Mechanically Speaking: Proper air filter vital to vehicle’s performance

"The air filter for your engine is just as important as the oil filter."

The air filter for your engine is just as important as the oil filter.

If you get your vehicle serviced frequently at the quick lube places you probably have bought quite a few of them.

The power that your engine produces requires 15 pounds  of air for every one pound of fuel it ingests. If you can imagine 15 pounds of air you get the picture. That air filter has its work cut out for it.

The air filter has to remove airborne particles that vary in size all the while letting particle free air easily pass into the engine. Air filters are rated by efficiency and life not by the micron size of particles that pass through them.

The standard rating system for automotive air filters requires a standard test dust comprised of particles from 0 to 80 microns to be fed at a concentration of  one gram of dust per cubic metre through the filter media.

When the filter starts to restrict the dust flow causing a significant pressure drop across the filter the test is stopped. The filter has reached its end of life. At this point the filter is weighed.

The weight of the filter determines how much of the test dust was collected in the filter before it became too restrictive. This weight gain determines the filter’s capacity. An absolute filter downstream of the test filter (it collects all the leftover particles) is also weighed. The increase of weight in the test filter versus the weight increase of the absolute filter is the measure of the filter’s efficiency.

The point here is a good filter has to catch as much dirt as possible without letting any bits through all the while not restricting flow.

I have removed and installed a lot of air filters in my time. Do not underestimate the importance of how the air filter fits into its container (the air box).

The filter must seal properly in the box so that there is no way the incoming air can bypass the filter media.

That is many times what separates a good filter from a bad one. It is also the responsibility of the installer to install the filter properly. We find many air boxes that are distorted from poor design or poor installation and removal practices.

What happens when dirt get in your engine? Basically, the dirt will scratch the cylinder walls and wear them out prematurely. Your engine will die a premature death.

Air filters are more often sold on how easily air flows through them and any performance improvements that can come from using them.

The most common versions are cotton filters that you spray  oil on to catch the dirt. On modern fuel injected engines that use mass air flow sensors to measure incoming air, too much oil sprayed on the filter media can cause problems.

As the air flows through an over oiled filter it pulls an oil mist from the filter and deposits on the mass air flow sensor that can result in performance issues.

Air filter choice therefore requires high efficiency, high capacity and excellent fit.

After the product is chosen a proper installation is mandatory.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. E-mail: nutechauto@telus.net

Just Posted

Acid tainted vehicles from Trail spills, held for evidence

Contaminated vehicles are evidence in ICBC’s lawsuit against “negligent parties”

Kootenay Boundary swears in 7 new directors

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary swears in 7 new directors and 6 returning directors

More Kootenay-Columbia students for a third straight year

Enrolment across School District 20 is up 175 students since 2016

Stolen vintage motorcyle returned undamaged in Nakusp

The thieves were unable to start the antique racer and abandoned it in a vacant Nakusp garage

Trail Smoke Eaters grind out win over Vernon Vipers

Trail Smoke Eaters Kent Johnson scored the game winner in a 3-2 victory over the Vernon Vipers

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

Ottawa committed $50 million over five years for local journalism in ‘underserved communities’ last budget

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Woman searching for father last seen in Nelson in 1999

Johnson’s daughter, Chandra Machin, is searching for her father

Ottawa apologizes to Japanese family in B.C. after chopping historic cherry trees

Plaque installed in Prince Rupert to honour the memory of Shotaro Shimizu

Two B.C. police officers, held in Cuba for months, cleared of sex assault allegations

Port Moody Const. Jordan Long and Vancouver Const. Mark Simms have been in Cuba since March

Sunrise ceremony at B.C. legislature honours Louis Riel

Nov. 16 marks the 133rd anniversary of the Métis leader’s death

California wildfire death toll hits 63

Sheriff says hundreds still missing in nation’s deadliest wildfire

Harsh storms have nearly tripled power outages in last five years, BC Hydro says

More frequent and severe storms have damaged Hydro’s electrical systems since 2013

Most Read