Does Changing Your Air Filter Increase Horsepower? - An Expert's Perspective

Replacing your engine's air filter is a simple way to boost horsepower and, in some cases, even enhance fuel efficiency. It's always best to adhere to the vehicle manufacturer's guidelines for when to change the filter, which is usually at least once a year. But can the minor performance increases generated by aftermarket filters be seen in the real world? The answer is yes. One of the advantages of a high-flow air filter is that, unlike regular filters, it doesn't need to be changed as often. All you have to do is clean it approximately every two years.

This is because they don't clog as quickly or as easily, but they offer better airflow and better filtration of the air entering the engine. And if your engine gets more air, then it can work better. In fact, a high-flow air filter can increase its power by approximately 3 to 5 HP and also increase its torque. At the same time, this can increase fuel efficiency. How? In some of the more expensive units, the filter comes with a cold air intake unit.

It is installed to extract air from outside the car instead of the hot air used inside the engine compartment. Returning to science class, cold air is denser and therefore burns better, which improves engine performance. The numbers are small and you probably won't feel the extra power. If you've ever been to an auto parts store, you've probably seen air filter boxes that offer more power and torque than those in the factory filter. When performing routine maintenance on your vehicle, one of the most overlooked aspects is the air filter. Whether you want to increase power, fuel efficiency, or simply reduce the hassle of changing your air filter regularly, a high-flow filter can be a good option. The aftermarket filter generated more power, but Fenske wondered if, in general, it also filtered less.

While the original dirty filters and the new ones had an almost identical speed (9.01 seconds at a speed of between 20 and 100 km/h and 3.61 seconds at a speed of between 45 and 100 km/h), the aftermarket air filters improved that performance. It is much like a vacuum cleaner, when you notice a decrease in power; a dirty filter can be the cause, since the air is literally expelled at the cost of the vehicle's power. It suggests that the increase in power could be due to less filtering, especially in the case of the more economical CarQuest filter. However, since there was no way to test the filtering process, that aspect was not observed. Find out that on the test bench aftermarket filters produce more than OEM units and K&N filters produce most of the profits (around four horsepower and five pounds). One problem that has been observed is that due to increased air intake high-performance filters can expose your engine to more debris and contaminants. Air filters are one of the easiest and fastest components to exchange for a replacement part, and many companies claim that their design will increase power, torque, and improve acceleration.

What Fenske doesn't check is how well each aftermarket filter actually filters the air that enters your engine compared to what your original unit filters.

Michael Morton
Michael Morton

Devoted internet maven. Hipster-friendly web practitioner. Avid pop culture nerd. Lifelong music lover. Avid pop culture specialist.

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