Does an air filter affect horsepower? In short, the answer is yes. A high flow air filter can increase your horsepower by 3 to 5 HP and also increase your torque, leading to greater fuel efficiency. Aftermarket air filters can lead to increases in engine performance and an increase in fuel mileage rating, although these may be more noticeable on older cars. For newer models, some “performance” air filters can only make a negligible difference.
If your vehicle is slow to respond when you press the accelerator, this may be an indication that the engine is not getting enough clean air. A dirty air filter reduces the amount of clean air that reaches the engine, which decreases its power and performance. Replacing the dirty engine air filter with a new, clean one can improve engine acceleration. The main purpose of an automobile air filter is to ensure that large debris elements, such as leaves, insects, dust, debris and other matter, do not enter delicate engine systems.
The most important function of the air filter is to protect the engine from dirt and debris, and most filters do this quite well. You also have the option of replacing the manufacturer-installed air filter with a higher performance air filter. A clogged or dirty air filter may not affect miles per gallon as much as a flat tire, but it can definitely take power away from the engine. Air filters remove organic and inorganic contaminants that can cause abrasion and corrosion on vital engine parts.
To continue operating at their best, make sure your car's filtration systems are in good condition (oil filter systems are another important one to monitor). That's why it's advisable to have air filters that not only remove dirt efficiently, but also allow enough air to pass through them.