Category Archives: Automotive

Automotive air filters were simple to find

A quick wipe of the debris out of the bottom of the housing, and you could drop in the new filter, replace the lid and wing nut, and be on your way.

But now, with the trend toward smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient cars, the engine compartment has become smaller therefore reducing the manufactures options to place the air intake as well as the air filter which allows for clean, fresh, cool air to enter the engine for optimal performance.

According to Kevin O’Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications at MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters NA LLC, the result is that you’ll find some very creative sizes, shapes, and locations of engine air filters in today’s cars. This means that air filters are not where you are used to finding them. The good news is, once you know where they’re located, they’re almost always very simple to replace.

Where Do You Look?
In general, expect to find your air filter located somewhere in the (usually black plastic) duct work that runs from the grille area to the top area of the engine. Your clue is usually a series of 4-6 “flip clips” that unsnap to reveal your air filter after separating a piece of the housing formerly held in place by the flip clips. With the air filter element now exposed, you can simply lift it out, noting the orientation so you can install your new filter properly.

In some cases, you’ll need to scan the full length of the duct work to locate the filter housing, explains O’Dowd. The filter may be located as far front as right behind a headlight, somewhere in the middle, or right over top of the engine. And not all filter housings use flip clips. Some use Phillips-head screws to hold the housing in place. Other applications may use hex bolts and/or nuts.

What Can You Expect To Find?
Most of today’s air filters are of a flat panel design, which minimizes space requirements while offering the maximum surface area for optimal filtration with minimal restriction to air flow. And most, but not all, are square or rectangular in shape. But some are trapezoidal in order to make the best use of available space. Also, some are mounted vertically, some horizontally, and some at an angle. Some may even be found in a tray similar to the CD-ROM tray in a computer where you simply slide the tray out, replace the air filter element, and slide the tray back in.

Just to make things even more interesting, some air filter elements in newer cars are not of the flat panel type, but may be cylindrical or conical in shape. In nearly every instance this shape is dictated by the car maker in consideration of the space available under the hood, however the replacement procedure is usually straightforward.

Once you’ve located and gained access to the old air filter, the actual replacement couldn’t be simpler, says our Purolator spokesman. Just lift out the old filter, noting the orientation (top and bottom, front and back) to facilitate installation of the new filter. Then wipe out the housing with a clean, damp rag, properly orient the new filter, and replace the housing and retaining clips or hardware.

“The cost of a new air filter is modest,” explains O’Dowd, “so we find that most professionals and DIYers opt for our premium PureONE air filter which is 99.5 percent efficient and has twice the capacity of conventional air filters. Obviously the labor is no more complex to install a premium filter, and the job is well within the capability of nearly every do-it-yourselfer, so there’s little reason to install anything less than the best filter available.”

“Plus, there’s much help available,” continues O’Dowd. “Your local repair shop technician can quickly and easily point out the location and procedure for replacing your air filter, as will the parts professional at your local auto parts store.”

Six key systems before the temperatures start to drop

The Car Care Council strongly recommends that all vehicle owners check six key systems before the temperatures start to drop.

  • Battery -Keep the battery connections clean, tight and corrosion-free. Cold weather is hard on batteries – your local mechanic can check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail completely so it’s wise to replace batteries that are more than three years old.
  • Antifreeze – Antifreeze (coolant) should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. As a reminder, do not add 100 percent antifreeze as full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when mixed with water.
  • Brakes – Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item and is key while driving on icy or snow-covered roads.
  • Tires – Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires will lose pressure when temperatures drop.
  • Oil – Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to low-viscosity oil in winter, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold. Drivers in sub-zero driving temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
  • Wiper Blades – Cold weather can affect the life of windshield wipers. Freezing temperatures can make the rubber hard and brittle and increase the potential for cracks. Wiper blades that are cracked or torn, or that chatter, streak and don’t properly clean your windshield, should be changed. Some manufacturers offer special winter blades that have a rubber boot covering the arm assembly to keep snow and ice out. When changing the blades, have the windshield wiper system nozzles cleaned and adjusted if necessary, and check the windshield washer reservoir in case it needs fluid.

“Checking these six key systems in your vehicle ahead of time will give you confidence when you’re driving in brutal winter conditions,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Vehicle maintenance is always more convenient when you’re doing it on your schedule, and a few easy preventive measures can save you the headaches and cost of an emergency breakdown.”

During the winter, the Car Care Council recommends keeping your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full as that decreases the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Finally, if you’re due for a tune-up, consider having it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.

Take Better Care of Your Car

Most people make new year’s resolutions. Resolving to lose weight and exercise can be tough ones to keep, but resolving to take better care of your car has never been easier with the free online custom service schedule from the non-profit Car Care Council.

“Signing up for our free customized service schedule and e-mail reminder service is a simple way to help you take better care of your vehicle throughout the year,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “It is an easy-to-use resource designed to help you drive smart, save money and make informed decisions about preventative vehicle maintenance.”

The Car Care Council’s personalized online schedule and e-mail reminder service, powered by, is free of charge and can be customized by motorists to help make vehicle ownership more enjoyable, economical and convenient.

“Whether you do it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, following a preventative maintenance schedule will help keep your vehicle safe, dependable and on the road longer,” said White.

To help consumers become more comfortable with the auto service and repair process, the Car Care Council produced a video entitled “Auto Service and Repair: What to Expect,” which provides a wealth of information on such topics as finding the right auto repair facility, what to expect at the shop and what questions to ask.

Vehicle maintenance steps

“The thought of a breakdown, an engine not starting or otherwise being stranded is scary as it is, but those things happening in freezing winter weather adds another level of fear,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “An investment of an hour or so to have your vehicle checked will pay off and help make sure your winter driving is less frightful and more delightful.”

The Car Care Council recommends the following steps for winterizing your vehicle:

  • Check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
  • Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  • Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. Typically, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  • If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
  • Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
  • Check the brakes. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety component.
  • Inspect the exhaust system for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
  • Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.
  • Be diligent about changing the oil at recommended intervals as dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.

Motorists should also keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Drivers should check the tire pressure of the spare in the trunk and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

The Best Possible Oil Change

Getting an oil change on your car according to the maintenance schedule specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual is probably the single best thing you can do to maintain its longevity. Otherwise, in a very short time, you may have to say ‘goodbye’ to what may be your second largest investment.

However, all oil changes are not alike. And whether you do it yourself or have it done for you by a professional, the same rules will apply.

So how can you make sure that your vehicle gets the best possible oil change? Simply follow the tips outlined below.

1. Allow your vehicle’s engine to warm up fully. Once an engine is warmed up completely, all the dirt particles and contaminants that settled at the bottom of the oil pan when the engine was off get churned up and suspended in the oil. This will ensure that most of the contaminants get removed when the oil is drained. In other words, they will be drained out with the old oil.

2. Make sure the vehicle is level when the oil is being drained. This enables the old, dirty oil to drain out as completely as possible.

3. Examine the waste oil as it is draining into the pan – look and feel. Look for signs of contamination such as water because with every drain, water will settle at the bottom of the pan. Also, feel for bits of metal which could suggest internal engine problems. You may not have noticed the last time you took your car in for an oil change but a good mechanic normally will run his fingers through the oil while it is draining to ‘feel’ for grit, metal and other contaminants that signal possible engine problems.

4. Remove and inspect the old filter carefully. Most modern cars use a spin-on oil filter. Spin-on oil filters were invented in 1955 by Purolator, today, the supplier of high quality oil, air, cabin air, fuel and transmission filters as well as PCV valves and breathers to the North American aftermarket and car manufacturers. Most important, when removing the filter, make sure that the gasket sealing ring comes off with the filter. If it does not, use your fingernail to pry it loose and remove it.

5. Now choose your new filter carefully. Select one that has been manufactured by a company widely known for the quality and efficiency of its filtration products like Purolator for example. Purolator has been in the business for the last 90 years since it introduced the first automotive filter in 1923.

“The performance of a filter is determined by its efficiency in capturing contaminants and its capacity to hold that debris,” said Kevin O’Dowd, spokesman for MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters. Purolator’s premium grade PureONE oil filter, for example, is 99.9 percent efficient and can hold up to 13 grams of debris, the equivalent of 31 standard size paper clips. Purolator Classic oil filter, on the other hand, according to O’Dowd, features a multi-fiber high-density media that holds back engine-damaging dirt and pollutants and is 97.5 percent efficient in capturing contaminants. Where applicable, both filters also feature an anti-drainback valve that protects against engine dry stars.

6. Install the filter properly. Make sure to coat the sealing ring with fresh motor oil and install it hand tight only. Purolator PureONE’s unique 100 percent grip control feature keeps fingers from slipping and makes installation trouble-free at any angle. Additionally, its PTFE-treated sealing gasket makes removal and installation easy and problem-free. Purolator Classic features an internally lubricated Nitrile gasket that makes filter removal easier.

7. Choose the correct grade of new oil. Oil is the lifeblood of the engine and choosing the appropriate grade will ensure proper performance. Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct service designation. It will be specified as an API (American Petroleum Institute) rating. If you happen to be working on a vehicle with a diesel engine, then remember it requires oil that is specifically formulated for diesel service and has a separate API rating. While there are pros and cons to using synthetic oil versus conventional oil, you can’t go wrong if you follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual.

8. Choose the correct viscosity or thickness of oil. It will vary by make and model of car and the climate in which the vehicle is operating. The viscosity of the oil will be specified in the owner’s manual as an SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) number. For example, a typical multi-grade oil is the 5W30. Choosing the proper thickness of oil can affect cold starting, engine protection and fuel economy. For example, 5W-30 oil chemically ‘acts’ like fairly thin 5 weight oil in cold weather to all for easier engine starts, yet ‘acts’ like thicker 30 weight oil when it’s hot to afford more protection under conditions in which you’d expect oil to get thinner as it gets hotter.

Change Your Cars Engine

Thinking along the same lines, what would you say then are the odds of damaging your engine if your engine air filter fails?

Consider this: Your engine ingests about 10,000 gallons of air for every gallon of fuel it consumes. If your gas tank holds 18 gallons of fuel, your engine will ingest 180,000 gallons of air for every tank full of gas it uses. Say you’ve decided to take a road trip to your vacation destination 500 miles away – a 1,000-mile round trip.  If your car consumes 50 gallons of fuel at 20 miles per gallon, it means your engine will handle about 500,000 gallons of air on this trip alone.  What, then, would the odds be of damaging your engine if your engine air filter fails? Much higher than you realize, one should think.

When it comes to changing your car’s engine air filter, stacking the odds in your favor and minimizing the ones that are against you is definitely the safer and cheaper alternative. Change your car’s engine air filter at least once a year.

According to Kevin O’Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications at MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters, manufacturer and supplier of top quality filters to the North American aftermarket,“If you are planning to keep your car for a long time, as many motorists are in this tight economy, and want to ensure that it provides the best performance it is capable of, it’s not enough to only change the oil and filter regularly. It’s equally important to change the engine air filter at least once a year – more frequently if you live or drive in more dirty and dusty conditions. ”

Explaining the logic behind his advice, O’Dowd said, “The easiest route for particulates to enter a vehicle’s engine is through the air induction system and, therefore, through your engine’s air filter. Abrasive dust, dirt and other pollutants that enter through the air intake ducts while you are driving can damage a car’s internal engine components, increase wear and tear and ultimately compromise the engine’s power, performance and life. ”

This is more likely if a car’s engine air filter has not been changed in a while or perhaps is torn or split due to neglect. It will let dirt enter the engine and make its way past pistons and piston rings and into the oil supply potentially destroying key internal components. More important, once the damage sets in, there is no turning back. The dirt that has entered the engine may well have damaged the valves and valve seats, the piston rings and cylinder walls, and the engine bearings. This may ultimately require replacing your entire engine at a cost of $4,000 or more, plus all the aggravation that accompanies such an experience.

“To select a good quality engine air filter,” said O’Dowd, “requires knowing its ‘capacity’ and ‘efficiency’ in capturing the dirt before it enters the engine combustion chamber.  These are the two most important criteria that determine the protection it will offer. 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,” he said.

Modern engines are built to be more fuel-efficient and have smaller orifices and tighter tolerances and call for engine air filters that can trap even the smallest particle of dirt that can enter the system.

Purolator’s PureONE air filter’s oil-wetted, high-capacity media, for instance, 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. 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.

So you can be 99.5 percent confident that a new PureONE engine air filter will keep harmful contaminants out of your engine and 100 percent confident that a torn air filter will allow damaging debris to enter your engine. The only unknowns will be how quickly and badly your engine will be damaged.

“The good news is, changing your car’s air filter is almost always quick, easy and inexpensive,” O’Dowd said. Modern, more advanced fuel-injected engines normally use a flat, rectangular panel-type air filter that is located 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.

Select a name-brand filter whose quality and design features are reliable and well documented, he said. “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. 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,” he said.

Driving a vehicle with cabin air filters

Cabin air filters capture potentially harmful particulates so they are not recycled into the passenger compartment and compromise the driving comfort of the people in the vehicle.

Normally, motorists roll down their windows to get ‘fresh’ air. Instead, you may want to roll up the windows to prevent the environmental pollutants from entering your vehicle because, whether you turn on the air conditioning or open the fresh air vent, the cabin air filter will provide clean, fresh air while filtering out the environmental pollutants.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ( 60 million Americans (one in every five) suffer from asthma and seasonal allergies and the numbers are increasing. To highlight the problem and related issues with children and adults, May has been declared National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

“For people who suffer from a respiratory-related illnesses or those who are passionate about breathing clean air, cabin air filters are an extremely useful feature on vehicles,” said Kevin O’Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications at MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters NA LLC.

Inventor of the first automotive oil filter in 1923, Purolator offers premium quality BreatheEASY® cabin air filters for most domestic and imported vehicles. Purolator’s BreatheEASY cabin air filters feature a non-woven, engineered media that traps even the finest particles of harmful dust, soot and pollen, adsorbs most toxic odors, and reduces the accumulation of dust inside the car.

A cabin air filter may also be called a pollen filter, air-conditioning filter, passenger compartment air filter, interior ventilation filter or dust filter.

Two kinds of cabin filters are available for modern vehicles – the particulate cabin filter and the activated charcoal cabin filter. The particulate cabin filter features a multi-layer design with pleats that provide more surface area to filter out pollutants. Other features include foam perimeter gaskets and an injection-molded frame when specified by the vehicle manufacturer. The activated charcoal cabin filter goes a step further. It adsorbs most toxic and foul-smelling gases such as ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and hydrocarbons. The additional cover layer makes for extra protection.

Purolator offers both particulate type and activated charcoal type cabin filters for many vehicles, and you can replace a used cabin filter with either type, regardless of which was installed by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Recent estimates show that since 2001 approximately 45 million vehicles in the U.S. have been factory-equipped with cabin air filters. Refer to your owner’s manual or check with your technician to see if your vehicle has one. The cabin air filter may be located behind the glove box, under the hood near the windshield, or under the dash.

According to O’Dowd, the time it takes to install a cabin air filter professionally or otherwise varies with the make and model of the vehicle. Each Purolator BreatheEASY cabin air filter comes with a vehicle-specific instruction sheet that shows the location of the filter as well as gives step-by-step installation instructions.

Automotive Master Technician

Every sensor on or in a computer-controlled car or truck talks to the “on-board PC” in a kind of language you’ve never heard or seen. All of the inputs are in a voltage-speak and are all numbers. All of these signals to and from the PC travel in and out at up to 300 times per second. That is some party line!

Your PC knows the amount of air going into or being inhaled by the engine. It knows the temperature of the air, the barometric pressure, the outside temperature, if it’s raining and if the engine is pinging. It knows if the engine has too much fuel or too little fuel being delivered to it. It knows the temperature of the coolant and the catalytic converter, and it knows how cold it is inside the car and how that compares to the temperature you are requesting.

Most of the voltages start at zero and have a high end of 5, 8 or 12 volts. For instance, 1.0v means low and 5.0v means high. Or 1.0 means cold and 5.0 means hot, hot, hot.

But most scanners convert these numbers to a range we can understand, like 20 grams or 212F or 45% throttle.

The mass air flow sensor (MAF) tells the PC how much air is flowing into the engine; we read that data in grams. So a little air means no foot on the throttle and lots of air means foot to the floor. Think of the mass air flow sensor as a goal post with a filament across the top arms. It actually looks like the filament inside a clear light bulb.

The PC sends voltage to the filament and then monitors the electricity needed to keep it warm or hot. The MAF starts lying when this filament gets covered with trash, bugs and dirt. Pretend you are in a tunnel and naked. You could easily tell how much air is flowing thru this tunnel and what the temperature is. How good of a job could you do if I covered you with 5 layers of clothing, gloves, hats and full face coverings? That is exactly what happens to your MAF: it gets covered up and starts lying about its environment.

We want to see about 5-10 grams depending on the size of the engine. This gram number determines fuel trim. A dirty MAF won’t see all the air, so it tells the PC to trim the fuel down. 1 gram at idle is a problem.

So if you want to save yourself from $45 to over $100, go to the auto parts store. Ask them to point out where the MAF is located on your car, and ask them to show you what it looks like. You may need special tools. Then buy some CRC Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner. The CRC product was developed specifically for cleaning this very delicate sensor.

Pull the negative battery cable. Remove the MAF sensor. DO NOT touch the filament. DO NOT get your wife’s toothbrush out and scrub it. If you damage it, you just cost yourself hundreds of dollars. Just spray it off like you would spray a small painted wire with carburetor cleaner when you only want to remove the paint. Do it maybe 3-4 times and once every 30-40,000 miles.

Let it dry, reinstall, connect the battery and drive away. It will take the PC just a few hours to reset those parameters that just changed because the MAF is now cleaner and working more precisely.

Tips Help Save Money of Car Care Council

Consumers’ pain at the pump is back with gas prices rising for 33 consecutive days according to the Washington Post and the average price of gas moving closer to $4 per gallon. No need to worry, says the Car Care Council. A few simple and inexpensive vehicle maintenance tips can help alleviate the pain.

“You can’t control the price of gas, but you can control how much gas you burn by performing proper maintenance and how you drive. Performing simple and inexpensive maintenance can save as much as $1,200 per year in gas costs,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council offers these gas-saving maintenance tips:

  • Keep your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.
  • Keep tires properly inflated and improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent.
  • Replace dirty or clogged air filters and improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
  • Improve gas mileage by 1-2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil.

Driving behavior also impacts fuel efficiency. The council offers these gas saving driving tips:

  • Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 50 mph. Each 5 mph over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.25 per gallon for gas, according to
  • Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Warming up the vehicle for one or two minutes is sufficient.
  • Avoid quick starts and stops. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.
  • Consolidate trips. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much gas as one longer multi-purpose trip.
  • Don’t haul unneeded items in the trunk. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces fuel economy up to 2 percent.

Treat Your Engine Nice

We all know that the Golden Rule reads, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Well, here’s your chance to implement that rule and enhance the life and value of your car at the same time. Over the last decade or so we’ve learned that breathing dirty air can be hazardous to our health. The same logic applies to the engine in your car, SUV, or light truck or van. Keeping the inside of your engine clean will keep it healthy, longer, and will enhance its value if you decide to sell or trade it. MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters is one of the largest suppliers of filters for cars and trucks, so they know a thing or two about treating engines nice, and their spokesman Kevin O’Dowd offers the following advice: “Internal engine parts are made to extreme levels of precision.


For instance, hydraulic valve lifters are manufactured to tolerances as stringent as one ten thousandths of an inch (0.0001”). So even tiny particles can interfere with the engine’s operation, and can cause damage to piston rings, engine bearings, and other critical engine components.” Filters are the guardians of your engine, and can do a very effective job of preventing potentially damaging particulates from getting to where they don’t belong. The three key filters protecting your engine are its oil filter, its air filter, and its fuel filter. Here’s what you need to know about each type. Oil Filters During the course of normal engine operation particles can collect in the engine oil. These particles can include bits of carbon resulting from combustion, pieces of engine gaskets and seals that can erode over time, and even small bits of metal that can flake/break off of various engine parts. O’Dowd suggests that an oil filter can capture and safely hold such particulates, but the protection depends on the quality of the oil filter and the frequency with which it is changed. “The two key characteristics of oil filters are efficiency and capacity,”


explains the Purolator expert. “Efficiency describes the ability of the filter to capture particulates of a given size. For instance, Purolator Classic oil filters are 97.5 percent efficient, meaning that they have the ability to capture 97.5 percent of particulates 20 microns in diameter or larger. A micron is a millionth of a meter, or about one-thousandths of an inch. And our top-of-the-line PureONE oil filters are 99.9 percent efficient.” “The other key measure of an oil filter’s performance is capacity, which is a measure of the amount of contaminants an oil filter can hold before becoming completely blocked and directing unfiltered oil to the engine’s moving parts. While unfiltered oil is slightly better than no oil at all, it surely offers substantial opportunity for irreparable engine damage. Our Purolator PureONE oil filters have a capacity of 13 grams, which is the equivalent of 31 standard-size paper clips.” In addition to efficiency and capacity, O’Dowd recommends that you also consider other features when selecting an oil filter.


Things like the quality and configuration of the pleated filtering medium and the integrity of the housing, end plates, seals, and valving are all features that separate quality oil filters from inexpensive and inefficient filters. Air Filters Automotive engines need air flow for combustion. And we all know that the air, especially on our highways, can contain all kinds of particulates – soot, bits of tire rubber, and all manner of natural materials, like pollen, bits of leaves, and much more. All of these materials can be harmful to your car’s engine, and must be carefully and efficiently filtered out before air reaches your engine’s combustion chamber. O’Dowd advises that the same parameters, efficiency and capacity, that define an oil filter’s effectiveness, also apply to engine air filters. A significant difference, explains O’Dowd, is found in the impact of clogging. As an air filter gradually collects contaminants, it steadily chokes off the flow of air entering the engine.


The result, explains our Purolator expert, is reduced engine power and efficiency, which can make the engine harder to start, impair it’s power output, and can cause a major degradation in fuel economy, a significant factor in today’s world of three dollar-a-gallon gasoline. “Happily,” adds O’Dowd, changing your car’s air filter is quick, easy, and inexpensive. Older cars most often had an oval-shaped air filter resting in a round housing under a lid held in place by a wing nut. Today’s more sophisticated fuel-injected engines normally make use of a flat, rectangular panel-type air filter that most often lives in black plastic air intact system in the engine compartment. Usually all that’s needed is to release several clamps, separate the housing halves, lift out the old filter, and install the new one. It’s usually that simple, says O’Dowd. As with oil filters, it’s best to choose a name-brand filter whose quality and design features are reliable. After all, says O’Dowd, you’re only changing your air filter once a year, unless you’re driving in unusually dirty or dusty conditions, so it pays to select a filter that will provide reliable and efficient filtering.


Fuel Filters Fuel filters are often overlooked during vehicle service because they’re tucked away under the car in many cases, says Purolator’s O’Dowd. But the need for regular replacement is more important than ever thanks to the precision of the fuel injectors used in most of today’s cars, light trucks, and SUVs. Contaminants can easily enter your car’s fuel system through accidental entry during fueling. Plus, small bits of contaminants can flake off of the inside of your fuel tank and fuel lines, and there’s always the possibility of small bits of contaminants in the storage tanks at your local gas station. All of this is normal, and can admit small particles to enter your fuel system, potentially wreaking havoc with your precisely engineered fuel injection system. And as your fuel filter gradually becomes obstructed, it can cause your engine’s electronic management system to make adjustments to try to compensate for the diminished fuel supply.