Understanding the Different PCV Filter Types
As part of your car’s PCV or Positive Crankcase Ventilation system, the PCV filter helps reduce blowby engine emissions. These are gases that flow past the piston rings and go inside the crankcase. Without a properly functioning breather or crankcase filter, the PCV won’t be able to effectively prevent oil-contaminated air from re-entering the engine. When this happens, you will most likely experience engine power loss and a decrease in overall engine performance. Fortunately, finding a replacement for a worn-out filter is easy but overwhelming because of the many options you have today. This component is available in several types depending on local emission regulations, mounting options, and applications:
Based on emission regulations
Inline – Inline filters basically use a reticulated and washable foam filter material that can be attached to an existing PCV pipe. This type is suited for your vehicle if you live in a country or state wherein venting emissions into the atmosphere isn’t legal.
To-atmosphere – This type comes with either an alloy or rubber neck so you could attach it to your vehicle’s crankcase hose. The filter material inside is made of crushed aluminum and is resistant to corrosion caused by petrochemicals.
Based on mounting options
Screw-in – To attach this filter type, you need to screw it directly onto the valve cover. This is commonly used on Ford valve covers.
Push-in – A universal type of PCV filter, this type is pushed into the valve cover.
Clamp-on – As its name suggests, this type is installed by clamping it on the PCV assembly.
Based on application
Traditional –A traditional type is used on a variety of vehicle makes and models. If you’re looking for a replacement filter for a non-racing vehicle, a traditional type that matches your car’s specs and meets local emission laws is what you probably need.
Vent covered – This filter type usually features a multi-hose vent design or a covered flat base to suit a variety of engine applications and sizes. Multi-hose filters are perfect for handling big-bore and high-performance engines used in racing cars, while flat base covered filters are specifically made for stock Volkswagen and other smaller racing engines.
Keep Blowby Emissions at Bay by Replacing the PCV Filter
With the help of the PCV or crankcase filter, oil-contaminated air is effectively kept away from the engine. When this component fails, expect a significant decrease in overall engine performance and efficiency. So before an old PCV filter causes more car trouble, replace it with a direct-fit component. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install one on your vehicle. (Instructions may not be specific to your car.)
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools you’ll need:
- Scraper or microfiber cloth
Step 1: Locate the PCV filter. Because this part is usually attached to the air filter, you need to locate first the air filter housing. The housing is usually mounted on the engine bay’s front corner. If you’re having problems locating the housing or the PCV filter, check your vehicle manual.
Step 2: Remove the air filter housing cover. Depending on your car make and model, the cover can be fastened by clips, wing nuts, or regular nuts. Once you’ve figured out the type of housing fasteners your car uses, use the right tool (screwdriver or wrench) to loosen them so you could remove the cover. Once the cover is removed, clean it with a microfiber cloth to get rid of debris.
Step 3: Disconnect the air filter housing. After removing the cover, you can now remove the air filter housing from the assembly. But before you pull out the filter housing, make sure to take note of the air filter’s exact position. To make reinstallation easier, you can make your own diagram of the filter housing for reference.
Step 4: Remove the old crankcase filter. Take a look inside the air filter housing you just removed, and you should see the PCV filter inside. Loosen the retaining clips that attach the PCV filter into the housing, along with its plastic housing. Carefully pull out the PCV filter and compare it to the new filter. This is to make sure that the new part you got is an exact and direct-fit replacement.
Step 5: Install the new PCV filter. Place the new crankcase filter in position inside the air filter housing and reattach the retaining clips and its plastic housing. Once the new filter is securely attached, reinstall the air filter housing back into your vehicle. Then screw the nuts or reattach the clips of the air filter housing cover back in place.