A vehicle’s engine has an oil lubrication system. Likewise, it makes use of atmospheric air and consumes fuel. An engine can only perform for long periods by using clean fluids. Abrasive particles, whether of internal or external origin, contained within the moving fluids would cause major wear and damage to the engine. It is therefore necessary to reduce the size and quantity of such particles to a minimum. This is the essential function of filters. 

Vehicles may also be fitted with a cabin air filter separate to any air-conditioning system. 
Filtration is a separation process consisting of separating the continuous component (liquid or gas) from the dispersed component (solid or liquid). This separation takes place as a result of pressure exerted on the suspension when the latter is pressed against a porous body.

The pressure drop, the efficiency and the lifetime determine filter’s performance, thus:   

  • THE PRESSURE DROP is the instantaneous pressure difference across the fluid input and output within the filter; 
  • It should be as low as possible;
  • THE EFFICIENCY of a filter is determined by the fineness of the filtration. An effective filter prevents premature engine wear;  
  • THE LIFETIME is determined by the quantity of contamination that can be screened before the filter ceases to function. 

The risks of using, or not replacing, poor filters are many and the damage cannot be repaired:

  • Cabin filters: if the filter is worn-out, bacteria may breed inside the vehicle and this may cause various ill effects and odors. If the filter is blocked, the airflow into the passenger compartment will be restricted, causing the windows to mist-up and leading to early fatigue of the driver and passengers;
  • Petrol and Diesel filters: any impurities present in the fuel will lead to a loss of power and damage to the engine, perhaps even an engine failure; 
  • Oil filters: impurities in the lubrication system may cause an engine failure;
  • Air filters: a clogged air filter will reduce the amount of air reaching the cylinders, lowering the performance of the engine and, thus, the vehicle. 

In the worst cases, there will be:  
  • Performance problems noticeable by the driver;
  • Increased fuel consumption; 
  • Polluting exhaust emissions.

The filtration process consists of passing a fluid across a filtration medium to minimize the undesirable particles within the fluid.
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