Achieve your car’s peak performance with the best engine air filters

·11-min read



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Are you sick of your vehicle’s sluggish performance? We’ve gathered the top engine air filters of 2022 to help your car run the way it should. While you might find yourself ignoring them when you bring your car to the shop, engine air filters need your attention! It’s important to filter the incoming air of debris, dirt, and other small particles to make sure that the engine receives clean air -- if it doesn’t, it can suffer. An engine can’t combust fuel without air, and the quality of air is directly related to the performance of the engine. These filters can wear out or clog with time, causing pressure on the engine and even some dust particles to make their way into it. This translates into decreased horsepower, reduced gas mileage, poor throttle performance, and many more undesirable consequences.

Engine maintenance requires durable, high-quality products to achieve peak vehicle performance. To direct you to the right ones, we’ve collected the highest-ranked engine air filters of 2022 along with some necessary buying tips in our handy buying guide.

Reviewing the finest engine air filters of 2022 in detail

Spearhead Engine Air Filter: Great pick

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This Spearhead thrust performance engine air filter is great for all mileage vehicles and can enhance your vehicle’s efficiency, trapping twice as much dust as a standard air filter can. It features a unique Hex-D pleat design with a large holding capacity to trap dirt, dust, and debris from the air, catching dirt without compromising airflow. These engine filters have multiple layers of filter media, which make sure that even the finest particles are trapped. They can provide your engine with clean air and optimal performance up to 15,000 miles, giving you more time between changes than similar air filters can offer.

Pros

  • Clear airflow for increased power efficiency

  • No contorting, customization or jamming is required

  • Maximum dirt protection with fine filter layers

Cons

  • It may require removing side pieces to fit

Epauto GP213 Replacement Panel Engine Air Filter: Another great option

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Next up on our list is this impressive EPAuto engine air filter. This air filter can generate clean air for your engine for up to 12,000 miles, and it has multiple layers that trap incoming dirt, dust, debris, and other potentially harmful particles before they can reach -- and damage -- your engine. This filter eases pressure on your engine, so you can expect to see improvements in your car’s fuel mileage as well. This air filter is pretty easy to install, with a simple unclipping and clipping mechanism, so you won’t have to visit a mechanic to get it all set up.

Pros

  • Generates fresh air for your vehicle  

  • Compatible with all kinds of cars

  • Helps extend vehicle power performance

Cons

  • Does not come pre-oiled 

Fram Extra Guard Air Filter: High quality

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This Fram engine air filter is engineered with multiple layers to stop dirt and contaminants in the air from reaching your car’s engine. You’ll be able to drive around worry-free for up to 12,000 miles after you install these filters and experience peak engine performance for a smooth, enjoyable ride. This advanced engine air filter has twice the engine protection capacity of competing air filters thanks to the large amounts of dirt that it can trap and hold back. It comes with an easy-to-use manual that you can follow to install the filter in half an hour or less, and it’s been through rigorous product testing and passed with flying colors, offering your vehicle top results.

Pros

  • Increases airflow for more acceleration, horsepower 

  • Large dirt-holding capacity 

  • Protects your engine for an extended period

Cons

  • Some experienced issues with returns

Ecogard XA10486 Engine Air Filter: Recommended

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This Ecogard engine air filter comes with layers of filter sheets that can ensure that your car’s engine receives clean air for optimal performance. It’s recommended to replace these filters after 12,000 miles, which is pretty impressive -- a lower-quality air filter wouldn’t be able to say the same. Installing a new one of these engine air filters allows only clean, fresh air into your engine, trapping all unwanted particles without having any negative impact on your vehicle’s performance. This filter decreases engine wear (since dirt won’t cause friction) and improves acceleration and power, meaning you can get better performance from your vehicle now and for years to come.

Pros

  • Quick and easy to install 

  • Enhances power and acceleration performance

  • Decreases engine wear

Cons

  • Short return/exchange window 

Motorcraft FA1883 Air Filter: Another option

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This Motorcraft engine air filter protects your car’s engine with premier screening that prevents abrasives like dust, carbon sand, debris, and other such particles from entering the engine. Its filter plates are made from a durable polyurethane material that ensures your engine runs on maximum efficiency for 12 months or more. This engine filter features a leak-proof design with special seals that can work better than plastisol seals. It’s strong and durable enough to withstand damage from moisture and oil and can last you quite a long time. This filter is also fairly easy to install if you follow the instructions in the included manual.

Pros

  • Factory fit makes it simple to install

  • Consistent pleat spacing for maximum protection

  • Protects against engine wear

Cons

  • Some found the packaging poor 

Buyer’s guide: Finding your top-of-the-line engine air filter

Buying an engine air filter is tricky. You need to make sure that it’s the right fit for your car, and that it’s capable of delivering the performance you desire -- this means checking a few characteristics other than just the filter’s compatibility with your vehicle. Here’s a buying guide that can tell you more about how to find the right engine air filter in 2022.

Types of engine air filters

There are three kinds of engine air filters:

Reusable engine air filters

Air filters are mostly custom-fit based on your vehicle’s model and build. The top high-performance engine air filters can be reusable if you take care to keep them clean. Replacement air filters are made to help your engine reach its maximum potential as it manages fuel economy and increases horsepower. Reusable engine air filters are more expensive than paper filters but offer superior performance.

Paper engine air filters

This is the most common kind of air filter on the market, and there’s a fair chance that your vehicle came with this kind of filter. These air filters aren’t very pricey and do a great job of filtering out harmful particles from the air. Paper air filters usually need to be replaced every 15-30,000 miles, but the replacement period also depends on where you drive the vehicle -- if you drive dirt roads frequently or live near a polluted area, you’ll need to replace your paper engine air filters more often.

Oil engine air filters

This air filter comes coated in oil. Dirt and debris from the air become trapped on the oily layer, letting clean air can pass through to the engine. An oiled filter is proven to offer cleaner air and better engine performance than other types of air filters. They’re reusable, and you’ll need to clean and re-oil them occasionally, but they should also be pretty long-lasting.

What should I look for when buying an engine air filter?

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when shopping around for an engine air filter:

Compatibility 

You should always check if the car air filter you’re considering is designed for the model and make of your vehicle. You can also use the stock size filter that’s already in your car to help make this comparison. If you’ve added a supercharger, turbo, or made any other modifications, you’ll need a performance filter. 

Area 

Engine air filters need to have multiple layers to trap all dirt and debris. Filters with more grooves in their design can trap more contaminants than those with a flatter surface, so you should always go for filters with multiple folds and pleats. 

Longevity 

Examine the overall construction of the air filter, from its material to the filter’s build. Consider whether it will hold up to general wear over time. 

Temperature resistance

High-quality air filters come with a robust temperature management system, and this is an important consideration if you live in a warm climate -- an engine air filter shouldn’t heat up, as this can seriously affect the vehicle. 

Installation 

Many engine air filters are easy to install, and you can do so by yourself in just a few minutes. To avoid any unnecessary headaches, you should still make sure that the filter comes with a clear, illustrated instruction manual that can help you install it correctly. 

Engine air filter maintenance and care tips

A few useful tips to remember:

  • Never buy an engine air filter without checking the size chart. You should also consult the manual to make sure you get the right air filter that’s made to fit your car’s specific make and model

  • Regularly clean and/or replace the air filter, as not doing so can harm your vehicle’s emission control system and affect fuel efficiency and horsepower. Check the instructions from the manufacturer for the miles or length of time they recommend between replacements

  • Make sure that the filter is leak-proof

  • Check if the air filter is capable of protecting the engine from small airborne particles and water -- water protection prevents water from reaching the engine no matter how heavy it’s raining

  • If you have an oil-based engine air filter, make sure that the oil is dense. It shouldn’t be light and slippery, or else it will simply flow into the engine along with the particles it’s supposed to trap

Benefits of using/replacing engine air filters

A few things that engine air filters can help out with include:

Increased engine life

If you’re driving around without an air filter, get ready for serious repairs -- and repair bills -- in the near future. Without an air filter, dirt, debris, and other small particles will enter your engine directly from the air and move into the combustion chamber and throttle body. This impacts and damages your engine’s internal components, including the piston rings, cylinder walls, and valve seats. Engine air filters keep particles from entering and causing friction between these parts to protect your engine. 

Increases efficiency

Another benefit of an engine air filter is a boost in performance. High-quality car air filters support a steady airflow that restricts contaminants from reaching the intake manifold and valve train. Your car needs proper airflow to efficiently burn gas and perform, and installing air filters and replacing them when they need to be replaced can also give you more horsepower. 

Environmental protection

Driving a vehicle with a dirty air filter, or no air filters at all is not only bad for your car but for our environment as well. When airflow to the engine is restricted, this affects emission control and results in the emission of pollutants into the air. Engine air filters make sure that the engine works fine and all of its components perform at their peak so that vehicle emissions stay clean as well. 

Cost-effective

A clogged engine filter makes it hard for air to pass through -- because of this, the engine has to work harder to pull in the fresh air. This eventually decreases gas efficiency and costs you more money, and as the engine has to labor more it wears out faster and piles up tons of repair bills that can hurt your wallet. 

Conclusion

Many of us spend at least a quarter of our day out on the road, some of us even more, and there’s nothing worse than driving a car that’s struggling to be driven. Many brands make high-quality air filters, and some great aftermarket options too -- when you’re out shopping for one, make sure that you consider a few things, such as the filter’s size, design, durability, and more to find the right fit for your vehicle. 

This article is designed to help you in your search. We’ve explored, picked, and reviewed some of the leading engine air filters in 2022 for you and gathered maintenance tips, buying tips, and all the related information that you could ever need to make a solid engine air filter purchase. 

Engine Air Filter FAQs

Q: Should I get a washable air filter?

Washable air filters aren’t as beneficial as one might think, and it’s even been observed that they allow more dirt into the engine. With this in mind, it’s probably better to avoid them.

Q: Will removing the air filters increase the power?

No, removing air filters doesn’t increase horsepower.  

Q: How do you know it’s time to change the air filter?

If you’re experiencing poor throttle control, slow acceleration, or ignition issues, your engine probably needs its air filter replaced. You might also observe gas inefficiency, which means a new air filter is required. 

Q: Which air filter is better? A 2-inch filter or a 1-inch filter?

Variations in the thickness of an engine air filter give different results. Thicker air filters are better than thinner ones as they’re able to trap more dirt. 

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