Neglecting Your Car's Engine? It Can All Add Up...

You always have a ‘choice,’ even where something simple is concerned – even something as simple as your car’s engine air filter. Say you’ve been driving around without having changed your car’s engine air filter in a while. You can choose to buy one for $15-20 and install it yourself or perhaps with the helping hand of a friendly parts store clerk. Or, down the road, you may find yourself shopping for a laundry list of parts and a reliable repair shop.

Under these circumstances, your shopping list could include:

  • Piston rings - $120

  • Full gasket set - $175

  • Connecting rod bearings - $80

  • Main bearings - $80

  • Machine work - $600

  • Repair shop labor to remove/reinstall engine and parts - $1,200

  • Labor to disassemble and reassemble engine - $750 

    Total $3,005

Additionally, if you add in new spark plugs, oil, belts, filters, hoses, motor mounts, thermostat the cost inches a lot closer to $4,000.

On the other hand, your mechanic can order a re-manufactured engine at $2,500 or more, and with the cost of labor added in it too totals $4000-plus!

“An air filter is a small item in terms of cost, but plays a very big role when it comes to protecting the engine in your car,” said Kevin O'Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications for MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters, a major supplier of engine air filters to the automotive aftermarket in North America. “Today’s engines include parts that are manufactured to such precise tolerances that even a modicum of dirt can potentially damage its performance,” said O'Dowd.

Imagine, for every gallon of fuel your vehicle consumes, it ingests 10,000 gallons of air. And with the precise clearance of one-thousandths of an inch or more between the piston ring and the groove of the piston in which it rides, the engine is extremely vulnerable when the air filter is dirty or blocked. Once this happens, the filter media gets sucked in, ruptures, allowing unfiltered dirt to rush in and damage the engine’s vital internal parts.

“The two most critical features to look for in engine air filters are 'efficiency' and 'capacity,' ” said O'Dowd. “Efficiency describes how well an air filter removes harmful particulates, and capacity is a measure of how much debris a filter can hold. For example, our Purolator Classic air filter is 96.5 percent efficient with excellent capacity. And our premium Purolator PureONE air filter, which is 99.5 percent efficient, removes particulates as small as 8 ten-thousandths of an inch, and can hold more contaminants than many other air filters on the market. Particles this size and larger can cause major damage to critical internal engine parts and over time, can cause damage serious enough to require total (and expensive!) engine overhaul or replacement,” O'Dowd emphasized.

“Finally, avoiding the frustration of knowing that you could have prevented an engine rebuild simply by spending a couple of dollars now, is priceless; your engine will appreciate it, and so will your bank account,” O'Dowd said.

To learn more about Purolator filters and the filtration category, please visit

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