Treat Your Engine to be Nice

We all know that the Golden Rule reads, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Well, here’s your chance to implement that rule and enhance the life and value of your car at the same time. Over the last decade or so we’ve learned that breathing dirty air can be hazardous to our health. The same logic applies to the engine in your car, SUV, or light truck or van. Keeping the inside of your engine clean will keep it healthy, longer, and will enhance its value if you decide to sell or trade it. MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters is one of the largest suppliers of filters for cars and trucks, so they know a thing or two about treating engines nice, and their spokesman Kevin O’Dowd offers the following advice: “Internal engine parts are made to extreme levels of precision. For instance, hydraulic valve lifters are manufactured to tolerances as stringent as one ten thousandths of an inch (0.0001”). So even tiny particles can interfere with the engine’s operation, and can cause damage to piston rings, engine bearings, and other critical engine components.” Filters are the guardians of your engine, and can do a very effective job of preventing potentially damaging particulates from getting to where they don’t belong. The three key filters protecting your engine are its oil filter, its air filter, and its fuel filter. Here’s what you need to know about each type. Oil Filters During the course of normal engine operation particles can collect in the engine oil.

These particles can include bits of carbon resulting from combustion, pieces of engine gaskets and seals that can erode over time, and even small bits of metal that can flake/break off of various engine parts. O’Dowd suggests that an oil filter can capture and safely hold such particulates, but the protection depends on the quality of the oil filter and the frequency with which it is changed. “The two key characteristics of oil filters are efficiency and capacity,” explains the Purolator expert. “Efficiency describes the ability of the filter to capture particulates of a given size. For instance, Purolator Classic oil filters are 97.5 percent efficient, meaning that they have the ability to capture 97.5 percent of particulates 20 microns in diameter or larger. A micron is a millionth of a meter, or about one-thousandths of an inch. And our top-of-the-line PureONE oil filters are 99.9 percent efficient.” “The other key measure of an oil filter’s performance is capacity, which is a measure of the amount of contaminants an oil filter can hold before becoming completely blocked and directing unfiltered oil to the engine’s moving parts. While unfiltered oil is slightly better than no oil at all, it surely offers substantial opportunity for irreparable engine damage. Our Purolator PureONE oil filters have a capacity of 13 grams, which is the equivalent of 31 standard-size paper clips.” In addition to efficiency and capacity, O’Dowd recommends that you also consider other features when selecting an oil filter. Things like the quality and configuration of the pleated filtering medium and the integrity of the housing, end plates, seals, and valving are all features that separate quality oil filters from inexpensive and inefficient filters. Air Filters Automotive engines need air flow for combustion. And we all know that the air, especially on our highways, can contain all kinds of particulates – soot, bits of tire rubber, and all manner of natural materials, like pollen, bits of leaves, and much more. All of these materials can be harmful to your car’s engine, and must be carefully and efficiently filtered out before air reaches your engine’s combustion chamber. O’Dowd advises that the same parameters, efficiency and capacity, that define an oil filter’s effectiveness, also apply to engine air filters.

A significant difference, explains O’Dowd, is found in the impact of clogging. As an air filter gradually collects contaminants, it steadily chokes off the flow of air entering the engine. The result, explains our Purolator expert, is reduced engine power and efficiency, which can make the engine harder to start, impair it’s power output, and can cause a major degradation in fuel economy, a significant factor in today’s world of three dollar-a-gallon gasoline. “Happily,” adds O’Dowd, changing your car’s air filter is quick, easy, and inexpensive. Older cars most often had an oval-shaped air filter resting in a round housing under a lid held in place by a wing nut. Today’s more sophisticated fuel-injected engines normally make use of a flat, rectangular panel-type air filter that most often lives in black plastic air intact system in the engine compartment. Usually all that’s needed is to release several clamps, separate the housing halves, lift out the old filter, and install the new one. It’s usually that simple, says O’Dowd. As with oil filters, it’s best to choose a name-brand filter whose quality and design features are reliable. After all, says O’Dowd, you’re only changing your air filter once a year, unless you’re driving in unusually dirty or dusty conditions, so it pays to select a filter that will provide reliable and efficient filtering. Fuel Filters Fuel filters are often overlooked during vehicle service because they’re tucked away under the car in many cases, says Purolator’s O’Dowd. But the need for regular replacement is more important than ever thanks to the precision of the fuel injectors used in most of today’s cars, light trucks, and SUVs. Contaminants can easily enter your car’s fuel system through accidental entry during fueling.