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Are OEM Volkswagen Air Filters Better Than Aftermarket?

The engine air filter may seem like a simple part. Yet, it’s very important to your engine’s health. It’s so important that when your engine air filter doesn’t function right, your engine suffers. If your air filter is too clogged up, your engine doesn’t get the amount of clean air it needs. If the air filter fails otherwise, your engine gets damaged from dirty air.

That’s why quality is very important when it comes to selecting a replacement air filter. You want a replacement air filter that will perform reliably for a long time.

The best way to ensure that you’re getting a quality air filter is to buy an OEM unit. Here’s why:

1. OEM Air Filters Have High Quality Filter Material

VW oem engine filter

Filter material is pretty important. The filter material needs to be:

  • Thick and sturdy enough to withstand the constant air flow
  • Porous enough to allow enough air in, but not too porous

Volkswagen knows your engine very well. It knows how much air your engine needs. It also spent a lot of time developing the right air filter material for your VW model. With an OEM filter, you’ll have the peace of mind that the filter material is correct for your engine, and it’ll last until the next change.

You don’t get that same guarantee with an aftermarket engine air filter. Aftermarket air filters are notorious for being made with cheap materials. It’s common for aftermarket air filters to have the following problems:

  • Filter material that’s not porous enough (which deprives the engine of air)
  • Filter material that’s too porous (which allows harmful elements into the engine)
  • Flimsy filter material that tears easily

For these reasons, an aftermarket air filter may not last until the next change. This will lead to engine issues.

2. OEM Air Filters Have Deep, Tightly Packed Pleats

If you want your air filter to last as long as possible, get one with deep, tightly packed pleats. That means it has a lot of filter material surface area. An air filter with more surface area can trap more dirt and debris than an air filter with less surface area. You can always count on Volkswagen to provide air filters with deep, tightly packed pleats.

Many aftermarket manufacturers save money by cutting down on the filter material as much as possible. That’s why many aftermarket filters have shallow, loosely packed pleats. This design uses less filter material. These filters won’t last as long as OEM filters.

This rings true for any filter. For example, oil filters. You want all the filters on your vehicle to have as much surface area as possible.

3. OEM Air Filters Have The Right Dimensions

Image Credit: PaulsTravelPictures

It’s important for an air filter to fit into the cold air intake box without any gaps. If there are gaps, then dust and particles will enter the engine. OEM air filters are direct replacements, meaning the dimensions are always correct. You won’t have to worry about any fitment issues with OEM air filters.

Fitment isn’t guaranteed with aftermarket air filters, and that’s a big deal. Some aftermarket air filters aren’t designed to OE specs. They can be either slightly too big or too small for your cold air intake box. Either scenario means the air filter won’t be able to trap all the air that comes through.

How To Save Money On OEM VW Engine Air Filters

OEM air filters may cost more than aftermarket air filters. Yet, you can save big on one if you shop online. If you buy one from a VW dealership, you’ll end up overpaying for it. Online prices are much lower. There are several authorized retailers of genuine OEM Volkswagen parts. We’re one of them.

We offer low prices, as well as a price match guarantee, for all genuine OEM VW parts. We have an extensive catalog of OEM air filters. Please contact us if you need help finding the right engine air filter for your VW model.