There are a wide variety of different types of air filters available for your vehicle. Each is designed to keep foreign particles out of your engine, but due to their unique material construction, they also each possess a distinct set of advantages and drawbacks. Understanding what each type of car air filter has to offer your vehicle can help you choose the best one for your driving needs.
Paper Air Filters
Paper air filters are what most cars come from the factor with. While the name may suggest super fragile air filters that rip and degrade at the slightest touch, these air filters are made out of industrial strength paper. With that said, paper air filters are not extremely effective or durable, and will need to be replaced the most out of the three most common types of air filters on the market. This can increase the long run cost of using a paper air filter, though the low initial cost of these filters helps to offset this.
Foam Air Filters
Foam air filters are what most car owners who are do a lot of off road driving or who live in rural areas. Foam filters are soaked in oil to provide increased dust and contaminant collection, which greatly increases the ability of these filters to withstand a great deal of use. It also extends their lifespan: foam air filters will last much longer than paper air filters in comparable driving conditions. One of the two main issues with foam air filters is that they can greatly reduce the rate of air intake into the engine, as the air has to pass through both the foam filter and the oil that it is soaked in, which reduces the fuel efficiency and performance of your engine. The second issue is cost, as foam air filters are more expensive than their paper counterparts.
Performance Air Filters
Performance air filters, like their name would suggest, are designed to increase the amount of air flow that your engine receives. These are ideal for car owners who want to increase the speed and fuel efficiency of their cars, and are most commonly used in sports cars. Performance air filters are more expensive than either of the other two most common types of air filters, but they do not carry the same durability as foam air filters, as they are not designed with blocking out large amounts of dust in mind. This means that performance air filters will quickly clog and actually hamper the performance of your vehicle in dusty or dirty conditions.