The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Air Filter Care

2011-03-04 - IPD Staff

Too bad your engine can’t talk. It might be screaming at you to replace its air filter. Can’t remember the last time you looked at it? Then maybe you should. If you have a power boat that never gets close to land or an airplane that never lands, you might get away with not having an air filter. Other than that, you need one.

A large part of the longevity and performance of an engine is the seal between the piston rings and the cylinder walls in the block. Any dust or contaminants drawn into the cylinders grinds away on this sealing surface like airborne sandpaper. When this sealing surface is damaged, there’s no alternative to repairing it other than an overhaul. Suddenly the cost of an air filter doesn’t sound like so much.

Think of it this way: if you drive your Volvo for about 12 minutes at 60 miles per hour, the engine has consumed the total quantity of air contained in an average size house. Now imagine how much dust there is in the average house!The air filter is the only thing standing in the way of all that junk. The other down side of a plugged-up air filter is a reduction in fuel mileage and performance. It really does make a difference.

Air filters should be inspected every 10K miles or so. Look to see if there is a noticeable quantity of dirt, oil and junk accumulated on the surface. Normally, a standard style air filter is good for about 40K miles. If you are often on unpaved roads you may have to replace it more often. ipd carries a large collection of OEM style replacement filters that are inexpensive and do a great job. An alternative to this style of filter is the performance filters from K&N. These filters offer less restriction than a standard filter and can improve performance. But the best thing about these filters is that they can be cleaned and reused almost indefinitely. This is a simple job using the K&N air filter service kit, which contains special filter cleaner and special oil.

Regardless of which style you use don’t neglect your air filter. It’s a lot cheaper than an overhaul and a lot easier to do. Your engine will thank you, even if it can’t talk.