Internal combustion engines use a mix of gasoline (or any combustible fuel) and oxygen to generate power.
Most car owners know it but often let it go neglected, which is the reason for most engine failures and car breakdowns.
The quality of both the fuel and the air intake can affect the performance of a car engine. For instance, if there’s water or debris in the fuel, it may not burn properly. Thus reducing the thrust that combustion creates to push the piston.
Similarly, if the air intake quality is too low, the combustion may still be incomplete.
What’s noteworthy here is that there are not many variables involved in fuel quality. In most cases, it is either water or sulfides that can deteriorate the fuel quality.
In contrast, the quality of air can have far more devastating effects on engine life. More so, these effects usually go undetected and develop problems gradually over the lifecycle of your vehicle.
Keep scrolling to learn more about how intake air quality affects engine life and performance.
How Does Air Intake Help With Combustion?
Clearly, to understand how air intake affects your engine performance and life, you need to know how it helps with combustion.
Your car’s engine uses a mix of fuel and oxygen to generate power, as mentioned already.
It’s elementary science that fuel burns in the presence of oxygen. The same is being applied to internal combustion.
What’s fascinating in the Internal Combustion engine is optimizing fuel consumption.
To your surprise, very little fuel can generate kilos of power if supplied with ample oxygen. In contrast, access to air can also overburn the fuel causing high-intensity explosions.
So, your engine is designed in a way to operate somewhere between these two extremes. Engineers work really hard to optimize fuel consumption and still generate enough power to produce torque.
This is where the quality of air comes to play.
Atmospheric air can contain a lot of contaminants, including gases, dirt and debris, and toxic substances like sulfides.
If the concentration of these contaminants is not checked, the air intake will affect the combustion process. Usually, it will reduce the power generated.
We will discuss other impacts later in this article.
So, the solution here is using an air filter to remove the pollutants from the intake air.
Does Air Filter Quality Make A Difference?
To your surprise, yes, the quality of your air filter also makes a difference. The better it is designed, finished, or constructed, the better will be the air quality it delivers.
And as a result, your engine performance will also improve.
The best air filters are designed to allow more airflow while restricting the necessary pollutants from it.
However, most air filters, especially the stock filters, do not remove any chemical pollutants from the intake air.
It is advised to use performance air filters to ensure a long life for your engine, which are, thankfully, not difficult to buy. These days, finding filters online has become affordable and widely available even in a city like Dubai. You can easily narrow down your search by using keywords such as K&N Spare auto parts Dubai to access the best suppliers at great discounts online. Since Dubai is so well-known for its automotive grandiosity, you’ll find your preference effortlessly.
It is worth mentioning here that K&N is a renowned brand in air filters and they have been in the market for over 50 years. They are the market leaders in air filter technology and innovation, and are trusted by professional races and drivers.
Long story short, you need to find parts manufactured by reliable and trusted brands only. Some aftermarket parts may deteriorate the performance instead of improving it.
Affects Of Low-Quality Air Intake On Engine
Air filter helps maintain the quality of air that is supplied to the engine. It ensures that no unwanted particles or chemical compounds reach the combustion chamber. Or at least try to keep the contents to a minimum.
However, it is noteworthy that air filters usually have a lifespan over which they are most efficient.
In other words, with usage, the efficiency of air filters can also reduce. And as a result, it will also deteriorate the quality of air.
Here’s how low-quality air can affect your car engine.
Reduced Air Flow
Air filters are constructed using semi-porous composites or membranes. The pores or gaps in these materials are small enough to trap particulate matter while also allowing the air to flow through them.
Over the years, these pores get clogged, creating obstructions for air to flow.
If the air quality is too low, the filters may clog faster. And as a result, airflow will also be reduced.
Engine Wear Out
Clogged filters can often create a low-pressure region in the combustion chamber. This creates an energy difference between the two sides of the filter.
As a result, sometimes, bigger particles may start sliding through the pores. Meanwhile, also changing the size of the pores.
Now, larger pores allow smaller particles to pass through and enter the combustion chamber. Thus causing faster wearing out of the pistons and walls.
If not anything else, poor quality air intake can reduce the mileage of your car. More pollutants will mean lower oxygen concentration and low combustion power.
To keep up with the power and energy needs of your car, it would consume more fuel. And as a result, your mileage will take a dip instantly.
Although the mileage dip might not be as significant as that from a flat tire, it would still reflect on your monthly expenses. And you wouldn’t want to be burning your pockets to fill in gas.
The quality of air that your engine is supplied with has long-lasting impacts on its life.
It is necessary for maintaining the engine’s mileage but is also needed to keep it running without wear and tear. Indeed, the air acts as a natural lubricant between the piston and the walls.
Essentially, you need to keep a check on your air filters to ensure that only clean air reaches your engine.
Suppose you can follow up with a regular checkup of your air filters and fuel supply systems. In that case, you will probably enjoy riding your favorite car for several years to come.
Otherwise, you may soon need to dump it for scrap and buy a new one.