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Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox

Is a washable filter worth it?

9/13/2016

Many of us are running reusable, or washable, air filters in our vehicles. What a lot of us don’t know however is when we should clean them, or how we should clean them, for that matter. Most washable air filters should be cleaned and re-oiled at about 50,000 miles, as compared to replacing a paper filter around every 15,000 miles.

Cleaning your air filter isn’t very hard at all. Once you have it out of the car, thump it a few times to knock the heavy stuff off, then spray K&N Air Filter Cleaner over both sides of the filter. Soak it good for about ten minutes, making sure not to let it dry on the filter.

Next take a garden hose (or if your wife lets you do it in the sink) and rinse the filter cleaner off of the filter. It doesn’t take a lot of pressure; just let the water do the work. You may have to spray it with the cleaner again, it all depends on just how dirty the filter is.

Once it has been rinsed fully, let the filter dry on its own. It will take a while, so this is best to do on an afternoon when you don’t plan on taking the car out. Start at the crown of the filter rib, and apply the K&N Filter Oil evenly the length of the rib. Give it about 20 minutes to soak into the material again, and then you are good to re-install the filter and enjoy your classic for another 50,000 miles.

Now, some have said that the cost of all this is not worth the benefits. That’s understandable, but let us to lay out the true costs for you. We’ll use a 14”x4” round filter for this process.

Filter Costs:

K&N Filter Cleaner (x1): $11.00

K&N Filter Oil (x1): $6.00

Total: $79.00

That’s $79 (or so) for an air filter and enough cleaning agent for one cleaning. So a potential use of 100,000 miles. If you follow the standard 10,000 mile replacement recommendation for paper filters, that is 10 filters in 100,000 miles. At roughly $13 for the same size filter used above, that is roughly $130 dollars. Initial investment may sting a bit, but you will still save money over time by switching to a washable filter.

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