What brand of engine air filter should I use?
March 31, 2011 11:20 AM   Subscribe

What brand of engine air filter should I use?

It's just about time to change the engine air filter on my 2002 Toyota Celica, and I was wondering whether there was any great difference between air filter brands. Is it worth the money to pay a little more for certain brands? I'd like to keep my car running well and I don't mind spending a little more, but is there any real benefit to doing so?
posted by millions to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Best answer: I'm partial to Wix and Napa filters, but for an air filter, any name brand should work fine.

There exist serviceable oiled cloth filters from K&N and other brands that in theory flow more air, but for an unmodified daily driven car, I don't think they're worth it. A standard paper filter, unless clogged, will flow more air then your engine needs, and there's a (debatable) problem with the filter oil gunking up engine sensors if the filter is over-oiled.
posted by zombiedance at 11:41 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use Purolators, myself. Good quality and price. But, yeah, just about any name-brand paper filter should be fine.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:03 PM on March 31, 2011

I agree with zombiedance 100%. The NAPA stuff and the Wix brands are good, quality filters. Same with Fram, Purolator, and other name brands. Unless you've modified your Celica's exhaust, you won't really benefit from a better/high flowing filter like a K&N, and the the oiled filters are problematic with some MAF sensors.
posted by mosk at 12:07 PM on March 31, 2011

The nerds on the Toyota pickup forums love AFE's Pro-Dry. Admittedly, this crowd trends a little more performance/off-road-oriented than the average driver.

(The other possible advantage to K&N and AFE and similar filters is that, since they can be cleaned, they'll probably last the life of your car. This advantage may be offset by the fact that they're a lot pricier.)
posted by box at 12:59 PM on March 31, 2011

Pretty-much the most comprehensive air filter test on the internet.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:04 PM on March 31, 2011

Actually, it looks like he's updated the air filter test but made it more difficult to directly link to it. You can check out the results by clicking on the Air Filter tests on the left nav from the main website.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:07 PM on March 31, 2011

I just put a K&N into my wife's 2008 Versa [not a performance car by any stretch of the imagination] for two reasons, mostly.
  1. It cost $50 and will last the life of the car. Even if it doesn't last the million miles for which it is warrantied, if it outlasts 5 paper filters it'll pay for itself and at a minimum keep five paper filters out of the landfill.
  2. I will no longer have to deal with the oil-change guy wanting to replace her air filter. The day I bought the K&N I had just come from an oil change wherein I was encouraged to change my "filthy" air filter. I declined. When I took it out to install the K&N, it looked brand new. Grr. Please just change my oil.

posted by chazlarson at 1:12 PM on March 31, 2011

Please note that K&Ns do need to be serviced and cleaned with special K&N cleaning gunk. My old mechanic, who installed it, used to have the stuff at his shop. My new mechanic does not; I have to get my own supplies and bring it to the appointment (one kit is good for four services, I think).

That said, no complaints from Little '01 Sentra. Going on eight or nine years.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 5:02 PM on March 31, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you all for responding. I went to a few different auto parts stores yesterday to see what they had, and it looks like most around here stock Purolator, Fram, and K&N filters. I think I'll go with the standard filters (erring on the side of caution, given that high performance isn't a consideration and the paper filters seem to keep things a little cleaner) and most likely a Fram, just because the Purolator I pulled out of the box was coming apart.

I guess I'll check out the current filter and see how it's doing before replacing it. I haven't quite reached 12, 000 miles since I put it in (the part vendor replacement interval recommendation), and the manufacturer says I should replace after about 30,000, so between those recommendations, I'll have to follow the advice I've read online and see how dirty it is before putting in a new one.
posted by millions at 1:46 PM on April 2, 2011

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