Monthly Archives: July 2018

Cabin Air Filters For Your Car

Fittingly, therefore, each year AAFA asks the President of the United States to officially declare May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. And, the first Tuesday of May is World Asthma Day. This year it is May 6th.

While most people who suffer from asthma and allergies know they can use air filters to control the allergens in their homes, few are aware that there is a similar device for their vehicle. Called a “cabin air filter,” this device is especially designed by automakers to ensure that the air one breathes inside a vehicle is clean and free from environmental pollutants when the windows are rolled up.

More than 100 million vehicles on the road in the U.S. today are equipped with cabin air filters. The owner’s manual will tell you if your car is equipped with one or not. Typically, the cabin air filter is located behind the glove box, under the hood near the windshield or under the dash.

“Normally, while driving – especially if one happens to suffer from asthma or allergies – the tendency is to roll up the windows to prevent breathing in dirty outside air,” said Kevin O’Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications for MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters, supplier of a variety of automotive filters to the North American aftermarket. “However, if the car’s cabin air filter is clogged, the occupants inside could be breathing in six times the contaminants than they would had the windows been down.” O’Dowd said.

A clean cabin air filter keeps the air inside the car clean and protects the driver and passengers against the “bad stuff.” This could include both – the invasion of pollutants from the air outside as well as “blowing” the dirt residing within the clogged air filter back into the interior of the vehicle.

Purolator offers BreatheEASY® cabin air filters in two styles depending on the part number, said O’Dowd. One is a particulate filter, and the other is an upgrade to an activated charcoal filter that has the ability to filter out noxious gases and unpleasant odors. A used cabin air filter can be replaced with either type, regardless of which was installed by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Replacement is generally simple for a do-it yourselfer (DIYer) or professional technician and many Purolator BreatheEASY cabin air filters come with detailed vehicle-specific installation instructions. Most can be installed in approximately 15 minutes.

Car may not be cooling fast enough

If your car’s A/C system is not cooling you off in a reasonable time frame to make you happy, take it to your service professional for an A/C check-up. Here’s what he or she will look at: • Is the compressor weak? It may build up pressure slowly, or require high rpm to produce normal pressures, so it takes a while to produce adequate cooling. A pressure test should indicate this problem. • Outside air flap not closing. When the system is in Max A/C, the flap should be closed. Unless the flap is closed, hot outside air dilutes the effect of A/C, producing slow cool down. • Is the temperature (blend-air) door operating correctly? This doesn’t have to be an either-it-is-or-it-isn’t proposition.

 

If the temperature door isn’t in the Max Cool position, the heater core may contribute enough heat to slow down the cooling. Eventually, particularly when the system is set in Max A/C, the A/C may overcome a small heating effect. Even if there is a heater coolant control valve and it’s fully closed, a temperature door even just partly in the wrong position can slow down the cooling by redirecting some of the airflow through the heater. • Heater coolant valve failing to close completely, if at all. The temperature door may be in the right position, but on some systems hot coolant in the core still contributes enough heat to the HVAC case to slow cool down. • Is there a problem with the radiator fan? If it’s a clutch fan, it may be engaging late. If it’s an electric fan, it may be coming on late. In either case, the effect is to reduce airflow (thus affecting cooling), particularly in low speed driving and idle operation.

 

When the fan finally engages or comes on, the condensing improves and the A/C cooling improves. • Was the system retrofitted? We’re certainly not against retrofit, and we know it’s commonly done when an old compressor fails. But too often, the only parts replaced are the compressor and receiver-dryer, or the compressor, accumulator and orifice tube. On a system designed for R12, unless you do a complete retrofit, performance may be measurably lower. We all know there are many systems that just don’t do well with a basic retrofit, even if it includes a compressor replacement. • Any HVAC case air leaks? If the seals between the case and the cowl are deteriorated, hot engine compartment air gets blown into the case and the passenger compartment. It can take a really long time for the A/C to overcome that. • Slightly low on refrigerant. With some of today’s lower capacity systems, this can account for a huge difference in performance. Today, most systems have capacities of 14 to 32 ounces, so a five-ounce loss is substantial. If this sounds technical and complex, it is!

Breathing clean air contributes to a long and healthy life

In short, if dirt gets inside an engine it can adversely affect a vehicle’s overall performance and long life. “The air filtration system in an automobile works much like the respiratory system in our bodies,” said Kevin O’Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications for MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters, a leading supplier of automotive filters to the aftermarket in North America. A vehicle ingests as much as 10,000 gallons of air to burn a single gallon of fuel and, air along roads and highways contains all manner of contaminants such as soot, dirt, leaves, straw, tiny bits of rubber, etc. Large quantities of unfiltered air entering the engine compartment can damage critical engine components and cause cylinder wear, said O’Dowd. So what really makes a quality air filter? “’Capacity’ and ‘efficiency’ in capturing the dirt before it enters the engine combustion chamber are two of the most important criteria that determine the quality of an air filter,” said O’Dowd. “Capacity is the amount of dirt the filter can hold before it begins to restrict air flow and efficiency describes how well it performs its job.” Mo

dern engines that are built to be more fuel-efficient and have smaller orifices and tighter tolerances call for engine air filters that can trap even the smallest particle of dirt threatening to enter the system. For instance, Purolator’s PureONE air filter’s oil-wetted, high-capacity media offers twice the capacity of conventional filters to trap contaminants smaller than the size of a grain of sand and is 99.5 percent efficient over a range of 1-200 microns using A4 coarse test dust. This means it traps 99.5 percent of particles that size or larger. Likewise, Purolator Classic air filter’s multi-fiber, high-density media traps 96.5 percent of contaminants. Why design and construction of an air filter are important The design and construction of an air filter also determines how well it supplies an engine’s need for clean air. Today’s more sophisticated fuel-injected engines normally use a flat, rectangular panel-type air filter featuring a specially formulated paper or cellulose media that removes particulates while maintaining minimum resistance to air flow. Air filters that claim to remove really small particles may have too much resistance to air flow. Other suppliers may claim to sell filters with very little resistance to air flow but actually achieve that by opening up the pores and allowing bigger particles to enter the engine.

Either alternative may harm your car’s engine. The goal, therefore, is to use a filter that strikes the best balance between capturing contaminants and not restricting air flow. Furthermore, the media in a panel-type filter is attached to a binding so it can hold its shape. If the adhesive used to attach the media to the binding framework is of inferior quality, it may melt or soften due to high under-hood temperatures. This may cause the media to pull away leaving a gap and allowing unfiltered air to enter the engine and do damage. Or, if the air filter begins to get clogged, the engine vacuum can suck in the media, once again allowing unfiltered air to bypass and enter the engine compartment. Most people should change their vehicle’s engine air filter once a year or 12,000 miles unless you’re driving in unusually dirty or dusty conditions said O’Dowd. Because of the long intervals between changes it’s important to install the best filter possible for reliable and efficient filtering. “The good news is, changing your car’s air filter is quick, easy and inexpensive,” O’Dowd said. Older cars often had a radial air filter resting in a round housing under a lid held in place by a wing nut. Today’s more advanced fuel-injected engines normally use a flat, rectangular panel-type air filter that resides in black plastic duct work in the engine compartment.

Usually, all you need is to release several clamps, separate the housing halves, lift out the old filter, and install the new one. It’s that simple, O’Dowd said. What it finally boils down to … In the final analysis, it’s always best to opt for a name brand filter whose quality and design features are reliable and well documented, says O’Dowd. “Experience and documented innovation are key considerations with a product like an engine air filter that can have a major influence on the life of a $4,000 automobile engine. Think about it, if you need surgery, you will certainly want an experienced surgeon who has performed many operations and who has a track record of successful outcomes.”

Check by Driving this Holiday Season

Over-priced airline ticket – check. Excessive baggage fees – check. Long security lines and airport delays – check. Rather than embarking on an expensive, stress-filled trip by air, the Car Care Council advises that driving is the way to go to keep costs and stress in check this holiday season.

“Holiday travel by air is always hectic and expensive. Add in baggage fees, crowded airports, fewer flights and long lines, and flying does not seem so friendly,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “When you consider that a family of four traveling by car costs about the same as one person traveling by air, driving is clearly the better option.”

In addition to the obvious direct cost savings, going by car offers a number of advantages over flying including:

  • Leave when you want from where you want.
  • No airport parking.
  • No waiting in long ticket counter and security lines.
  • No weather delays.
  • Pack whatever and as much as you want.
  • Stop and stretch any time.
  • More and better meal options.
  • No rental car or taxi expenses.
  • More legroom and overall comfort.
  • No strangers sitting next to you.
  • Convenience and ease of taking your pet with you.
  • Better able to enjoy the ride.

Car Care for New Drivers

It’s never too early to learn the ABCs of car care, says the Car Care Council.

  • A – Always follow a preventative vehicle maintenance plan.
  • B – Be sure to have your car inspected when you suspect there is a problem.
  • C – Correct the problem to help avoid the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down away from home.

“Most young people can’t wait to drive, but their car care education should begin well before their parents hand over the keys,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Understanding the basics of car care before taking the wheel will help keep new drivers safer on the road.”

The Car Care Council recommends that new drivers keep a free copy of its popular Car Care Guide in the glove box and learn about 10 car care inspection procedures that are an important part of any preventative vehicle maintenance plan:

  1. Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  2. Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
  3. Check the battery and replace if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
  4. Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  5. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
  6. Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
  7. Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.
  8. Inspect the steering and suspension system annually including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
  9. Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  10. Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.