Are Aftermarket Air Filters as Good as OEM? A Comprehensive Guide

It's no secret that aftermarket manufacturers often use cheaper materials to cut costs, which means that engine air filters don't always last as long as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) filters. If you search the internet, you'll find plenty of complaints from disgruntled car owners who are unhappy with their aftermarket engine air filters. Some aftermarket brands boast that their air filters let in more air than the original filters. This is actually not a good thing, as the more air a filter lets in, the more dirt gets into the engine.

Generally speaking, OEM replacement engine air filters are less restrictive than high-performance filters. Paper filters allow for more air flow over a longer period of time than high-performance air filters. Aftermarket engine air filters have a history of not fitting perfectly, even those that come with the claim that they are designed specifically for your car model. If you install an air filter that is too large for the air intake box, it will be crushed or hit a little, causing it to not work as well as it should. The OEM paper air filters were from AC Delco, Baldwin, an unbranded filter, WIX, Purolator, Amsoil and UNI.


, for example, invested a lot of time and money researching and developing engine air filters with a filter material that had just the right amount of pores.

When the engine air filter does not fit snugly to the air intake box, some of the dust and particles will enter the engine through the gaps surrounding the filter gasket. In other words, switching to a high-performance air filter probably won't make any difference in terms of power (in a stock engine). Aftermarket air filters are unpredictable, but they usually need to be changed more frequently because their filter material is of poor quality and doesn't last as long as OEM air filters. In this specific test, the standard Delco AC air filter was found to be the best aftermarket filter. It had the least amount of dirt passing through and took longer to clog up.

The Baldwin filter came in second, followed by the unbranded filter.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

engine air filters may be slightly more expensive, but it's worth it in the long run to have one in your car instead of an aftermarket air filter. Since engine air filters are inexpensive disposable parts, some people believe that any old air filter would do. However, OEM-type paper filters filter more dirt and last longer before becoming a restriction compared to “high-performance” air filters. In conclusion, when it comes to engine air filters, it's best to stick with OEM. They are designed specifically for your car model and will last longer than aftermarket options.

Plus, they are less restrictive and allow for more airflow over time. Investing in an OEM engine air filter is worth it in terms of performance and longevity.

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