I just wanted to see what the general consensus is on adding a K&N air filter to a auto vehicle to help improve gas mileage. Is it really worth the money?
I have a 2000 Honda Civic EX w/ auto trans and am trying to squeeze every mile I can out of each tank of gas. If it only helps .1 mpg, I am not sure it is worth it. If the change is sufficiently higher than that, I am all ears.
Let me know. Just wanted some wise advice from the group before I go down this road.
been covered. done PROPERLY (right amount of oil) it's at most 1-2 mpg gain. get too little oil and there's almost no filtration ability. too much oil and nothing will happen except an oily intake pipe. If you have a MAF sensor, too much oil can mess it up... occasionally permanently.
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IMO, they should be well sorted for Civics, for other models, do your research, some applications don't flow as well as good paper filters. If there isn't a "performance" application for the filter, i.e. there is no performance model in the line-up that that filter fits, or no large following of modders for that model, then I'd be inclined to be skeptical about them. I have a theory that the Fram Airhog's should be better for these models, due to expecting that Fram know what their paper filters flow, and make the airhogs flow better. Whereas K&N doesn't seem to do as best they can for non-performance models unless nagged by enthusiast groups. However, Fram seem like they have given up on the airhog line, and they may be hard to find. I know Fram has a bad rap for oil filters, but I've always found their air filters decent. Well the normal ones, not so impressed with the new heavy duty one. Anyhoo, what led me to these opinions in part was that the K&N panel filter is regarded by Escort enthusiasts as being useless, whereas I have been rather impressed by the airhog I got for mine. K&Ns are also regarded as tame for mopar 3.0 V6 applications, so I was eager to get an airhog for Marvin, but have been having trouble finding them in stock anywhere.
So any model that K&N really has put performance development time into may be superior to airhogs, but models they have neglected may fare better with airhogs.
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kamesama980 made a good point. If you value your MAF sensor (and in all honesty, you SHOULD value it A LOT), then you shouldn't mess with the K&N. Lots of guys over on the tdi club forums either a) didn't hear this advice or b) went against it. They sure paid in the end -- about $200 for a new sensor. Now, not all cars are prone to this kind of problem, but I personally would never let one of those things near my car.
www.bobistheoilguy.com has an excellent rundown of air filters. Basically (if I am remembering correctly), they found that the K&N provided both fairly bad air flow and terrible filtration. As in, tons of sediment will go RIGHT past it, and straight into your beloved engine. That, and filters really don't have all that much to do with FE. Change it on schedule and you will never see a difference.
I've had bad luck with them, even after oiling them with the high tack oil they still let alot of dirt thru, so I switched to foam filters, they alow simaler air flow, but stop more dirt, I give my foam filter credit for my car having 250,000 miles and perfect compresion.
I picked up a K&N air filter from autoanything for my 95 Civic EX for $35. For the price compared to a fram filter (which I heard was horrible and at one point used to be rated highly by Consumer Reports) it was about 3x more. It seems one of the selling points of the K&N is the fact that it'll last for your vehicle's lifetime. You would be making up the costs in 3 air filter changes. I've also heard about the damage from MAF sensors and that can also be contributed to a customer using excessive oil when "recharging" the filter. K&N's response: http://www.knfilters.com/MAF/massair.htm
As far as any gains in MPG, it's hard for me to tell at this point. I have too many variables in place that change my overall mileage and I unfortunately won't be able to perform any type of controlled testing in the future. If the scan gauge was compatible with my car I might be able to provide more info but so far I haven't had any issues. One of my friends uses it in his 1998 Civic EX with no issues. He's also not running stock parts (turbo engine, etc.).
I second everything Erdrick said above. Bad filtration especially (which means that IF you live in the midwest all that SALT is gonna get in your engine and into your oil, think about the ACIDS that will be created eating your engine from the inside out!)
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I used a K&N filter in my Z28. I couldn't say there was much of a change in F.E. from it.
I had some oil analysis' done while I had the K&N filter in place. The silicon (dirt) infiltration was no greater than with stock paper filters. No difference on my car at all. Perhaps the issue was not with the K&N but with how it fits into particular intake structures. Mine came with a gasket to make the fit proper. Others might be better/worse than stock paper filters in the fit for a particular use.
The instructions describe in detail how much to oil the filter media. In this case it is bad to be one of the more-is-always-better crowd. Simply follow the instructions.