You’ve most likely heard some 4×4 vehicles sounding different although they are the same model and make, and have the same stock exhaust system, including the same type of mufflers and you wonder – why do they sound so different? The answer is quite simple, even though it goes over a lot of people’s heads – the air filter. The stock exhaust air filter and an aftermarket high-flow air filter both make the exhaust system sound differently.
High-flow air filters are one of the most popular exhaust 4Wd accessories for numerous reasons. But let’s first start at the basics of an air filter. Air filters are a pleated multi-layer, oil impregnated mesh that’s made of surgical cotton or some other fabric. Its main purpose is to clean the air going inside the engine system, reduce turbulence and restrict unwanted particles that go in alongside the air from getting into the engine.
In other words, a high-flow air filter protects the internal, integral parts of your engine from wear and failure, thus prolonging their life-span significantly. Typically, one is picked on basis of the maximum operating speed and displacement after measuring the effective filtering area necessary.
Moreover, it’s one of those 4Wd accessories that increase performance by allowing more air to get into your engine, compared to the stock filter. That in turn results in an improved combustion process that leads to more power and peak torque output. Additional to the performance improvements, it improves the fuel economy of the vehicle, and the throttle response.
Another significant advantage high-flow air filters have other regular filters, is the fact that you don’t need to replace them on a yearly basis, as they don’t get clogged as easy. When air filters get clogged, the engine has a hard time “breathing”, and that decreases its performance. High-flow air filters don’t clog as easy, and all you have to do is clean them once or twice a year. A good quality high-flow air filter can be used for several years.
However, installing a low quality high-flow air filter can also have its disadvantages, although they’re not guaranteed to happen. For instance, some debris and other contaminants can get to the engine easier, as the filter allows more air inside the engine or water splashed from the road can get soaked by the filter, and it can make its way to the engine. That being said, always shop for quality, even though you might have to pay slightly more for it.