Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Buy a Good Quality Air Filter

airfilter gq

The air filter is a vital component of the car’s engine and fuel system. Without it, dust, debris, and other particles would make their way through the fuel system and eventually ruin the engine.

The air filter is typically located up at the front of the engine compartment, inside the cold air collector box, it shouldn’t be hard to find. Some cars, like those with carburetors, have a permanent filter which should be cleaned according to the owner’s manual.

Not all air filters are created equal. You want a durable filter that won’t need to be cleaned or changed too often, but on the other hand this is one of the more affordable parts to change out so there’s no need to go totally overboard unless you’re looking for a performance level filter.

How to make sure you’re getting a good quality air filter:

  • Decide between paper, foam, or cloth.

    • Paper - is affordable, and is the kind of air filter your car likely came with right off the assembly line. They are made of sturdy, industrial paper, folded in an accordion pattern in order to best trap dirt and debris. They are cheap but need to be replaced frequently.
    • Foam - specifically polyurethane foam filters soaked in oil are used in off-road vehicles because they’re very effective. They are reusable and sturdy but eventually break down and can clog up the engine.
    • Cloth – usually cotton, is also soaked in oil for use in air filters, and they increase the air intake in race car engines. They’re pricey though because they’re considered to be a performance upgrade.
  • Choose aftermarket or OEM. This is one part that doesn’t carry a huge financial risk when choosing one over the other. Aftermarket filters offer a wide variety of options, which means you can customize your performance preferences. And although aftermarket parts can bring a car’s value down, in the case of air filters it’s an easy thing to switch to OEM when you prepare to sell your vehicle.

  • Choose a brand. The better-known brands are a safer bet when it comes to filters. Do your research and pick one that has a good reputation.

Changing your car’s air filter is, in most cases, a simple, affordable, straight-forward process that can be accomplished by even the most inexperienced car owner.

YourMechanic supplies top-quality air filters to our certified mobile technicians. We can also install a air filter that you've purchased. Click here to get a quote and more information on air filter replacement..

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...


Related questions

Q: How can I fix a ticking noise coming from the engine to my Pontiac torrent 2009?

Hi there. The noise you are hearing is the lifters in the engine are not pressurizing up or stuck in the down position. Check the oil level on the engine and see if the level is low. If the fluid...

Q: Grinding sounds when driving over a speed bump

Hey there, thanks for writing in about your 2000 Plymouth Voyager. There is a technical service bulletin to check the sway bar links connected to the front struts. The joints start to bind and can cause squeaks, grunts, and groans...

Q: I'm looking to buy an 01 cobra but the guy selling it says there is a lifter problem. How serious is this and should I buy?

The lifter is not too much of a problem, but it could be costly to replace if you are having a technician replace it. You can try changing the engine oil and filter and running a oil treatment in the...