Do K&N Air Filters Really Improve Performance?

Do K&N air filters really improve performance? This is a question that many car owners ask themselves when considering upgrading their vehicle's air filter. The answer is yes, aftermarket air filters can work to improve performance. However, the gains are usually small and may not be noticeable in real-world driving. Fenske tested filters in a real environment, measuring acceleration times between four different candidates.

The results showed that the K&N filter produced a 2-3 percent improvement in acceleration time compared to the standard unit. The differences between clean and dirty OEM filters were negligible, but the cheap aftermarket filter improved acceleration times by approximately 1.2 percent. The K&N filter fared better, with an average of 2.74 percent improvement in acceleration times. More air equals more power, and oversized K&N high-flow filters will allow for greater airflow. Replacing only the OEM air filter with a K&N high flow filter will add power and increase acceleration, but the biggest gains will come from installing a complete cold air intake system.

This will result in improved throttle response, slightly better mpg, and maybe a few horsepower. A cold air intake, if available, will make the most of the K&N filter's potential. Of course, as you climb the ladder of admission types, the price increases accordingly. It is also important to note that running without a filter allows dirt to contaminate and damage the sensor, which can lead to incorrect airflow readings. Fitting a K&N high flow air filter is the easiest, most cost-effective and least technical way to increase engine performance. It provides protection against water ingestion, which is a common cause of hydraulic blockage that often ends with a destroyed engine.

An air cleaner has a conflicting requirement that is not to prevent airflow to the engine (if technically possible, allow an “unrestricted” flow of clean air to the engine).The trademarked red filter (usually conical in shape) on display or your kit may include an airbox closed. When the K&N filter was installed, it allowed the engine to produce 164.42 hp and 142.53 lb-ft of torque - an increase from 158.25 hp and 137.25 lb-ft of torque with the dirty OEM air filter. A factory air intake typically feeds hot air to the cylinders, while K&N high-performance air intake systems are designed to provide a smooth, unobstructed path for the air stream, keeping the air stream fresher and denser in oxygen. This allows a K&N air filter to capture contaminant particles that are much smaller than the openings within the filter medium. Personally, I use K&N air filters because I live in a dusty area and I usually spend more on paper filters than on oil filters. It really is that simple and that's why upgrading an engine's air filter is the easiest and most cost-effective modification a homeowner can make. In addition, if the filter becomes clogged with particles for a period of time, less air (and therefore oxygen) is supplied to the engine.

The K&N filter can add a little noise here and some ponies beyond (not much), but it's reusable. Due to high levels of pollution, air filters tend to choke with particles and it is recommended to clean or replace an air filter in every general service of your car. Without further ado, upgrading your vehicle's air filter with a K&N high flow filter is an easy way to improve performance.

Elisa Michocki
Elisa Michocki

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