Is your car’s engine giving you a tough time? If you have not replaced your air filter, then it is likely the issue afflicting your motor. In this review, we will decide if a K&N air filter is a solution you need when replacing your car’s spare part.
K&N is one of the leading manufacturers of replaceable air filters for automobiles. As a sponsor for NASCAR, the company holds a well-known reputation for its high-quality, reusable air filters that protect cars. But should you trust the products K&N is selling? To help you decide, we review K&N air filters and compare them to other leading brands. But first, let us take a look at what air filters are and why they need replacing so often.
What are Air Filters and How do They Work?
Automobile air filters make sure that harmful elements do not enter the car’s internal systems and interfere with the operation of the engine. An engine requires clear passageways for air and fuel to travel through it usually. Cheap or damaged automobile air filters typically mean that your car’s engine will need to work extra hard to operate. In some cases, if you do not replace them for a long time, then they can lead to permanent engine damage. Usually, an air filter in an automobile needs replacing every 12 months.
Every car model requires a different air filter, which means you usually need to order the part. You need to replace some air filters entirely, and others allow for routine cleaning and maintenance. A clean air filter means better acceleration, performance and fuel mileage. When an air filter in a car goes wrong, you can usually tell by an overall decline in usability. The engine will not be as powerful, the throttle response will be abysmal, and engine wear will quickly become apparent.
It is best to replace the air filter before these symptoms cause irreparable damage to your vehicle. Proper airflow to the engines is an incredibly underrated aspect of engine maintenance. When it is stripped down to its core elements, the engine is essentially an air pump for the car. As such, it requires a constant stream of air to operate efficiently. If the air filter does not provide this flow, then the engine itself will be the one that suffers.
What Makes a K&N Air Filter Unique?
K&N designs their reusable air filters with two key goals in mind: keeping dirt and debris out of the engine and maximizing the potential airflow to the various needed components. Overall, the high flow cotton K&N uses increases airflow by 50%. This airflow increases the horsepower of most vehicles anywhere from one to four. The company has verified these results through some independent studies conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Traditionally, cars either use a disposable paper filter or a cell foam filter. While these filters are cheaper than K&N air filters, they come with a cost. Paper filters keep debris out of the engine but do not provide adequate airflow. Similarly, cell foam filters quickly become soaked with engine oil which causes them to clog.
K&N’s air filters differ from paper and foam ones primarily with their patented fabric technology. The individual layers of oiled fabric that line each K&N filter trap dirt molecules as they try to reach the engine. However, instead of clogging, the dirt molecules become a part of the filter through depth loading. This process of depth loading means that the filters can hold much more dirt than their paper and foam counterparts. An aluminum screen then separates these layers of cotton fabric for added protection.
The best distinguishing feature a K&N air filter has is its reusability. Whenever the air filters get too dirty, instead of replacing your K&N air filter, you clean it with a proper cleaning kit. This reusability means you do not have to keep rebuying second filters. But, more importantly, it significantly reduces the impact on the environment. If a car has over 150,000 miles on it, it most likely has gone through ten different air filters. Over time, these numbers start to add up, especially when they get dumped in landfills.
K&N also caters to a variety of different vehicle types. You can purchase air filters for cars, trucks, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, boats, and race cars. This versatility extends to its product line. Every different automobile requires a clean air filter.
K&N Air Filter Pricing
There are five types of air filters you can purchase from K&N. Within these five types, the prices fluctuate depending on the make and model of the vehicle. We provided the general price range for these categories. You can also purchase cleaning kits for $15.00. These can be used to extend the life of your K&N air filter.
Automobile Air Filters
The air filters for traditional cars and trucks typically cost between $40 and $60 depending on what type of vehicle you drive. K&N also provides replacement oil filters and cabin air filters for automobiles.
Motorcycle Air Filters
The air filter for motorcycles typically costs between $50 and $80 depending on the brand of bike. You can also buy oil filters, FIPK air intakes, and AirCharger air intakes for your motorcycle.
Powersport (ATV + Snowmobiles) Air Filters
The air filter for ATVs and snowmobiles typically costs between $60 and $80 depending on what brand the power sports vehicle is.
Boat Flame Arrestors
A flame arrestor on a boat essentially does the same job as an air filter. It allows the gas that powers the motor through but stops any potential flame that might cause an explosion. K&N flame arrestors for boats typically cost between $100 and $220.
Racing Air Filters
K&N offers a unique selection of air filters designed for optimal acceleration for racing vehicles. Customers can either buy custom air filters or crankcase vent breathers. These K&N products typically cost between $100 and $200.
Public Perception of K&N Air Filters
In this section, we will go over what people think of K&N air filters —their strong points and their weaknesses. Generally speaking, the reviews for K&N air filters are very positive. Most users report that their K&N air filter added between two to three miles for every gallon of gas they used. Not only this, but people also said that their vehicles handled much better. These were likely cases where the engine desperately needs to breathe.
The shipping of K&N products is quick and cheap (free if your order is over ten dollars). The filters are also relatively easy to install, so you can start saving money right away.
Complaints about the product mainly have to do with shipping errors. In most cases, either K&N sends the wrong product or the customer orders the wrong parts. Make sure to be as specific as possible when ordering the part for your car, or else you may receive the wrong section. A few outliers also complained that the product did not increase their car’s miles per gallon. These occurred in cases involving Ford Taurus. However, it seems most cases saw an improvement in fuel efficiency and performance.
Extreme weather or terrain conditions can also damage K&N air filters. So people living in these types of environments should look into a more replaceable filter. Similarly, if you are cleaning or servicing the air filter, then make sure to watch out for how much oil you put in it. Too much fat can halt the flow of air through the screen and into the engine.
How K&N Air Filters Compare to Other Brands
To see if K&N air filters are genuinely the superior product, we compared them to three of the most popular brands of air filters on the market right now. We compare them to the cost and overall quality of the brands included.
Fram Air Filters for Cars
Fram is one of the most well-known names when it comes to automobile air filters. The company Fram certainly matches the versatility of K&N when it comes to air filters. Fram has an air filter for nearly every type of vehicle. The material is a paper/cardboard hybrid with a wavy cleaner and bright orange exterior and an aluminum mesh protector.
They are also cheaper than K&N air filters — between ten and twenty dollars depending on your vehicle. However, it is important to note that these filters typically only last 12,000 miles before needing to be replaced. Assuming you drove your truck 120,000 miles, you would need to change your filter ten times.
Purolator Auto Air Filters
When it comes to auto air filters, Purolator is one of the oldest companies that still lingers on. And there is a good reason for that — reasonable prices and solid material make this brand a favorite amongst many motorists. Purolator Auto makes air filters from a high-density fiber that claims to trap up to 99% of debris like dirt and dust. Though they still need to be replaced every 12,000 miles, like Fram, they also claim to improve the overall performance of whatever vehicle they place them. They cost between $10 to $20.
Mann-Filter Air Filters for Cars
Mann-Filters were once the premium brand air filters on the market, but competitive prices have driven their overall value down, which is good for the customer. They make the screens out of a cardboard/paper product. Mann-Filter increases fuel efficiency in the vehicles that are used in by around 10% according to the Department of Energy. They cost between ten and twenty dollars. Like the other two brands, they also need to be changed every 12,000 miles, or roughly every year for optimal performance.
What We Think of K&N Air Filters
While K&N used to be a brand associated with motor enthusiasts and NASCAR fans, it is now known as one of the top quality brands. It turns out; those speed junkies know a thing or two about how motors work. The technology used to increase acceleration and horsepower also contribute to fuel efficiency and overall engine health. As such, we believe K&N is one of the most superior products on the market right now.
Since K&N filters will save both fuel and the environment in the long run, we recommend this product for anyone wishing to get more out of their vehicle. If you care about increased performance and fuel efficiency, then K&N filters are for you. In addition to reducing waste, it is also simply more convenient to keep the same screen instead of buying new ones. Frankly, it makes more sense to buy one K&N instead of repeatedly buying ten different replaceable filters.
With that being said, if you rarely use your car — or only use it to drive a short distance — you may not wish to invest in a long-term air filter option. If this option is the case, then you would probably be better off purchasing a cheaper, but reliable air filter, like Fram products. Similarly, if you are living in a dusty or dry region that kicks up dirt most of the year, then K&N might not be the best solution. If you expose the filter to extreme conditions, then it will likely not last to its predicted warranty date.
Coupons and Deals for K&N Air Filters
There are several deals and coupons you can take advantage of on the website. The website knfilters.com offers free shipping for all orders over ten dollars. Additionally, if you purchase an air intake part, then you will receive a free filter wrap. Just use the code FILTERWRAP at the checkout.
We hope this article has been helpful during your decision-making process. There are lots of options when it comes to choosing an air filter. But we believe that a K&N air filter is the most solid choice you can make when it comes to car maintenance.