Air Filter Comparison: The Go-to Guide

Person inserting a new air filter into an engine
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  • Beginner
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Next time you buy a new air filter for your vehicle, you may need to compare the different types of air filters in making a decision about which one to purchase.

The air filter provides clean air to the gas in your engine, so it’s an important part that requires some understanding of function and performance.

Air Filter Overview

Changing your filter before your car's performance is in jeopardy is particularly important.

Having a dirty air filter will not only decrease your car's performance, but will also increase its emissions into the environment.

Most manufacturers recommend changing air filters every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, but these estimations can vary, based on your driving conditions. For the best results, check your air filter at every routine oil change.

Factory-Model Air Filters

removing an air filter from an engine

A factory-model air filter is your best bet when replacing your car's air filter. Check your owner manual and work with an auto store associate to find the correct part to match your car's make and model.

In most cases, you can find the correct part on hand at the store. Factory-model air filters are generally inexpensive and (except in the cases of rare car models) readily available at any auto parts store.

Aftermarket Air Filters

If you prefer a better filter, an aftermarket air filter may be the way to go.

Costing a little more than a factory model, an aftermarket model will provide superior performance by a finer filtering system. More air gets in the engine with less debris, and your vehicle's performance improves.

Performance Air Filters

dirty filter sitting on an engine

Performance air filters can be rather expensive, but they can increase the power and speed of your car.

Cost of Air Filter Replacement

For most people, cost is the leading factor in what kind of replacement air filter they will purchase.

For the most affordable solution, a factory air filter is the way to go, followed by an aftermarket filter, and then the most expensive option, the performance air filter.