Sparesbox Blog

How Investing in Your Filters Can Save you in the Long Run

By Brad Nash

Fri Sep 04 2015

Automotive filters are simple, effective pieces of equipment that perform a relatively basic purpose, but the quality of the job they do can potentially save or cost you a huge amount of money in the grand scheme of car maintenance. This is simply because the mechanical parts of your engine require the cleanest possible flow of pure air, fuel and fluids to do their respective jobs as efficiently as possible. A simple thing like dirty air getting into your engine can reduce it’s power a significant amount, while a poor oil filter can damage your engine by allowing unclean oil (or even clean oil in the wrong quantity) into it and an underperforming cabin filter can even impact your health.

When Ken from MANN Filter came in to visit us and explain these things, we were shocked as to how much the quality of filters (that you’d often pay the same amount of money for) can vary. Naturally, we couldn’t wait to share what we’ve learned, so we’ve put together a few little bits on how investing a little more in the most common air filters can save you in the long run.


Oil Filters

For such a small little pod that in many cases screws inconspicuously to the bottom of your car, there are a few ways in which a good oil filter can actually really help your engine run smoothly. The first matter is that of the filtration element that does all of the dirty work. You’ll find that this is going to become a recurring trend for most of the article because it’s these elements, the way they’re made and even the way they’re structured that determine the quality of filtration your chosen filter will provide.



When comparing Oil Filters, it’s often best to ask to look at a cartridge filter first, because these have the filtration elements readily viewable as opposed to a screw in, where everything is concealed in a canister. Look for an even spread in the folding and fanning of the filtration paper; the more even and consistent it looks, the more consistent and clean the flow of oil into your engine will be.



Oil filters also have a number of springs and valves to ensure secure locking and proper prevention of drain back. This means that if oil builds up at a higher pressure behind the filter (in the instance something is blocking it), the valve will effectively allow a steady flow of oil into the engine. The MANN filter you can see on the right has the optimum combination of all of these elements which make it the superior choice.


Air Filters

For such a seemingly expendable and flimsy car part, the humble Air Filter is crucial for giving your engine the clean flow of air it needs to effectively produce the power it’s capable of. Any small particles of dust and dirt have the potential to be incredibly damaging to your vehicle’s combustion chambers, while exhaust gases from the cars ahead of you on the road are the last thing you want your engine to be burning. As you could imagine, an effective air filter is vital for keeping your car healthy, and by inspecting what you’re investing in properly, you can save yourself a lot of money in the long run through simply having to change your air filter less throughout your vehicle’s lifetime.



Because air filters don’t have drain back valves or any of the complicated systems you get with liquid filters, they’re a lot more simple, and it’s far easier to get a gauge on the quality of a filter through simple look and touch. As with oil filters, look for even and consistent thickness in the filter medium. You want enough separation to let a good amount of air through on a consistent basis, while ensuring that the filter element has enough volume to clean the air going into your engine effectively.


Cabin Filter

Finally, the cabin filter, which aside from the obvious things like seat belts and airbags are one of the most crucial safety components of your car. Roads are dirty places, and as air is pumped into your vehicle’s cabin through your air-conditioning system, your cabin air filter helps to remove all of the pollen, dirt and dust that’s been kicked up on the street. Obviously, this is vital to ensure the safety of you and your passengers on an everyday basis, and when it comes to that, you can’t really invest enough. There are two choices you can make when it comes to choosing your cabin filter.



Conventional cabin air filters will separate the intial layer of dust, pollen and grit that would otherwise be going into the cabin. However, there are harmful exhaust gases on the road which can still get through conventional cabin filters.

Carbon-activated cabin air filters add an additional layer of protection, as they are coated in a layer of charcoal which reacts with harmful gases coming from the road, neutralising them before they enter the cabin.


Invest in a quality set of filters, and it will save you lots in the long run, both when it comes to the health of yourself and your bank balance. A few dollars extra spent on quality air and oil filters such as those made by MANN will greatly increase the life and efficiency of your engine, and also potentially save you when it comes time for your next service as well.