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How to Tell If an Air Filter Is Good Quality

Air Filter

Considering that your car’s engine needs 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of air to burn one gallon of gasoline, you need an air filter that will allow only clean air reaches its internal combustion chamber. As you drive, road debris, dust and bugs enter the air supply system of the car and if they reach the engine, they can cause abrasion and corrosion to its parts. Air filters get dirty and clogged with debris over time and you must replace them according to the manufacturer’s directions. You need to keep several factors in mind when choosing the right air filter for your car.


An efficient air filter is one that can keep the maximum of contaminants out of the engine. And, its efficiency is measured by way of the procedure, ISO 5011. Some air filters manufacturers also use the Coarse Test Dust that is capable to measuring particles from less than 5.5 microns to 176 microns. Thus, you need a high-grade air filter that can remove 95% to 98.5% of the particles at the time of installation. As the air filter functions and removes debris, it can develop an efficiency of more than 99%. However, any more than this level can also result in air restriction or an inadequate air supply to your engine.


Air filters include media or membranes made of cotton, paper, synthetics, foam and other materials that hold the road debris. The air filter’s capacity is the amount of debris its media can hold before it begins to restrict the supply of air to the engine. High-grade air filters can hold larger amounts of debris and thus need replacing after longer intervals or about 50,000 miles. However, these intervals also depend on the conditions in which you typically drive. If you travel along dusty roads frequently, you might need to replace the air filter more often. Have you mechanic check the air filter at every 15,000 miles in the case of a performance air filter or 6,000 miles for the standard air filter. As an added precaution, have it checked at every car maintenance.

Air restriction

A good quality air filter will ensure that your engine receives an adequate supply of air to function optimally. This is why; you must look for an air filter that has media with a large surface area so it is more effective in holding back debris, but also allows air to pass.

Air restriction gauges

Some air filters come with air restriction gauges. These gauges are installed inside the engine compartment or in the car cabin. They monitor the flow of air released by the air filter and alert you when it needs cleaning or replacing.

Sealing gaskets

Make sure the air filter has sealing gaskets attached to steel end caps. On installation in the housing, the gasket presses and attaches against the flat surfaces effectively sealing it securely. As a result, minute dust particles are unable to escape the air filter and reach the engine.

Keep in mind

  • Higher quality air filters can cost you more, but they will need replacing less often and can protect your engine better.

  • Let the air filter salesperson know the make, model and manufacturing year of your car. This will make choosing the appropriate air filter easier so that fits perfectly in the housing. If the new air filter does not fit perfectly, it may prove to be ineffective.

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

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