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Air Filtration
Before one can properly select a lubricant for a specific application Effective air filtration is one of the most important aspects of reducing engine wear. Dust particulates are extremely abrasive and when these particulates are not effectively stopped by the air filter, accelerated rates of engine wear can occur, or in extreme cases immediate internal engine damage can occur.

Dust particles are classified into four major groups according to its particle diameter:
  • "fine" dust with particles from 1 to 5 microns
  • "medium" dust with particles from 5 to 10 microns
  • "coarse" dust" with particles from 10 to 50 microns
  • "sand" dust with particles from 50 to 250 microns.
To put this all in perspective, a grain of salt has a particle size of approximately 100 microns (0.1mm) and an average human hair has a particle size of approximately 90 microns (0.09mm).

They type and size of dust particulates present in the air depends on which area of the country or world you are in as well as the type of roads you are traveling on and the vehicles ahead of your vehicle which can kick up a lot more dust than normally present. It has been determined that dust particulates present in average air samples is composed of at least 70% silica. Automotive engines should be able to operate effectively in dust-polluted air up to a maximum concentration of 2.5 g/cu meter. Filters on assault tanks or tractors should be able to operate effectively during a long space of time at concentrations between 4 and 8 g/cu meter.

In the automotive testing business I am involved with some of the most severe engine dust ingestion testing is performed in Arizona using roads specially prepared with a specific particle size of Arizona test dust and dirt particulates and small pebbles and stones. A vehicle will drive ahead of the test vehicle dragging a special apparatus, which creates an extremely large cloud of dust that the test vehicle drives in. This test is used to evaluate many different parameters from engine wear, air filtration effectiveness, paint chip protection, stone pecking and functionality of underbody parts such as brake and fuel lines and many other parts.

Testing has indicated that piston rings and cylinders are more sensitive than other engine parts to dust ingestion. Maximum wear in the upper cylinder parts appears to occur with particles between 5 and 10 microns. This does not mean that it is not important to stop both smaller and larger dust particles. All sizes of dust particles commonly prevalent in the air on the roads we drive on have the potential to cause varying degrees of engine wear and must be stopped from passing through the air filter and entering the engine.

It is extremely important to make sure you that you use a quality air filter and that it is properly installed and sealed at the sides so that dust particles can get past unfiltered. The air filter must be able to both flow sufficient quantities of air for proper engine performance while also stopping damaging dirt and dust particles. A quality paper air filter is effective in stopping most of the dust particles; however there are superior filters on the market with will do a much better job.

Most recently the very latest technology to be introduced is called Nanofiber technology which has been used exclusively in heavy duty applications, including the U.S. Army Abrams M1 tank. AMSOIL INC. has brought this technology to the auto/light truck market, called Ea Air Filters ( EaA) which are guaranteed for 4 years/100,000 miles. The nanofiber technology used in the Ea Air Filters surpasses all other technology in efficiency, capacity and service life and is documented by independent laboratory testing performed per ASTM and ISO standards. With Ea Air Filters, dust and submicron particles remain on the surface and are trapped in the nanofibers, preventing particles from lodging in the filter media depth. This produces higher efficiency and higher capacity which extends engine and filter life and reduces engine wear. The Ea Air Filters holds up to 5 times more contaminants than cellulose air filters and 15 times more contaminants than a wet gauze type filter.




The Service Advisor is a free service presented by Daniel Emmanuel.
For more information about my automotive background go to my Bio/Résumé.

If you work in the automotive industry, visit Automotive Service Management.com.


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