy the correct fitting air filter for your make, model and year car. In the world of automotive performance you may have also heard of modified air intake systems such as short ram intake (SRI) and cold air intake (CIA) systems but in this review we will be reviewing engine air filters that directly fit or drop in into the factory location of your vehicle without any modifications to the existing factory setup.
In most cases you can replace the engine air filter in 10 – 15 minutes with minimal or no tools which makes this a easy money saving DIY project to tackle.
Engine air filters that directly fit into the stock filter location are sometimes referred to as OEM, OEM style filters, or drop in filters and are usually one of the cheapest and easiest parts to replace on your car. In most cases you can replace the engine air filter in 10 – 15 minutes with minimal or no tools which makes this a easy money saving DIY project to tackle.
All engine air filters play a vital and very important role in protecting your car’s engine by preventing harmful airborne particles such as road debris, dusts, small rocks, leaves, insects etc. from entering the car’s engine which can cause damage to the internals of your engine – this is why you should always use a filter and never allow unfiltered air to enter your engine! In my own personal experience I had found a bumble bee and even a used cigarette bud stuck on the filter element – imagine the potential damage to my engine if there was no air filter installed!
Remember that it is cheaper and easier to replace the engine air filter than it is to replace or repair the car’s engine.
A dirty air filter is a good sign that the filter is doing its job by preventing contaminates from entering the engine but as the filter becomes dirtier air flowing through the filter element will becomes more restrictive which could lead to decrease in engine performance and decrease in miles per gallon.
It is important that you replace your engine air filter periodically with a new filter according to the recommended mileage change interval published by your car’s manufacture or much sooner based on the road conditions you drive your car in. If you find that you drive your car in areas that are very dusty with lots of visible airborne debris then it is highly recommended that you replace your air filter more often than the recommend change interval. Remember that it is cheaper and easier to replace the engine air filter than it is to replace or repair the car’s engine. If you are reading this article and its been a while since you last replaced your engine air filter or you forget when you last replaced it – just replace it with a new one, its cheap insurance!
Below in no particular order or rank are some of the best brands of engine air filters you can buy for your car.
1.) DENSO First Time Fit
2.) FRAM Extra Guard
Performance drop-in air filters