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Oiled and Non-Oiled Air Filters - To Oil Or Not To Oil?

Posted in How To on June 1, 2011
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It’s been something of a debate for a while now, but it seems that both oiled and non-oiled (or dry) reusable air filters are going to stick around in the automotive aftermarket. Both have their benefits, and for many consumers it’s simply a matter of preference.

Airaid saw the split in air-filter choices and decided to take a different step as other companies quickly decided where their allegiances lie. Instead of walking away from the cotton gauze and oiled air filters that made the reusable air-filter business famous, Airaid has decided to make both available in its aftermarket air-intake systems. To complement its air-filter line, Airaid has recently released its new Synthamax no-oil filter in the same iconic red-colored filter media.

Which one should you use? Well, it depends how you use your vehicle, and how good you are at cleaning reusable air filters.

For the most extreme-use environments (i.e. racing, off-road only vehicles) Airaid recommends sticking with the classic oiled air filters, which will keep your engine the absolute cleanest in the long run. If you’re not racing and use your vehicle as more of a weekend warrior, the Synthamax no-oil air filter might be your best choiceespecially if you’re worried about performing proper cleaning and oiling of an oiled air filter. OR

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4. Cleaning reusable air filters is seldom done properly by the average consumer (including us). It’s necessary to use an extremely low pressure water source (in other words, have your hose barely turned on when washing). Too high of a water squirt, and the cotton inside the screen mesh of the filter can become slightly displaced. If this happens, it can allow some smaller particles of dirt inside, and that’s not good. The Synthamax air filters, due to their unique filtration media, can be a little more durable when washing.

If you’re using an oiled air filter, make sure to gingerly oil the filtration media after washing. You can always add more oil to it later. The oil wicks through the filter very well, and we’ve been prone to sometimes over-oil our filters in haste. This can lead to oil leaking off the air filter and into the air intake tube.

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