Repairs :: Do K&N Filters Foul Your Mass Air Flow Sensor?

I recently attended a K&N product info session where a company representative demystified the issues surrounding mass air flow sensor contamination from K&N air filters.

As I was sitting there in the K&N info session, listening to a bald man with a raspy voice throwing me his best pitch on air filters, I thought to myself, "K&N really does care for their customers."

This guy wasn't just some salesman. Heck, he was as nervous as 6th grader giving a book report in front of the class. He stuttered and stammered over his words, as if it were his first presentation. But you know what? The guy knew what he was talking about. Cars are his life. Maybe it was the excitement in his words or the bumper repair Wynyard sweat dripping down his face, but I could tell he wasn't faking. He loved his job and loved talking about auto air filters. He even told us his life story-- about growing up working on cars with his dad.

But, back to the debate. People around the country are bringing their cars to dealerships and mechanics with MAF(Mass Air Flow Sensor) problems. The problem--MAF failure. What causes MAF problems? The dealerships claim excess oil from K&N filters is to blame.

The K&N representative, however, gave a compelling argument. If you are not familiar with what a K&N filter looks like, let me explain. It is cone shaped part, basically constructed of a paper filter with wire mesh around it. It attaches to a hose that brings air into the engine; blocking dirt, bugs, and any other hazardous objects that happen to make their way under your hood. The paper, which is the filter, is coated in oil.

Have you ever gotten a really greasy piece of pizza and blotted it with a napkin. If you haven't, I will give you the low down. The napkin absorbs the grease, practically making the paper transparent. Well the paper is similar. The filter absorbs the oil, which coats it for protection, and is invisible. You can't even see it. Mechanics are claiming that the oil from the filter is coming off the paper an affecting the MAF. Even if you were driving 103mph and held a grease covered napkin out the window, the oil wouldn't come off--trust me.

His number two argument. The MAF is fouled by oil right? Well, the MAF is in the engine. Do you know what is constantly cycling through the engine? You got it-- oil. It is much more likely for oil from the engine to get sucked through the intake and foul the MAF.

His final point. Is the filter fouling the MAF or is the MAF flawed? It is just as likely that the MAF comes defective from the factory. Mechanics are telling customers that MAF readings show it is "saturated" with oil from the K&N filter. But I looked at the cone-shaped piece in the man's hands. It was a solid, dry piece. He made a good point. Where would all this "excess" oil come from? Hmmm...

Of the 2,500,000 filters K&N sells a year, they encounter less than 200 dealership problems annually. The representative continued to explain the company's lengthy product testing process. I work for an automotive company, but I'm not that into my car. I'm more of a motorcycle guy. My point being, I was ready to buy a K&N air filter. On top of all the testing, K&N works with customers to make sure dealerships honor their warranties. Solid argument if you ask me.

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