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I've got a 2010 Kia Soul, and I was wondering if I should get a reusable/washable air filter, such as the K&N 33-2960.

The reasons I would think to get such an air filter would be:

  • Save on the cost of replacement filters
  • Less waste for the environment
  • Better for the engine
  • A bit more power

How much of a benefit am I likely to see in each of the above categories from using a washable air filter? Are there other benefits?

Thanks!

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

On my most recent car before my current car, I put in a K&N air filter.

I believe I saw a minor improvement in horsepower, but it could also have been the placebo effect.

As to your questions:

You can save money with a K&N as long as the following are true:

  1. You clean/oil the filter at the recommended intervals
  2. You don't live in an excessively dirty environment (ala all dusty/dirt road driving)
  3. You use the K&N for at least three times the normal usage of a standard air filter.

For reference, I did a quick look up at autozone & the price comparison for the filter itself is $22 vs $67 (this is just in my area, but I believe the price will be proportionate anywhere in the US)

Less waste:

Yes this is true, I'm not sure how bad for the environment the oil for the filter is, but overall there is less 'stuff' created when using a K&N

Better for the engine:

This is the most debatable, K&N claims a much higher filtration efficiency & increased airflow compared to standard paper air filters. I believe that as long as you follow the instructions for whichever air filter you use, you will be fine.

More power:

As I alluded to earlier it's possible, but unless your car has a very inefficient air filter in it already, I doubt you will see much difference.

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One caveat against the K&Ns: you either have to maintain the car yourself, or watch others like a hawk. I've had a couple of mine "go missing" over the years, despite having that "STOP, don't throw this filter away" sticker on the air filter housing... –  Sean Reifschneider Mar 29 '11 at 6:02
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I ordered a K&N Air filter for my 2010 Kia Soul and yes, a little more power but a lot less mileage per gallon. The reason being these filters are made for older vehicles with a carburator and not with fuel injection. I am in the process of returning my air filter to K&N because of this. They were very reasonable about this and indicated they will refund the full amount on my credit card but I must pay for the shipping. I will let you know the outcome once I send the item back to them.

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That doesn't sound right. I use K&N filters on my fuel injected cars and get better than factory gas mileage. Wondering if something else is wrong with your car. Did the gas mileage come back to normal when you put the paper filter back in? –  Brian Knoblauch Dec 15 '11 at 16:37
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