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What does an automotive air filter do?

What does an automotive air filter do?

Contrary to what you might think, few motorized land vehicles are without an air filter, so important is its role in keeping them running smoothly. The air filter is an essential part of your vehicle. But how does it work? Find out everything you need to know about car air filters in this article!

What is an air filter?

If we were to compare a car air filter to one of the organs of the human body, it would be the lungs.

The air filter plays a vital role in the carburetion process. It acts as an interface between the engine and the outside air, filtering out impurities. The air filter is located at the air intake of the engine.  In the case of a car, the air is filtered to be as clean as possible to allow for the best possible combustion with the gasoline once it enters the engine's combustion chamber.  There are several types of air filters. They come in different shapes (round, cylindrical, rectangular).

An air filter consists of thin strips of paper that allow air to pass through but trap particles. There are also reusable air filters.

The different types of air filter

Depending on the model of your car, you may have different air filters. There are three types of air filters:

  • The dry air filter:Generally made of cardboard or paper, this type of filter can be round or rectangular. It is enclosed in a hermetically sealed case that is sealed by contact with a foam or rubber border placed around the filter. This is the most common type of air cleaner.
  • Wet Air Filter:Made of foam, this air filter is slightly moist to help retain particles harmful to your engine. This type of filter is quite rare and few cars are equipped with it.
  • The Oil Bath Filter: This type of air filter is only used on race cars or utility vehicles and provides better air filtration. This type of air filter is only used in very specific cases.

What is a car air filter used for?

The air filter is a key component in protecting your car's engine and keeping it running smoothly. Its composition allows it to clean and regulate the flow of air ingested by the engine.

Clean the air drawn into the engine

The main function of an air filter is to clean the air that circulates in the engine's intake chamber. It removes fine particles from the air. By trapping contaminants, the air filter protects the parts inside the engine from premature wear.

It prevents debris from clogging the walls and causing engine failure. The air filter helps provide clean air to the engine by trapping large particles. Your vehicle will benefit from cleaner air, which will help extend engine life.

Regulate air flow and improve engine performance

Your vehicle's performance depends on the health of your engine. A clogged engine has difficulty drawing in the amount of air needed for combustion in the intake chamber. One way to optimize performance is to improve the supply of dust- and sand-free air.

The air filter not only regulates the flow available to the engine but also cleans it. The filtration system delivers a large amount of quality fluid to the intake chamber. Depending on its structure and the weight of the material used to make it, the filter lets in more air. The cleaner the air in your car, the better the engine will run.

Reduce CO2 emissions and save money

An engine that sucks in air filled with debris can't perform at its full potential. Dust and sand will clog the system. Air does not circulate properly in the combustion chamber. As a result, the engine uses more fuel and performs poorly because combustion does not occur normally. The use of a foam or cotton air filter facilitates combustion and prevents the production of carbon dioxide due to the presence of waste in the air.

How much does it cost to change an air filter?

The price of an air filter depends on the type of filter and the model of your car. You should expect to pay between $5 and $20 for a new paper air filter. If you have a washable air filter, the price is closer to $50 to $100.

Changing an air filter is not a very expensive operation. On average, you should expect to pay about thirty dollars for an air filter change (parts and labor).

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