The 5 Primary Types of Automotive Filters

19th Mar 2020

close-up of vehicle air cilter

Types of Automotive Filters

Filters play an important role in extended the life of vehicles and protecting against premature wear and tear. Typically consisting of a fibrous mesh material, they remove particulate matter. Over time, however, filters may restrict the flow of air or liquid. As particulate matter builds up on a filter, the filter may create a blockage that impedes the performance of your vehicle. So, what type of filters can you expect to find in your vehicle?

#1) Engine Air Filter

Found behind the air intake in the engine bay, the engine air filter lives up to its namesake by filtering the air entering your engine's combustion chamber. All combustion automotive engines require a combination of air, fuel and spark. The air intake sucks in air, which passes through the engine air filter before entering the combustion chamber.

#2) Cabin Air Filter

The cabin air filter, on the other hand, is designed to filter the air entering your vehicle's cabin. With the cabin air turned on, air will pass through the cabin filter before entering your vehicle's cabin. Most experts recommend changing the cabin air filter once every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. Failure to replace your vehicle's cabin air filter could result in decreased HVAC efficiency while also contributing to airborne pollution inside your vehicle.

#3) Oil Filter

Another common type of automotive filter is the oil filter. As you may know, the oil filter works to remove pollutants from the engine oil. As the oil travels from the drip pan to the engine, it passes through a filter where debris is removed. The good news is that most mechanics and auto shops will replace the oil filter when you get an oil change. If you're going to take a DIY route, though, you'll need to replace the oil filter yourself.

#4) Transmission Filter

Most vehicles have a transmission filter that removes debris and pollutants from the transmission fluid. It's typically found directly above the transmission fluid pan. As the fluid enters the transmission, it passes through the filter. Failure to change the transmission filter according to schedule may result in excess debris accumulating inside your transmission's gears.

#5) Fuel Filter

All vehicles with a combustion engine have a fuel filter as well. Located inside the fuel line, the fuel filter works to remove dust, dirt, debris and other pollutants from the fuel. Fuel filters generally look like cartridges that are designed to fit inside a vehicle's fuel line.