Stack The Odds In Your Favor; Change Your Car's Engine Air Filter Regularly

We play the odds with practically everything we do in life, whether it’s something as mundane as turning on the tap for hot water or driving through a nasty thunderstorm at night. According to the website the chance of dying from contact with hot tap water is 1 in approximately 5 million, and the chance of being killed by lightning is about 1 in 2.3 million! On the more positive side, the odds of finding out that your child is a genius are much higher – 1 in 250.

Thinking along the same lines, what would you say then are the odds of damaging your engine if your engine air filter fails?

Consider this: Your engine ingests about 10,000 gallons of air for every gallon of fuel it consumes. If your gas tank holds 18 gallons of fuel, your engine will ingest 180,000 gallons of air for every tank full of gas it uses. Say you’ve decided to take a road trip to your vacation destination 500 miles away – a 1,000-mile round trip.  If your car consumes 50 gallons of fuel at 20 miles per gallon, it means your engine will handle about 500,000 gallons of air on this trip alone.  What, then, would the odds be of damaging your engine if your engine air filter fails? Much higher than you realize, one should think.

When it comes to changing your car’s engine air filter, stacking the odds in your favor and minimizing the ones that are against you is definitely the safer and cheaper alternative. Change your car’s engine air filter at least once a year.

According to Kevin O'Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications at MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters, manufacturer and supplier of top quality filters to the North American aftermarket,“If you are planning to keep your car for a long time, as many motorists are in this tight economy, and want to ensure that it provides the best performance it is capable of, it’s not enough to only change the oil and filter regularly. It’s equally important to change the engine air filter at least once a year – more frequently if you live or drive in more dirty and dusty conditions. ”

Explaining the logic behind his advice, O'Dowd said, “The easiest route for particulates to enter a vehicle’s engine is through the air induction system and, therefore, through your engine’s air filter. Abrasive dust, dirt and other pollutants that enter through the air intake ducts while you are driving can damage a car’s internal engine components, increase wear and tear and ultimately compromise the engine’s power, performance and life. ”
This is more likely if a car’s engine air filter has not been changed in a while or perhaps is torn or split due to neglect. It will let dirt enter the engine and make its way past pistons and piston rings and into the oil supply potentially destroying key internal components. More important, once the damage sets in, there is no turning back. The dirt that has entered the engine may well have damaged the valves and valve seats, the piston rings and cylinder walls, and the engine bearings. This may ultimately require replacing your entire engine at a cost of $4,000 or more, plus all the aggravation that accompanies such an experience.

“To select a good quality engine air filter,” said O'Dowd, “requires knowing its 'capacity' and 'efficiency' in capturing the dirt before it enters the engine combustion chamber.  These are the two most important criteria that determine the protection it will offer. Capacity is the amount of dirt the filter can hold before it begins to restrict air flow and efficiency describes how well it performs its job,” he said.

Modern engines are built to be more fuel-efficient and have smaller orifices and tighter tolerances and call for engine air filters that can trap even the smallest particle of dirt that can enter the system.

  Purolator’s PureONE air filter’s oil-wetted, high-capacity media, for instance, offers twice the capacity of conventional filters to trap contaminants smaller than the size of a grain of sand and is 99.5 percent efficient. This means it traps 99.5 percent of particles that size or larger. Likewise, Purolator Classic air filter’s multi-fiber, high-density media traps 96.5 percent of contaminants.

So you can be 99.5 percent confident that a new PureONE engine air filter will keep harmful contaminants out of your engine and 100 percent confident that a torn air filter will allow damaging debris to enter your engine. The only unknowns will be how quickly and badly your engine will be damaged.

“The good news is, changing your car’s air filter is almost always quick, easy and inexpensive,” O'Dowd said. Modern, more advanced fuel-injected engines normally use a flat, rectangular panel-type air filter that is located in black plastic duct work in the engine compartment. “Usually, all you need is to release several clamps, separate the housing halves, lift out the old filter, and install the new one. It’s that simple,” O"Dowd said.

Select a name-brand filter whose quality and design features are reliable and well documented, he said. “Experience and documented innovation are key considerations with a product like an engine air filter that can have a major influence on the life of a $4,000 automobile engine. If you need surgery, you will certainly want an experienced surgeon who has performed many operations and who has a track record of successful outcomes,” he said.

According to O'Dowd, “Branding is particularly important with products like filters where motorists – even technicians – do not have direct access to lab test results to accurately assess the performance, durability, and value of a particular filter. ” And O'Dowd should know, since Purolator invented the very first automotive oil filter in 1923 and the first spin-on oil filter in 1955. You want a company that pioneered automotive filtration, has been in the business for nearly a century and has both a track record and a reputation to stand behind its products. You want a company that offers a brand with knowledge, experience, and reliability.

Despite the fact that life throws unexpected twists and turns our way, the odds that we will encounter such challenges are relatively low. We can, however, exercise a measure of control over the possibility of these circumstances occurring simply by stacking the odds in our favor. Protect your car’s engine: change the engine air filter at least once a year, or more often if you drive in dusty, dirty conditions. It is cheap insurance.

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