If you'd like your Accord, Civic or Odyssey to last for decades, changing the filters regularly is a must. Without filters, your Honda's engine can't produce peak power while using as little gas as possible. There are two key filters that a Honda owner needs to be familiar with: oil filters and air filters. Here's a quick primer on both varieties that will prepare you to properly care for your Honda.
What Is an Oil Filter?
In a nutshell, an oil filter is a permeable barrier in a case or frame that removes gunk from your engine's oil. Typically, it's mounted next to the oil pan and prevents particulate from jamming the oil pump. This means that relatively clean oil makes its way to your cylinder walls to lubricate pistons.
Oil Filter Types
There are basically two kinds of oil filters: canisters and cartridges. Canister filters are metal cylinders that feature one open end that screws onto a threaded post. Cartridge filters are plastic or hardened rubber cylinders equipped with fabric pleats that fit inside a housing sealed by a cap. Both types of filters force oil through a medium that screens out particulate and traps it until the unit is thrown out.
Why Oil Filters Are So Crucial
The first and most important function of an oil filter is to prevent hard metal particles and combustion by-products from reaching the cylinders. Filters also prevent your oil pump from becoming clogged. Finally, they allow your engine to maintain consistent oil pressure within a range that won't damage internal components. Good filters significantly increase your engine's longevity by quarantining contaminants until they can be disposed of at the next oil change.
Signs that Your Filter Should Be Replaced
An oil filter should be swapped out for a new unit every 5,000 to 10,000 miles depending on your specific Honda model. There are a number of indicators that your filter is clogged and should be replaced ASAP. If your oil pressure gauge drops suddenly while driving, your filter is stopped up. Other classic signs of oil filter failure include sluggish acceleration, metallic sounds coming from the engine and unusually dirty exhaust.
How to Replace an Oil Filter
Your Honda's oil filter is located on the underside of the engine bay next to the oil pan. To change it, you'd start by jacking up the vehicle and positioning jack stands at the appropriate support points. Next, turn the filter canister or cartridge compartment cap counter-clockwise and remove it. Finally, screw a new canister onto the post or slot a new cartridge into the cap and tighten it with a filter wrench.
Getting the Most from the Hardware
The best way to make your filter last as long as possible is by selecting a high-quality part that meets OEM specifications. Furthermore, you should use only the best oil available to reduce the odds that the filter will become clogged prematurely. Using a semi-synthetic oil that boasts the proper viscosity is highly recommended. Be sure to install your filter correctly to prevent leaks and sub-par performance over the service interval.
What to Look for in an Oil Filter
There are two criteria to keep in mind when hunting for a filter: quality construction and filtering ability. Good filters are made with thicker metal and synthetic filtering media to ensure that they don't break down unexpectedly. Additionally, great filters trap smaller particles that cheap non-OEM filters usually don't. Try to find an OEM filter that captures particles as small as 15 microns with 99 percent efficiency if possible.
What Is an Air Filter
An air filter is simply a physical barrier that scoops contaminants out of the atmospheric air that's fed to your engine. Without it, your engine would quickly become damaged as dust, salt and debris are sucked into the valve train. Despite their great importance, the majority of Honda owners don't change their air filters regularly. The good news is that air filters are cheap and easy to replace.
Air Filter Types
There are essentially two types of filters that you'll find in your Honda: flat stock filters and cylindrical performance filters. Common filtering media include paper, cotton and foam. A typical OEM Honda air filter is the size of a small book and features a paper barrier folded into pleats to increase surface area. The air filter is housed within the air box, which is a container that sits in front of the intake manifold.
Why Air Filters Are So Important
The average Honda will require 10,000 gallons of air to burn a single gallon of gas. If your air filter is clogged, your engine can't produce peak power. That's why replacing your filter can boost horsepower and torque if you select a high-quality model. Regularly replacing your filter simply improves performance and fuel economy. Most important of all, clean air filters make your engine last longer by protecting it from contamination.
Signs that Your Air Filter Should Be Replaced
Honda drivers should physically inspect their filters a few times a year to see if a change is needed. If the filter is black with dirt or clogged with debris, it's time to swap it out. Some of the more common non-visual cues that your filter is bad include declining fuel economy, lousy acceleration and engine misfires. Try to replace your filter every 15,000 miles for the best results.
How to Replace an Air Filter
Installing a new Honda air filter is a snap. You'll start by opening the air box. The air box lid is held down by a series of metal clips on the side of the assembly. Unfasten those clips, lift up the lid and remove the old filter. Take a new air filter and align the groove on the frame with the matching lip on the air box. Be sure to fasten the clamps securely when you're done.
Getting the Most from Your Hardware
As with oil filters, air filters will last a lot longer if you buy quality gear and avoid cheap, non-OEM merchandise. Genuine Honda air filters deliver superior performance and greater ROI than off-brand alternatives. You should probably remove your filter once a month and remove debris from the pleats to ensure adequate air flow. Lastly, clean your MAF sensor at least once a year to guarantee that your engine receives the right amount of air.
What to Look for in an Air Filter
It should go without saying that a good Honda air filter meets exact OEM specifications for your model and boasts high-end materials. A top-notch air filter can capture particles in the 10 micron to 20 micron range with at least 95% efficiency. Pay special attention to the type of filtration medium used and avoid cheap paper or cotton gauze. Respected Honda air filter brands include K&N, Purolator and Spectre.
Finding the Best Filters for Your Honda
Whether you live in the dusty Arizona desert or on the frigid Kansas plains, your Honda's air filter takes a beating throughout the year. That's why using only the best filters is so critical. At HondaPartsDirect.com, meeting your Honda air filter needs is our top priority. We stock the highest-quality air filters you'll find anywhere online at the lowest prices in the business. When your air filter has to be replaced, we're the team to call.