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Ask The Experts at K&N How to Use K&N Air Filter Oil – How Much Oil Do I Use?

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K&N air filter oil has been developed to remain suspended within the thousands of microscopic cotton fibers found in a K&N high-flow air filter

K&N air filter oil has been developed to remain suspended within the thousands of microscopic cotton fibers found in a K&N high-flow air filter

A typical disposable automotive air filter uses a paper filtration media efficient at trapping dust, yet they are also a significant source of airflow restriction. This is why K&N’s traditional high-flow air filters are designed with 4-6 layers of cotton gauze media pleated between a wire screen mesh. Cotton naturally breathes easier than paper which in turn increases airflow, reduces intake tract restriction, and can help your car run better. Even at home there is a very low-tech and simple way to demonstrate the advantage of K&N cotton air filters versus paper air filters. Hold a piece of notebook paper against your mouth and try taking a deep breath. You will immediately notice how much effort is required to breathe through this piece of notebook paper. Repeat the same test, only, instead of using a sheet of paper, try it again with a cotton t-shirt.

K&N lists the factory prescribed amount of K&N air filter oil for each K&N air filter on KNFilters.com under the product specifications

K&N lists the factory prescribed amount of K&N air filter oil for each K&N air filter on KNFilters.com under the product specifications

No degree in engineering is required to observe how much easier cotton breathes compared to paper. Yet, K&N uses much more scientific methods of proving that K&N replacement air filters outperform their disposable equivalents. K&N Engineering performs all its airflow testing on a SuperFlow Corporation SF-1020 flow bench. The SF-1020 is a computerized flow bench capable of measuring airflow rates up to 1020 cubic feet per minute (cfm) at test pressures of up to 65 inches of water. K&N has developed procedures for measuring airflow and pressure differential (restriction) of the various size and shaped filter elements that we manufacture. These procedures are followed to ensure a consistent comparison of airflows between filters that are of differing material or manufacture.

K&N automotive replacement air filters can go up to 50,000 miles, under normal driving conditions, before cleaning and re-oiling

K&N automotive replacement air filters can go up to 50,000 miles, under normal driving conditions, before cleaning and re-oiling

High airflow isn’t the only point of consideration when developing a K&N performance air filter. K&N places the utmost importance on our air filters’ dirt retention and filtration efficiencies. The secret to increased airflow without sacrificing engine protection lies in K&N’s specially designed air filter oil. K&N air filter oil has been developed to remain suspended within the thousands of microscopic cotton fibers found in a K&N high-flow air filter. K&N air filter oil acts as a tacking agent designed to grab fine particles of dirt and hold onto it until the K&N air filter is cleaned. K&N operates an in-house filtration test lab with two different testing machines built in consultation with Southwest Research Institute. K&N performs tests of filters both in the factory air box and in SAE/ISO recommended test housing fixtures. K&N’s goal is to design filters with the maximum possible airflow achievable while providing guaranteed engine protection. Our actual air filters when tested generally demonstrate a cumulative filtration efficiency of between 96% and 99%.

When using the air filter oil squeeze bottle, apply K&N air filter oil evenly along the crown of each pleat

When using the air filter oil squeeze bottle, apply K&N air filter oil evenly along the crown of each pleat, allow the oil to wick for 20 minutes then touch up any light areas on either side of filter

Through the years there has been much debate concerning the use of air filter oil as a tacking agent on air filters. K&N isn’t the only company to use an oil treatment on its air filters. As a matter of fact, several original equipment (OE) and aftermarket disposable paper air filters use air filter oil to ensure air filtration efficiency. K&N is very aware of the "urban myth” created by a few dealerships that a vehicle's MAF sensor can be contaminated by K&N filter oil. The fact is that K&N air filter oil does not come off K&N air filters. In house testing of an over-oiled K&N air filter under extreme airflow conditions, and the use of an absolute test filter, has confirmed that no oil came off the K&N replacement air filter. Furthermore, in the last 7 years, K&N has had more than 300 actual sensors sent to us by consumers with documents showing dealerships claimed our product had caused them to fail. Microscopic, electronic, and chemical testing revealed that none of these sensors were contaminated by K&N filter oil.

If using the aerosol bottle, spray the oil evenly along the crown of each pleat holding the spray nozzle about 3in away from the filter

If using the aerosol bottle, spray the oil evenly along the crown of each pleat holding the spray nozzle about 3" away from the filter, allow the oil to wick and touch up any light areas on either side of the filter

The oil treatment on K&N cotton gauze air filters is very small (usually less than 2 ounces) and is a critical component of K&N’s legendary air filtration technology. Once K&N filter oil is properly and evenly absorbed through the cotton, no oil will come off, even under extreme engine conditions. Most K&N air filters come pre-oiled from the factory using automated oiling machines. These machines are programmed to apply the precise amount of K&N air filter oil specific to each K&N air filter. K&N automotive replacement air filters can go up to 50,000 miles, under normal driving conditions, before air filter cleaning and re-oiling is necessary. The oversized conical air filters used on K&N performance air intake systems can go even longer, sometimes up to 100,000 miles before it’s time to service the air filter.

K&N offers two versions of the K&N Recharger air filter service kit. The two air filter service kits both contain specially formulated K&N PowerKleen degreaser and K&N air filter oil necessary to restore airflow efficiency and bring a K&N oiled cotton air filter performance to like new condition. The difference between each kit is the style of bottle used to apply the K&N air filter oil. K&N Recharger part number 99-5000 includes a 6.5 ounce aerosol can of K&N air filter oil for a quick and easy application of filter oil. K&N Recharger part number 99-5050 includes an 8 ounce squeeze bottle of oil for a clean and precise application of filter oil. Both Recharger kits work equally well, and the decision between the two is based on personal preference. However, the use of a squeeze bottle of K&N air filter oil will aid K&N users looking to more accurately measure the amount of oil applied to their filter. K&N lists the factory prescribed amount of air filter oil for each K&N air filter on KNFilters.com under the product specifications.

K&N filters undergo multiple performance tests that allow K&N to back them with a 10-year/million mile limited warranty

K&N replacement air filters undergo multiple durability and performance tests that allow K&N the confidence to back them with a 10-year/million mile limited warranty

The actual act of re-oiling a K&N air filter is pretty simple and can be accomplished in almost no-time flat. When using the air filter oil squeeze bottle found in K&N filter cleaning kit 99-5050, apply K&N air filter oil evenly along the crown of each pleat. Allow the oil to wick for approximately 20 minutes then touch up any light areas on either side of filter until there is a uniform red color in all areas. Oiling a K&N air filter using the air filter oil aerosol spray found in K&N filter cleaning kit 99-5000 is similar to the squeeze bottle oiling. Spray the oil evenly along the crown of each pleat holding the spray nozzle about 3" away from the filter. Allow the oil to wick for approximately 20 minutes. Touch up any light areas on either side of the filter until there is a uniform red color in all areas. K&N offers air filter oil in 1/2 ounce pillow packs for small jobs up to a 5 gallon pail of air filter oil for individuals who require a large supply of K&N filter oil on hand.

K&N replacement air filters are designed and manufactured in the United States. K&N replacement air filters undergo multiple durability and performance tests that allow K&N the confidence to back them with a 10-year/million mile limited warranty. Additionally, K&N warrants that using its products will not result in a vehicle warranty denial. If you experience difficulties with a dealership repair department, K&N will step-in and resolve the issue, so you won't have to. Use the K&N search by vehicle tool to find a K&N air filter, or other performance upgrades, for your car, truck, SUV, or motorcycle. To find an authorized K&N dealer use the K&N dealer search to find a dealer in your part of the world.


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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 30 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.