Reusable Air Filters

Going green is a funny trend, and one that is politicized far too often. It’s also a trend that has caught on pretty well in the car market. That’s because cars use up an incredible share of our income, and using energy efficiently is a great way to limit some of the damage that cars do to our balance sheet. For better or worse, we’ve been focusing most of our effort on saving gasoline, whether that comes in the way we drive or in the cars we buy. But there are a host of factors that control your car’s gas consumption, and there are a great many other ways that you can save money by “going green.”

Air filters are a part of your engine’s intake system. Engines need an intake of air to work, but if there were to be an open vent, all sorts of dust and grime would get into the engine’s intake and eventually stall the engine and shut down the car. In order to prevent this, the air filter is placed over the intake, which keeps all of that dirt and dust out of the engine. Unfortunately, that dust and dirt will begin to cling to the filter. This blocks the airway and makes the engine have to “breathe” harder in order to get the air it needs. This is why air filters need to be changed.

As the air filter gets clogged and the engine needs to work harder to get the air it needs, the increased workload causes the engine to use more gas to get the same results. The solution to this, of course, is to change the air filter. Air filters are cheap things, costing less than $20 for a new one, and they’re easy enough to replace that even people who don’t know cars can do it themselves. Because they’re a cheap, easy way to increase your gas mileage, replacing your air filter has become a popular way of saving gas money.

But with reusable air filters, you can save even more, and waste less to boot. Air filters are supposed to be replaced about once every year or two, and while that will certainly save you money, it still costs money to replace every year. With reusable air filters, you make a onetime purchase, and then you have a filter that will last you the rest of your car’s lifespan (hopefully). Not only that, but discarded air filters represent a significant waste problem, since they’re not really biodegradable. So if you care about being green as a moral stance, reusable air filters are still the way to go.

There are two issues to think about when buying reusable air filters: whether they actually save money, and whether they work as well as normal air filters, especially after repeated uses. Those are obviously related, because an air filter that doesn’t work properly, whether by allowing too much dirt through or by absorbing too much dirt in the first place, can actually cost more money than it’s worth.

As far as saving money in and of themselves, reusable air filters will usually start saving money around 50,000 miles, depending on how often you would have changed your regular filters. That’s about how long it takes the additional cost of a reusable filter to reconcile with the cumulative cost of different filters. They also don’t take much additional time to clean, considering the time you’d normally need to replace them anyways. As for working as well, it really depends on the quality of filter you buy. If you’re going to spend the additional money to buy a reusable filter, though, it just makes sense to go ahead and get a good one – it could literally save your engine.

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