TECH: AIR FILTERS
The most commonly purchased aftermarket air filter designs, how they’re made and how effective each filter is when it comes to balancing the rate of filtration with derestricted airflow…
The most commonly purchased aftermarket air filter designs, how they’re made and how effective each filter is when it comes to balancing the rate of filtration with high levels of derestricted airflow.
An air filter is always the first upgrade made when enthusiasts look to improve their car’s performance, but this key alteration is quickly overshadowed by more exotic modifications. This is unfair – the humble air filter is a crucial component in the quest for increased horsepower. Moreover, an engine without an air filter in place will most likely destroy itself through the inhalation of dirt and debris. In the worst-case scenario, your Vauxhall’s beating heart would shot blast itself to death from the inside out. Sheesh!
By its nature, a filter introduces a restriction of some sort, meaning that choosing the right air filter can be tricky. The key behind delivering uninhibited airflow suited to a specific application is to reach the perfect compromise between levels of filtration, airflow and intake air temperature. Additionally, the resulting air filter needs to fit in whatever space is available to accommodate it in a car’s engine bay.
As a rule of thumb, a filter with higher filtration properties will flow less air. In other words, you’ll need a larger filter to flow the same volume of air as one with lower filtration properties. The temperature of the intake air is just as important; hot air is less dense than cold air, meaning there’s more oxygen available for combustion in cold air. This is why temperature plays such an important role when it comes to induction and achieving big bhp, and why a rolling road operator has to make calculations which consider the effects of volatile ambient temperature before he or she is able to provide you with accurate power figures after your car has enjoyed a session on the dyno.
There are many types of air filter available for you to choose from. A variety of different materials can be used depending on the desired filtration rate and intended application. In this article, we take a closer look at the most popular designs, examining how each of them is made and how they work.