General Question

woodcutter's avatar

Hopefully this won't end up in the orphans but has anyone used a K&N air cleaner on their car's engine?

Asked by woodcutter (16327points) August 2nd, 2010

These filter elements are pretty expensive compared to the usual paper core ones we see at department stores. These are made of washable linen and are advertised to last for the life of the car and allow better air flow and a slight increase in performance – the last filter you will need to replace. Clean it @ 50,000 miles. They cost about $60.00.

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24 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

I don’t use the air filter yet. I do use their oil filters. Great product.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I have one on my 88 mustang gt. I like it. It cleans really good too.

woodcutter's avatar

@WestRiverrat yes I did see those advertised as well and an considering trying them. Your basic Motorcraft FL-1A is around 4 bucks, so how much more does a K&N go for? I have 3 veh I’m responsible for so this could end up bring a sizable investment.

woodcutter's avatar

@uberbatman when you switched was there any noticeable performance improvement? I do like the idea that these can be cleaned and used over and over instead of adding them to the landfill and if there is any felt improvement on performance/ fuel economy it will be gravy.

WestRiverrat's avatar

About $20 for my Ranger’s filter.

woodcutter's avatar

@WestRiverrat $20.00 huh. I’ll have to do some thinking on that move. That will make an oil change pretty high. Every 3 to 4 k (unless these can also be dismantled and cleaned but I don’t think they can be).

superneil21's avatar

i had a K&N drop in filter in my impala and it helped maybe a very tiny bit. But was awesome cause i could wash it. Your better off just buying a cold air intake or making on like i did.

jerv's avatar

I had a couple of them and they do work. Both cars were a little peppier afterwards but I didn’t notice any MPG change since I was a bit lead-footed with them, (they were a little underpowered to begin with, so I needed to be) but I didn’t notice a decrease either, despite driving like a jackass.

Whether they were worth the money…. I say yes, but it’s really a judgment call. And if you plan to keep teh car for a long time, they will pay off since you clean them; IIRC, they have a 1-million-mile lifespan and warranty.

ipso's avatar

If you live in a city, and around no dust, I don’t think the cost/performance is worth it. If you live rural or around any kind of dusty environment with dirt roads, it’s a great idea to minimize maintenance.

I don’t care what they advertise, I don’t believe their oiled filter increases airflow through an OEM system. You only get real performance improvements if you get the whole intake system (more like $300). I put one on my truck and it’s a huge performance increase – like 20hp. Significant induction sound increase though. Sounds more like a motorcycle when the revs are up, which is clearly not for everybody.

mrentropy's avatar

I’m planning on getting a K&N air filter. I’d like to get the intake system for the Challenger, but I get confused on the legality of the better one.

jerv's avatar

@mrentropy Just look for one that is CARB approved. If it’s legal in California then it’s legal anywhere. CA has by far the strictest laws on that sort of thing.

mrentropy's avatar

@jerv It isn’t. It’s illegal for road use in any state that follows California’s regime. And I’m not sure if Texas is one of them, but I get a feeling it is.

woodcutter's avatar

I just was talking to the mech i take my cars to about an hour ago and he told me they do let in more air but also a tad more dirt of you don’t clean them often. He recommended cleaning each time oil changed just to be on the safe side. Not every 50 K as advertised. So, it will come down to how much the special cleaning kits cost that will help me decide if I want to have these filters in all 3 of my vehicles. I went ahead and ordered one for my work truck but I only average 6–7 K each year so really none of my rides are high mileage, it still could pay off though. Thanks guys.

woodcutter's avatar

@superneil21 yeah I was looking at those too. I want to keep things simple so the drop in style using the original parts are the way to go for now. Those elements also look like they are exposed, just sticking out there so maybe water and stuff will get on it from splashing up underneath the hood?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@woodcutter didnt notice a difference because I bought the car with that on it.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I had a K&N in my Integra, but I installed it along with a modified airbox. I use a Comptech foam filter in my RSX. You’re looking at no more than 1–2 HP on a dyno, and it won’t affect your MPG one way or another. I wouldn’t bother with it unless you’re going to do other modifications to your intake.

ApolloX64's avatar

I use K&N air filters on every vehicle. They work very well, they are the only aftermarket air filter that is actually superior to a manufacturer specific. When it comes to air and oil filters you really do get what you pay for. When I was working for Nissan we used to buy one of every aftermarket oil and air filter available. Then put them through our “tests” which included cutting oil filters in half to examine the amount of pleats in the paper (or cotton, in the case of K&N and Denso) elements, and seeing how long an air filter could withstand the dust form a sandblaster. Nissan engines are notoriously picky about their air filters, especially the 2.5L on which you will detroy your MAF sensor on if you do not use a good quality air filter because of the oil seal around the filter itself which prevents dust and dirt from getting around the filter thanks to the plastic casing.
Actual dealer-supplied filters always fared the best, Canadian Tire\Walmart brands always failed the worst and NAPA\real Fram\Honeywell\Purolator (all the same) seemed to be in the middle usually while Delco, Nippon-Denso and K&N almost always came out on top. K&N air filters are great thanks to the style of the filter element and the seals they use on them since cheaper filters use foam seals with no oils in them. A K&N cleaning kit can last you up to three years because you don’t use the whole kit when you clean the filter you only use a bit. You CAN clean the filter without the kit, but the kit will help make it last longer and retain it’s effectiveness. Without the oils added to the element you lose about 30–40% of the filters effectiveness and leave it vulnerable to tearing.
Also as a side note never ever ever ever ever blow air from an air gun through a filter to clean it, no matter who the manufacturer is. You will ruin the filter, you may not see the damage as obvious, but it’s there. Also when you see a Fram oil filter at Canadian Tire (or some other box stores) look at it’s part number if it starts with PHxxx or CHxxx it’s a real ie: good FRAM filter; however if it starts with CPHxxx or CCHxxx it is a thinner element with a cheaper casing version that will last about as long as a Motomaster tin can which has caused a lot of people to have a huge hate on for Fram. It helps to be aware of this.

ipso's avatar

^ That post flew out of the park. Damn GA. Thanks for sharing the info.

RocketGuy's avatar

I put a cold air intake w/ K&N into my Integra. I got better performance, just like @ipso. K&N data for the Integra shows about 10 HP at midrange, which feels about right. I get extra power or extra MPG, depending on driving style. Noisy when I floor it, though.

woodcutter's avatar

I wonder how many tune up shops have thrown away a customers’ K&N not knowing and replaced it with one of their store brand. Oh that would really blow, (or suck)

ApolloX64's avatar

@woodcutter Actually you’d be surprised by how often that doesn’t happen I friggin’ was lol. Regular mechanics, dealers and certified shops usually know enough to clean the K&N filters with the kits that they usually keep on hand. But those “10-minute lube, oil & filter” places like Oil Changers, Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart and the like often employ “lube-techs” who don’t know the difference, so be careful if you go through those and tell them you’ve got a K&N and always double check it’s still there after.
@RocketGuy It’s amazing the difference such a small change can make, eh? It really shows how restrictive the regular paper filters are over the cotton weave of the K&N and some of the other filters like it. On a lot of cars like the Integra, Civic, Protege, Cavalier and many others a K&N can make almost as much of a difference as a simple, properly done cold air intake as the stock intake systems are often quite restrictive. Removing just one blocking point helps relieve a lot of negative pressure and really lets the engine breathe without compromising the protection provided for the MAF sensor and throttle body.

jerv's avatar

@woodcutter There is a reason that I do most of my own work ;)

woodcutter's avatar

@ApolloX64—yes those quickie lube places where they try to sell you everything even if you don’t need it. It might take them several minutes to really clean a reusable air filter and not make money on it but to toss out your orig filter and charge you for one of theirs seems like their MO. I avoid those places when one time a tech said my oil was low right off the bat after shutting down the motor. Of course it is low at that moment but give it time to settle back down in the pan and it will be dead on the stick- is what I told him…and he knew it too. Sure he was trying to hedge on his work in case they do something wrong they will say I had been driving the car with low oil and that was what contributed to any engine damage. I bet they snow a lot of people that way. Walmart is really bad about doing this so yeah I avoid them too.

woodcutter's avatar

just got it today and put it in. It comes with a warning sticker you put under the hood to advise techs there is a reusable filter here don’t discard and a placard to keep in the glove box in case a dealer wants to argue that it voids any warranties. The ph# will get the filter maker on the line to do the arguing for you. Pretty cool. I have never given so much thought about air filters ever.

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