Universal Air Induction Filters

September 30th, 2013

An air induction filter, or air filter, is a device made up of fibrous materials, used to bring in cool air from outside the engine whilst preventing any particulates from gaining access to the cylinders of an internal combustion engine. This particulate matter can cause oil contamination and mechanical wear, so keeping it to a minimum is the goal.

Other benefits realized from an air intake system are improved engine sound, improved torque (from 20 to 70 ft. pounds), and improved horsepower (in the 5-to-20 hp range).

The cooler air that is brought in by the air intake kit is denser than the air already in the engine compartment, and this usually has more oxygen than the warmer air. The result is better combustion because there is a better air:fuel mixture for combustion.

Initially, air intake kits were sold only for performance applications but with the rise in gas prices, everyone wants to save some money on gas. Because air induction systems work to improve combustion, less fuel is used. Typical air intake systems will improve gas mileage between one and five mpg. This means more people are being drawn to the idea of installing aftermarket air intake systems, from people with brand-new mustangs to people driving five year old minivans.

These intakes are generally an inexpensive modification, and are easier to install than most aftermarket modifications. Factory air intakes place the filter inside of the engine compartment. An aftermarket air induction filter is usually placed near a fender or upper wheel well area where the air is cooler and more free-flowing. Some people install the new air induction system right to the stock mounting positions.

Are Aftermarket Air Intakes Legal?

For the most part, yes, unless you live in California or a state that uses C.A.R.B. (California Air Resources Board) which means stricter emissions laws. If you live in one of these states, the filter must pass certain requirements. As long as you install it correctly and it doesn’t interfere with any O2 sensors, you should be fine. Elsewhere, you have zero concerns about using an aftermarket air induction filter.

Will an Air Induction Filter Void My Warranty?

No. Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, your auto dealerships cannot void your warranty unless they can prove the part you installed is responsible for any problems caused that require you to invoke your warranty.

How to Install an Air Induction Filter

First, turn off your engine and disconnect the negative battery cable. You’ll need a flathead screwdriver and your new air filter. Loosen the clamp with the flathead so you can remove the cold air intake pipe. Next, take the clamp off that holds the filter to the intake pipe. Take the new filter and install the new filter. Some filters come with a new clamp. Tighten the clamp as much as possible to prevent air leakage and to make sure it doesn’t fall off. Reattach the air intake pipe. No two universal air induction filters are the same and every setup will be different. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer carefully or consult with someone who has installed a filter in your particular vehicle.

How to Take Care of Your New Air Intake Filter

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to maintaining your air induction filter. Some are cleanable while others must be thrown out and replaced on a regular basis.


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