Financial Services

Air Filters &Amp; Air Intakes A Beginners Guide To Modding

By Carmour Tan

Like humans, almost all mannerism of contraptions that has a motor requires air to function. Vacuum cleaners to hair dryers to lawn mowers and yes; cars, all require the intake of air to work properly.

In cars, air is required in the combustion chamber where fuel is burned to produce power. If you didn’t pay attention in basic science class, air is needed to keep a fire burning. Same concept here. To put things bluntly; more air = better combustion = better acceleration.

There are only two types of air filters available in the market: an open pod or a drop in.

Choosing which one suits you best

Open pods are generally larger in size and requires the removal of your whole standard air intake unit. They have the best performance when it comes to air intake, but lacks in filtration capabilities.


Drop in air filters on the other hand provide ‘plug and play’ bliss for beginners, as you can simply swap your OEM air filter for these things. No modifications necessary. Air intake is generally better than standard OEM air filters, but again, filtration is not as good.

Deciding on which to get for your car is simple. It all depends on the type of transmission your car uses. An automatic car will benefit from a drop in filter, but will have little or no improvements if fitted with an open pod; the reason being open pods require a rev above 3,000 rpm to be able to perform optimally, and automatic cars generally change gears before the 3,000 rpm mark.

Manual transmission cars however can benefit from both open pod and drop in filters, as the engine revs easier and the driver can decide when to change gears. Life just isn’t fair.

There are several well known brands out there that are synonymous with aftermarket air filters. Brands such as K&N and HKS are probably the best car air filters money can buy.

Increasing the air intake of your car

There are also different ways to do this. Mind you, it may not be the prettiest of ways. It’s called Cold Air Intake (CAI) hoses.

Here’s another theory: cold air is heavier than hot air, so theoretically in the atmosphere, cold air should be located closer to the ground. With this in mind, imagine if you place your air intake hose (hose that directs air into the air filter unit) at the front of the car, and at a low position, cold, or in the case of South East Asia, air that is not so warm, can get into the combustion chamber and help the combustion even more, thus allowing better acceleration.

This however requires one to drill a hole in the middle of one’s bumper. I have seen some pretty well done CAI, but for the most of it, it will look like your car just had a molar removed.

Before getting all excited and deciding to buy a new air filter for your car, take note that aftermarket air filters do allow your car to breathe better, but at the cost of less filtration. This does not mean that fitting an aftermarket air filter will damage your engine in the long run. All it means is that your car’s standard OEM air filter is able to filter tinier dust particles, at the cost of allowing less air through. Aftermarket air filters however are washable, making it a lifetime investment for your car, unless you decide to keep changing filters to test the difference that is.

A simple test to see how dirty your air filter is and also to determine its filtration capabilities is to simply put it up against a source of light. A clean filter would allow one to see light poking through the ‘pores’ of the filter whereas a dirty filter would block out the light entirely. Air filters with good filtration capabilities usually get dirty faster, meaning that it’s doing a good job at filtration, whilst a filter with less filtration capabilities would stay cleaner longer.

About the Author: Expert on articles concerning vehicle insurance. He is also a regular car blog contributor.


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