Fitting a high-flow air filter element
An air filter is often one of the frequently overlooked service items that can really affect the performance and reliability of your car. Not only that, but a clogged one can really be bad for the environment.
The air filter's job is to remove minor particles of dust and grit from the inducted air before it can get into assemblies that will suffer greatly, such as carburettor jets and piston bores. Vehicle manufacturers have to undertake a bit of a balancing act when they specify a filter: they are striking a balance between efficiency, performance and cost of production (and later on, cost of ownership).
For many manufacturers, this means a paper element. It will perform adequately from an efficiency point of view, allow adequate performance and, most importantly of all, will be cheap to produce en masse.
Unfortunately, the performance aspect is only really true when they are new. After they have been fitted for even a relatively short period of time in some cases, they become clogged and inefficient meaning that the engine has to do more work to draw in air, which effectively reduces power output at the wheels. Other factors such as fuel economy, exhaust emissions and ease of starting can suffer too. And this is all potentially with an air filter that is changed regularly - operate in extremely dusty conditions or don't change it when you should, and things get infinitely worse.
The solution to this problem? Fit a high-flow performance air filter! They come in several different types and guises: replacement element (fits a standard box), replacement assembly, cotton gauze element, wire mesh element, foam elements...
In this How To... I will cover fitting a high-flow replacement air filter element to your car.
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