December 01, 2015 By Randy Silva Netto

K&N Performance Air Filter

Gasping for Air

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Words & Photos: Randy Silva Netto

kn-speedlab-6-copy It’s that time of the year again when you need to bring your car or motorcycle to the auto shop for its periodic maintenance check to keep it in tiptop shape. These involve changing the engine oil and other fluids, checking the spark plugs, air filter, brake pads, suspension, etc. You can do it all yourself of course if you have basic vehicle maintenance knowhow. Although time consuming, it will save you some money and you will have the opportunity to give your vehicle some TLC.

But there is one task that is equally important as changing the engine oil or worn-out brake pads: cleaning or changing the air filter. Your vehicle doesn’t just need fuel to fire up that internal combustion engine; an engine also needs air to mix with the fuel inside the combustion chamber converting chemical energy into heat energy and eventually into mechanical energy to push that piston back driving the transmission and therefore allowing you to move forward or whichever way you’re going to. The point here is that a clean air filter that can establish a good air flow is crucial so your engine can breathe properly in order to get that right amount of air to be mixed with the fuel. An optimum fuel mixture is important to have an efficient engine: giving it too little air will give you a rich mixture and giving it too much air will result in a lean mixture. An efficient engine means lower fuel consumption and slower wear and tear for your engine giving it a longer life. Changing or cleaning the air filter is one the easiest tasks in maintaining your vehicle. It’s as easy as loosening a few screws or unclipping metal fasteners to gain access to the air filter.

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Lately, my pick-up has been a bit sluggish; stepping on the gas pedal feels like it significantly lost some power compared to how it was running a few months before. So I decided to bring it to SpeedLab as Tuner Editor Francis Pallarco suggested. As soon as the mechanic opened it up, the diagnosis was correct: the air filter was so dirty that the engine was having difficulty ingesting clean fresh air. I wasn’t surprised about how dirty the air filter was because we did some off-road drives a few months before, so if you’re regularly driving in dusty conditions, you’ll need to clean or change those air filters more often.

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OEM air filters or stock air filters, the one that came when you bought your vehicle brand new, are not reusable. You don’t want to spend money every time your air filter needs replacing. Sure, you can use pressurized air to blow dust and other particles to clean it, but you can only do that a few times, because once it gets extremely dirty, you cannot wash it unlike aftermarket washable and reusable air filters like a K&N air filter.

kn-speedlab-5-copy Already tried and tested, K&N is the most well known brand of performance air filters. It is used in a variety of applications from your everyday car to high-performance racing and heavy-duty industrial machines. A K&N filter is not that different from the OEM air filter: it has a plug and play setup, meaning no other modifications are needed to install it and cleaning it is a breeze, requiring only four easy steps. Just loosen the dirt with the K&N air filter cleaner solution and flush the dirt away with water, then allow it to dry naturally, and finally, apply a K&N air filter oil evenly along the crown of each pleat. Simple, isn’t it?

A K&N air filter can last up to 50,000 miles before cleaning is required depending on where you’re driving regularly. Another good thing about installing a K&N air filter is that it will not void your vehicle warranty, and K&N also offers a million-mile limited warranty. That’s how confident K&N is with their air filters.

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SpeedLab is an authorized dealer of K&N air filters; they specialize in engine tuning, supercharging, bolt-on upgrades, suspension modification, general maintenance and more. So if your vehicle feels a bit underpowered, check the air filter first, maybe it just needs some cleaning or replacing. Better yet, replace it with a washable and reusable K&N air filter for better peace of mind.

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