Filters remove harmful, microscopic particles from oil, intake air and the vehicle cabin, but to the customer, microscopic particles are just that — microscopic. The sense of urgency isn’t there like with a lit MIL or pulsating brake pedal. Overcoming those perception problems and adding urgency is a two-step process.
First, magnify the issue. A restricted oil filter means shorter engine life; a clogged air filter means greater fuel consumption. All of these little issues will add up, or new filters can cut them off at the pass.
Second, sell quality filters. If you treat the service as a cheap add-on line item, so will the customer. If the job is truly important for the ongoing performance of the vehicle, then you should be recommending the best products for the job.
Here is what to look for:
An air filter is a critical component for the health of an engine, which can be ruined by only a few ounces of dirt. A cheap filter with the wrong design and media can change fuel trims, turn on the Check Engine light and even damage hot wire mass airflow sensors.
Selecting the right filter is not only about having the correct media, but it’s also about how the filter is made. If the endcaps or seals leak when in the air box, the engine’s life will be shortened.
According to the Filter Manufacturer’s Council, filter manufacturers have between 50 and 75 different filter media grades at their disposal. One reason for such a variety is the ability to control a certain size of particle contamination. The ultimate goal for the manufacturer is to balance filtration performance with the desired cleanliness level.
The correct filter for an application will have a good balance between efficiency and capacity for the application in which it’s used. Using a filter with a very high efficiency may lower the dirt-holdling capacity of the filter enough to shorten the life of the filter on the application, increasing the risk of the system going into by-pass.
Cabin Air Filters
According to a study from WIX Filters, Americans spent 5.5 billion hours in traffic jams in 2011. This works out to be an average of 38 hours a year that a driver is breathing air inside his/her vehicle, while caught in traffic. Cabin air filters are designed to capture contaminants, such as soot, dirt and other airborne pollutants, before they can enter the vehicle.
Quality cabin air filters are capable of trapping 100% of particles that are 3 microns or larger in size, and 95% to 99% of particles that are 3 microns or less. Premium filter media can trap particulates down to 0.001 microns in size. Cabin air filters work in similar fashion to oil, air and fuel filters, and must be changed because they have a finite life. However, cabin air filters often go unchanged because most car owners do not realize their vehicle even has a cabin filter.