Air filter reviews for cotton, synthetic and paper air filters

Performance Cotton Media Air Filters - A Great Choice for The Life Of Your Car Or Truck

Cotton Air Filters

Cotton air filters are available as replacement OE filters and typically sold as aftermarket performance products. They offer an increase in air flow over paper filters, and provide a reusable solution to the constant waste of buying and throwing away disposable paper air filters. These filters typically have 4 to 6 layers of an oiled cotton material, sandwiched between wire mesh for strength which is then shaped into a pleat pattern. Pleating gives the air filter more surface space and the layers of cotton create a 3D filter with filtering depth instead of filtering mostly at the top surface level. The tiny oiled cotton fibers stick out and capture particles as they enter. This design allows cotton performance air filters to be great at filtering out particles and great at holding a large amount of them before air flow is impaired enough to need cleaning. The result is outstanding air filtration with a long service life. Since these air filters are reusable they are usually well made so they can last for the life of your car or truck. K&N air filters lead this category of filters and their replacement air filters for street vehicles come with a million mile limited warranty. For additional information about K&N filters in spanish, visit K&N Filtros de Aire.

While the information may not be typical you can look at online reviews of performance air filters from users to get a better understanding of their experiences with cotton air filters. One of the main reasons cotton air filters are so popular, is the increase in air flow they provide over paper filters. Allowing air to pass through the filter with less restriction can lead to better engine performance and an increase in horsepower. The trick is to create a design that allows more airflow while providing great filtration. Many agree the oiled cotton air filters meets that design objective.

So, cotton air filters offer both high-flow performance and great engine protection, but what about the cost? Are they worth it?
Cotton replacement air filters are cleanable so they can be reused again and again. A single cotton air filter, when serviced properly, will continue to perform for the entire life of your vehicle. Because you don't need to keep buying paper air filters over and over again, you can save time and money in the long run.

How hard is it to clean a cotton air filter and how often will it need to be done?
Cleaning a cotton air filter is really easy. Most manufacturers have a recommended solvent to help break down the dirt. After spraying the cotton filter with the solvent and rinsing it out with a water hose, you simply let it dry and re-oil it with the manufacturers aerosol or squeeze bottled oil. This simple process renews the cotton air filter so it can perform like it did when you bought it.

The service interval for a stock replacement cotton air filter is up to 50,000 miles while paper air filters typically last between 12,000 and 15,000 miles. This depends a lot on your driving conditions. If you are primarily driving on dusty dirt roads you can expect the service life of a filter to be less than one used on pavement. Cotton air filters use a "depth loading" technique which allows dirt to build up quite a bit before it become restricted. In contrast, a paper air filter uses a "surface loading" technique where dirt sticks to the surface and has less space to fill before restriction starts to cause a decrease in performance.

Will a cotton air filter improve my fuel economy?
There are many variables that go into calculating fuel economy. Some of the variables include altitude, temperature, total weight of the vehicle, and driving habits. This makes it hard to compare one vehicle's claim of fuel saving to another. What we do know is that, if a vehicle is starving for air, it will not react well when power is needed. While many users report better fuel economy with a performance air filter no known filter manufacturer has fuel testing posted at this time and these users may not be typical.

Will a cotton air filter really last the entire life of my vehicle?
This is a valid question, because it just seems to be too good to be true. If I buy a single cotton air filter for my vehicle, will I really be able to stop spending money on paper filters? The answer is...yes if you buy it from a reputable manufacturer. As previously mentioned one manufacturer in particular has a million mile limited warranty and few cars make it longer than a million miles, however, here's a truck that ran for over a million miles with a performance cotton air filter installed.

Are air filters that combine cotton and synthetic filter media better?
Some air filter manufacturers have developed a filter that combines cotton and synthetic media in an attempt to capture the best qualities of both. Whether or not a synthetic / cotton air filter media blend is better, is really based on individual preference. SYNTHAFLOW® filtration technology was developed by AIRAID and consists of multiple layers of oiled cotton gauze and a blend of synthetic material that allows more air-flow than a paper filter without sacrificing filtration necessary to protect your engine.

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