Choosing Car Filters According to Your Drive

This month, we’re talking car filters, including engine oil filters, engine air filters, and cabin air filters. There’s more to them than you might think! For the average driver, standard car filters are just fine. But sometimes, special driving conditions call for more specific types of car filters.

City drivers – Carbon cabin filter

If your daily drive includes highway congestion or stop-and-go urban traffic, consider installing a carbon cabin filter (a.k.a. an activated charcoal cabin filter) for easier breathing. Like standard particulate cabin filters, carbon cabin filters strain out most pollen, dust, and soot. Made with activated charcoal, carbon cabin filters, like this NAPA Gold cabin air filter, adsorb foul odours and harmful gases such as nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide.

Commuters – Long-life oil filter

If you have a long commute (i.e., 30 minutes or more each way), you’re running your car the way it was designed to be run—with little idling and moderate time cruising at operating temperature. Engine oil lasts longer under these conditions, so consider extending your oil change interval a few thousand kilometres. To compensate that longer oil change interval, you’ll want to pick up a long-life oil filter. Make sure to check the oil level between oil changes, every 5,000 km or so.

Rural drivers – Air filter pre-wrap

On backcountry roads and in other rural areas, it takes less time than usual for an engine air filter to become clogged with dust. If you regularly drive dusty roads, a foam pre-filter may be available for your vehicle. A foam pre-filter wraps around your primary air filter, capturing larger dust particles. Finer particles are still caught by the primary air filter, but those larger particles won’t clog it up so fast. When the pre-filter looks dirty, wash it with warm water and reinstall.

Weekend warriors – Performance air filter

Some vehicles are designed to be driven a little harder, and weekend warriors want to get every bit of power out of them. Stock air filters are fine for daily drivers, but they impede airflow enough to impact high-performance driving. A performance air filter may be just the ticket to getting a little more airflow without completely sacrificing protection against abrasive dust, soot, and other particles.

High-mileage vehicles – High-mileage oil filter

It’s common to see engines pushing 500,000 km, and some over-the-road trucks go up to 1,000,000 km before an overhaul. The key to such longevity is regular maintenance with quality supplies. High-mileage vehicles (generally over 150,000 km) benefit from the additives in high-mileage engine oil, such as oil seal conditioners and detergents, which prevent gelling. Opt for a high-mileage oil filter to ensure continuous protection until your next oil change: long-life oil filters have an additive gel that slowly dissolves, continuously replenishing additives as they burn off.

Late-model vehicles – Synthetic oil filter

Automakers recognize the efficiency and detergent benefits of synthetic oil, so most late-model vehicles are shipped from the factory filled with synthetic oil. If your oil change includes synthetic oil, choose a compatible oil filter. Synthetic-compatible oil filters are designed to last longer when used with synthetic oil, plus they’re made with today’s longer oil change intervals in mind.

You have to be aware of your driving habits to determine the right maintenance products for your vehicle. To choose suitable filters, you should consider your engine and your daily drive. Filter maintenance is simple, and it’s even easier when you have the proper tools. Check out our next article for more information on oil filter tools.

By Benjamin Jerew

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