What is the Difference between an Air Filter and a Filter Element
Looking for a replacement air filter for your car? You may have encountered the term "air cleaner element" or "air filter element". People can use these terms interchangeably. But for simplicity's sake, we only use the "air cleaner element" in this article.
So what is the air cleaner element, and how is it different from the engine air filter?
The answer is no difference. The air cleaner element is exactly the same as the air filter.
Air filter element is a fancy term for engine air filter
Technically, the term "air cleaner element" pertains only to the filter material. The material may be cotton, paper, a synthetic material, or foam. The term "engine air filter" pertains to the entire part.
But here's the thing: in some cases, an air filter is only the filter media material. Other air filters come with a frame or a rubber seal, but these parts don't do anything but hold the filter in place. So an air filter is often considered only the filter media material.
Contrary to popular belief, air cleaner elements are not components of an air filter. They are complete replacement parts. In other words, you can use "air filter" and "air cleaner element" interchangeably.
What An Air Cleaner Element Does
Like an engine air filter, an air cleaner element purifies the air that comes into the engine. It sits in the cold air collection box and traps a variety of impurities in the air, including:
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