Monday, June 4, 2007

Filtered Air With a Warranty

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usAutomobiles require regular scheduled maintenance. Besides changing the oil, another regular part of maintaining a car is changing the air filter. Changing the air filter is recommended every 15,000 miles. Alternatively, a K&N brand air filter may be purchased. The K&N air filters carry a 1 million mile warranty (lifetime warranty). They have to be cleaned and re-oiled approximately every 50,000 miles (at the cost of about $10), but never have to be replaced. This is possible because K&N air filters are made with layers of cotton gauze between aluminum screens. Traditional air filters are made with paper. Additionally, K&N air filters often give the car a 1-4 horsepower boost and can raise gas mileage, although a raise in gas mileage depends on many factors (see their website).

Traditional air filters begin just over $5 and go up from there. The price of K&N air filters depends upon the make and model of the car, but generally cost up to $50. A few examples:
  • 1996 Mazda Protege (my car) - Traditional Filter $10.50; K&N $26.96
  • 2002 Toyota Camry - Traditional Filter $10.49; K&N $47.99
  • 2007 Ford F-150 - Traditional Filter $17.99; K&N $51.99
In 105,000 miles, a traditional filter will have to be replaced for the seventh time. The K&N filter will be cleaned twice. By this point, a K&N air filter would save the Protege owner $26.56; the Camry owner $5.46; and the F-150 owner $53.96. Obviously, the savings of the K&N filter depends upon what type of car you drive and how many miles you expect to keep the car for. For my car, the savings are enough to be worth purchasing the K&N filter - especially considering how cheap it is for my Protege. Do the math, the K&N filter might save you enough to offset the upfront cost, especially when you consider that it will probably give you a small rise in gas mileage, and that it will save you time. You can check K&N's website to learn about the features and details of the K&N filter. Additionally, prices of filters for your vehicle can be checked at Advance Auto Parts website, Autozone's website, O'Reilly's Auto Parts, or at your local parts store. You might also be able to find the air filter you need at a discounted rate at eBay Motors. Note that I purchased my K&N filter today at Advance Auto Parts who were giving 25% off on all air filters (not air-intake systems though). The sale price isn't advertised on their website, though. So check your local store to possibly save even more than the website shows.

So, today's frugality tip - consider upgrading your car's air filter to a K&N performance filter with a lifetime warranty.