June 24, 2013 by quirkyuncle
A washable intake air filter for your car or truck can save you money while providing improved fuel economy and performance.
I’ve been a fan of permanent, washable intake air filters for years: you pay a bit more initially, but never need to buy another air filter for the life of your car. You can clean these filters as often as you like to maintain optimum performance, so to your engine it seems like you are changing your air filter more often. Washable filters are considered a performance upgrade. They provide both increased airflow and superior filtration: characteristics that translate to better gas mileage and more power, especially at higher engine RPMs.
Traditionally, washable air filters use a cloth media that is wetted with a special oil that helps it catch small particles of dust. While it is not difficult to clean an oiled-filter element, the process is messy and requires periodic purchase of a cleaning/re-oiling kit. You also can’t drive the car for several hours, as the filter needs to air dry fully after washing before it can be re-oiled.
Personally, I find that the benefits of a washable filter greatly exceed the cost and effort needed to use one. I’ve successfully used washable oiled-cloth filters in many of my cars over the years, with all of these vehicles running better and getting more MPG after the washable filter was installed. It’s been a win-win situation for me in all cases.
While there should be no problem using an oil-impregnated air filter in older carbureted vehicles, these filters can create issues with some of the sensors found in most modern cars if they are not properly oiled. For example, a filter that is excessively oiled can foul the mass-airflow sensor, potentially triggering a variety of failure symptoms. (I’ve never had this happen to me, ever, but I have heard that it can occur from more than one automotive service professional that I know and trust.)
A dry filter element is the best of both worlds
Advanced Flow Engineering (aFe) has introduced a dry element washable air filter, the aFe Pro Dry S series. These filters provide all the benefits of washable filter media, without the risks associated with using an oiled element. The aFe Pro Dry S filters use a synthetic two-layer dry filtering media that requires no oil to trap dust. The aFe Pro Dry S media is very effective at removing dirt from the air and is much less restrictive than a standard paper filter.
Because there is no oil, cleaning an aFe Pro Dry S filter is much easier. It also provides multiple cleaning options:
- Tapping the filter on a hard surface knocks enough dirt loose to return it to 85% clean.
- Vacuuming the filter returns it to 96% clean.
- Washing the filter with regular dish or laundry soap (and allowing to dry) returns it to 100% clean.
You can clean an aFe Pro Dry S filter in minutes, whenever you like, without tying the car up for hours while your filter dries. No oil, no mess! Drive through a dust storm? No problem! You can do a quick and effective cleaning of your aFe Pro Dry S filter the next time you stop for gas.
So, how well does it work?
In a word, awesome. I’ve installed the aFe Pro Dry S filters in three of our family’s cars and am seeing gas mileage increases from 1.5 to 3 MPG. In addition, the cars pull much smoother throughout the RPM range, not even laboring as they approach redline. Quite impressive!
Warranted for life, the filters are well made. I have no doubt that they will provide years of efficient service.
You KNOW you want one! Where do you get it?
aFe Pro Dry S filters are available at your local auto parts stores, online, or direct from aFe. Application data and additional information is at the aFe website.
Note: While the aFe website is quite comprehensive, it does not list all vehicle applications for all filters – when the same filter is used by multiple vehicles, the website might not list them all. If you don’t see an aFe Pro Dry S filter listed for your car, call aFe or ask your parts retailer. (aFe did not list filters on their website for two of the cars I’m currently running them in – I’m glad that I went through the extra effort to track them down.)
Category Automotive, Product Recommendation, Review | Tags: advanced flow engineering, afe, air filter, dry air filter, lifetime air filter, oil free air filter, performance air filter, permanent air filter, pro dry s, reusable air filter, washable air filter