Engine damage caused by dust and dirt ingression through a damaged or poor air filter

A good maintenance plan requires more than a good oil. Here we see what happens when you use an air compressor to clean an air filter or use a filter that does not stop the dust from entering the engine.

The driver of this first SUV said he was very careful about cleaning his air filter. You can see that the damage to the engine in 6500 km is the equivalent of more than 250,000 kilometers of normal driving.

In a normal oil analysis, the aluminum would be about 1/3 of the value of the silicon (dirt) due to the normal composition of the dust particles. Anything over this is aluminum wear from the block or other aluminum surfaces.

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In the next example we have a Toyota Land Cruiser with only 71,000 kilometers, but by cleaning the air filter with compressed air, in this sample we have about 240,000 kilometers of wear metals.
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The next Toyota pickup goes back and forth between the city and the country daily, using a mix of paved and dirt roads. The mechanics clean off the filter with air to "extend its life", allowing a lot of dirt into the engine.

The 325 ppm of dirt caused 991 ppm of wear in the cylinders and other parts, as well as 72 ppm in chrome parts. This represents close to 400,000 km of normal use in these condicionts or 800,000 km of use in paved roads under the best of conditions. This oil was only in the pickup 3000 km (about 1800 miles)
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This tractor engine also suffered from cleaning the air filter. The 30 ppm of dirt caused 7 times as much wear as normal for this type of eqipment. That is the equivalent of 2800 hours of use in only 400 hours.
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Here we have another example of a pickup where they clean the air filter. We can see that in this oil change it was contaminated by 216 ppm of dirt, causing more than 300,000 kilometers of wear. It also has a high level of sodium, possibly from water ingresion, although there are no other signs of water.
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This Mercedes truck is used for long haul transportation. The driver refuses to believe he is damaging the engine by cleaning the filter, thinking he is gaining power by cleaning the filter after each trip.

The cylinder wear of 135 ppm caused by 49 ppm of dirt is about 4 times normal, or 6 times what good maintenance would be. In 10,000 kilometers it has got 40,000 to 60,000 km of wear.
Este caso es un camión utilizado para rutas nacionales de larga distancia.  El chofer también cree que se debería soplar el filtro de aire con aire comprimido para mantenerlo limpio y dar más fuerza al motor.

Note that this oil (Argentine Repsol) sheared down from a 15W-40 to a 15W-30, reducing the protection in the bearings and valve train.
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A high quality oil can reduce the wear slightly, but when dirt enters the engine, there is always wear. Here are more examples of wear caused by dirt passing through the air filter.
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