Auto Parts, Filters and Vehicle Fitness

Auto Parts, Filters and Vehicle FitnessAuto Parts and Vehicle Filters

How much do we know about the filters in our vehicle? It is this auto part that keeps everything running clean - from the engine air filter, cabin air filter, oil filter, to the fuel filter.

The filters inside our vehicle protect important vehicle components and occupants from various threats to safety. If we fail to change filters they can cause significant damage. On the Arrive Alive website, we strive to raise awareness on vehicle maintenance and the various auto parts needed for a safe and roadworthy vehicle. 

As we believe that an informed vehicle owner is a safer vehicle owner, we decided to gain insight into the importance of filters with the following Q&A raised with Goldwagen and MANN-FILTER.

Which brands of filters are used in vehicle maintenance?

When the vehicle is still under factory warranty and serviced at the Vehicle Manufacture’s dealership, the vehicle will be serviced with filters developed and manufactured for the specific application according to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications/requirements and the relevant International Organization for Standardization (ISO)  procedures. 

As soon as the vehicle is out of the factory warranty period the owner has the option/choice to service his/her vehicle at a workshop of his/her choice using their preferred filter brand or a brand that the workshop recommends and fits. Subsequently, many of these filter brands are not manufactured in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications/requirements or the relevant ISO procedures. 

Every MANN-FILTER part is manufactured in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s requirements/specifications, the relevant ISO procedures, and Industry standards.  Therefore, ensuring that every MANN-FILTER part is manufactured equal to the Original Equipment part, this is confirmed by our Statement of Matching quality which is a legally published document.

Why is checking the filters important in vehicle maintenance?

Quality filters are vital/critical parts or “organs” within a vehicle’s engine and fuel system, similar to the nose, lungs, liver, and kidneys to the human body.  Without these important body parts and organs, the human body will deteriorate, eventually causing permanent damage or even death.

Therefore, the same principles apply for a vehicle’s engine and fuel system.  Quality filters are designed and developed to keep harmful materials from entering the engine or fuel system prolonging its life, ultimately avoiding major damage or even “death”. 

Low-quality filters in-turn cannot provide the same level of protection allowing harmful materials into the vehicle’s engine or fuel system, resulting in major damage and even the “death” of the engine or fuel system.

Where in the vehicle do we require filters?

Air, oil, and fuel filters are essential “organs” that ensure that the vehicle’s engine and fuel system can perform at optimal levels, as intended by the respective vehicle manufacturers.

The Air Filter, contrary to popular belief is arguably the most important filter for a vehicle’s engine ultimately ensuring clean air at the required airflow for optimal performance.

The Oil filter in-turn ensures that all the moving parts within the vehicle’s engine remain lubricated with clean oil, avoiding damage of moving engine parts due to friction and heat.

The Fuel filter likewise ensures that harmful materials do not enter the fuel system prolonging the life of all moving parts, injectors and ultimately ensuring that the vehicle’s engine can perform at optimal levels.

The Cabin Air filter ensures clean air to the driver and passengers of the vehicle, filtrating pollutants like dust, fine dust, particulate matter, and pollen. Manufacturers of high-quality filters also manufacture cabin air filters that can filtrate bad odours and bacteria i.e. MANN-FILTER Frecious Plus range of cabin filters.

All filters, regardless of type, should be replaced as indicated by the respective vehicle manufacturer or at least once a year.

What are the major differences between filters

What are the major differences between filters?

The most important component in any filter, regardless of the type of filter, is the filter media or the “heart” of the filter. However, there are numerous other components that make up a complete filter, whether it is an air, oil, or fuel filter.

 Low-quality filter manufacturers may use the incorrect filter media for a specific application or in some cases useless media than specified shortening the “life” of the filter. These manufacturers will likewise use components/materials of lesser quality when producing air, oil, and fuel filters i.e. metal components, seals/gaskets, valves, and adhesives.

Every MANN-FILTER part is manufactured in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s requirements/specifications, the relevant ISO procedures, and Industry standards, therefore using the highest quality components and the specified filtration media.

Can the non-mechanically inclined vehicle owner install filters?  In which scenarios should the installation be left to a qualified technician?

No, a non-mechanically inclined vehicle owner should not apply filters to his/her vehicle. Nevertheless, the older generations (mechanically inclined) use to service their own vehicles due to the simplicity of vehicles in “those days”. 

Modern vehicles, however, are fitted with highly sophisticated Engine Control Units (ECU), that controls one or more of the electrical systems or subsystems in a vehicle. These systems are sometimes referred to as the car's computer (technically there is no single computer but multiple ones).

Some modern motor vehicles have up to 80 ECU’s. Embedded software in ECUs continues to increase in line count, complexity, and sophistication. Therefore, the non-mechanically inclined should never attempt to apply their own filters in any scenario and should make use of a qualified technician or certified workshop, due to sophisticated vehicles and specialised tools required to remove and fit filters.

Is it a one-type-fits-all or are there different types and characteristics we should be aware of when buying filters?

No, there is most definitely not a “one-type-fits-all” approach that can be applied to filtration on any vehicle application. Filtration has become a lot more complex in the modern era to keep up with the numerous model variations and the filtration requirements of the respective vehicle manufacturers. 

Each filter that MANN+HUMMEL manufacture is manufactured to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications/requirements, subsequently MANN-FILTER today has more than 4 000 different filter part numbers to service the global filtration market.

Would consideration of OE parts be important in the selection of a filter or lubricant?

Would consideration of OE parts be important in the selection of a filter or lubricant?

By fitting Original Equipment (OE) quality filters and OE approved lubricants, a vehicle’s engine should last a lifetime.  Many manufacturers in the marketplace claim that their parts are equal or better than the OE quality parts, but then again MANN-FILTER has legally published a statement of matching quality confirming that all filters in our “green and yellow” box are manufactured to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications/requirements.

Should the buyer of a filter consider the terrain where the vehicle is used?  Construction site or farm?

Service intervals are determined by the vehicle manufacturer; however, some external factors may play a role and can prompt different service intervals than those specified by the vehicle manufacturer considering, the conditions and fair use of a vehicle/machine i.e. 

Construction sites, mining sites or farms. Vehicles/machines that operate in a high dust environment with little to no rain, would prompt more regular service intervals.  It is also important to note that a blocked filter fulfilled its intended purpose, preventing contaminants from entering the vehicle’s/machine’s engine which in-turn can cause major damage or engine failure. 

It is critical not to a blow-out or “tap out” the dust from the blocked filter on either the ground, workbench, or the tyre in order to get rid of the “blockage” as this will damage the media or even worse tearing it letting contaminants through to the engine.

Please note that tapping out the filter will not remove fine particles that are deeply embedded within the filter media which contributes to the efficiency of the filter media.

Should the buyer of a filter consider Weather Conditions?  Rain, mud, seasonal changes (heat vs ice)?

High-quality filters are designed and developed to handle the weather conditions for its intended market/environment.  MANN-FILTER air filters are manufactured to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications and requirements for these intended markets/environments. 

For example, media pleat lock techniques and glue strings to ensure that the media pleats remain intact and retain the required pleat spacing for unrestricted airflow, therefore the filter’s efficiency remains stable no matter the weather conditions. 

Furthermore, some applications have an additional “fleece” layer or impregnated media to assist with the absorption of moisture if and when specified/required by the vehicle manufacturer.  Oil filters in-turn are equipped with by-pass valves and anti-drain back valves, the anti-drain back valve plays a critical role with cold start-ups in weather conditions with sub-zero temperatures ensuring lubrication and sufficient oil pressure during these start-ups. We also manufacture filters with flame retardant media, if and when specified/required by the vehicle manufacturer enabling the media to ignite.

What are the risks of using an inferior or incorrect type of filter?

Inferior filters will significantly shorten the life of a vehicle's engine components or fuel system components and will guarantee high repair costs to the vehicle owner. Modern engine or fuel system repairs can cost anything between R 30 000 to R 500 000 (depending on the vehicle) whereas a MANN-FILTER service kit can cost between R 500.00 to R 5 000.00 (depending on the vehicle), therefore saving money buying inferior filters comes at an extremely high cost.

Where can a vehicle owner gain more information on vehicle filters?

Where can a vehicle owner gain more information on vehicle filters?

Vehicle owners can refer to our website, as well as our online catalogue, for all the required information on our range of MANN-FILTER products, or contact us at MANN+HUMMEL Filters South Africa (Pty) Ltd, we will gladly assist with any inquiries.

Land Line: +27 11 592 7000



What is the best advice to consumers about buying filters and using it in vehicle maintenance?

When purchasing replacement filters for your vehicle, ensure that you buy filters manufactured by a reputable manufacturer.  Low-cost filters are “cheap” for a reason as these low-cost manufacturers do not meet the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications/requirements which can put the retailer, workshop, and consumer at risk. 

When these “cheap” filters fail to result in damage to the vehicle's engine or fuel system, it is possible that no contact details are available to log a claim for damages with these manufacturers, therefore the repair costs solely lie with the owner of the vehicle. These “cheap” filters may save you a few Rands on the day of purchasing, but the damage they may cause in the long-run is usually much greater than the few Rands saved on the day of purchase.

Any additional aspects on filters not addressed in the above?

Cabin air filters are the most neglected filter on any vehicle/machine, many vehicle owners do not even know they have a cabin filter in their vehicle or where the filter is situated.  MANN-FILTER has three variants of cabin filters in our range:

  • Standard Cabin air filter: ensures clean air to the driver and passengers of the vehicle, filtrating pollutants like dust, fine dust, particulate matter, and pollen. 
  • Carbon activated filter: ensures clean air to the driver and passengers of the vehicle, filtrating pollutants like dust, fine dust, particulate matter, and pollen. Additionally, this filter type also removes external odours which the standard version let’s through.
  • Biofunctional cabin air filter i.e. the Frecious Plus: ensures clean air to the driver and passengers of the vehicle, filtrating pollutants like dust, fine dust, particulate matter, and pollen. Additionally, these filters have a special layer which is anti-allergenic and anti-microbial. It absorbs allergens and prevents bacteria and mould fungi from entering the passenger compartment through the ventilation system. These filters likewise remove external odours and harmful gasses. Frecious Plus filters should be changed at every service interval or at least once a year for the best results.

[A word of appreciation to Goldwagen and MANN+HUMMEL Filters South Africa for the Assistance received]

Also view:

Vehicle Safety Checklist for Roadworthiness and Safe Driving

Vehicle Maintenance and Safety Guide to Roadworthiness of Vehicles

Vehicle Repair and Maintenance

Dust Suppression Systems

Buying Quality Auto Parts and Safety on the Road

Goldwagen Website