4 K&N Air Filter Oil Substitute

K&N air filters are considered one of the best in the market, and along with them, you can acquire a cleaning kit and oil from the same brand. However, if you thought K&N oil was the only product you can use, you’d be happy to know there are substitutes to K&N Air Filter Oil that will be equally efficient.


Importance of an Air Filter

The optimum efficiency of a car needs a certain amount of air with specific quality standards, such as density, a certain temperature, oxygen saturation, and most importantly, purity. What makes the air filter so important is that the air is filled with microscopic dust particles that reduce engine wear.

The filter oil has an important role in the functioning of your air filter, it’s responsible for:

  • Catching fine particles of dust, dirt, and sand.
  • Stopping water from passing through the filter.
  • Extends the engine life.
  • Prevents clogging.

Top Substitutes for K&N Air Filter Oil

Upon doing some research, I’ve found there are several K&N air filter oil substitutes you may want to consider when it comes time to do the air filter maintenance. Here’s what I found:

Motor Oil

Motor oil is not the most advisable option. However, in case of an emergency, it would be better to use motor oil than nothing. The main problem with this kind of oil is that it tends to pool in the airbox, distributes unevenly, and in some cases can be sucked through the intake tract.

Any of these problems will damage your car, but you need to take them into account when choosing your filter oil. Oils specially made for air filters have additives that solve these kinds of problems.

30W oil or better yet 90W oil

30W oil can also be used as an alternative to K&N filter oil, and 90W is an even better option. The higher the number, the thicker the oil will be. In this case, thick oil is what we aim for, as we need it to attach to the filter and create saturation.


Another alternative to air filter oil is ATF or automatic transmission fluid. Yet again, as with other alternatives, these are not 100% prepared for air filters but will work just fine.

WD-40 Spray

This kind of oil can also be used in your air filter. Just shake it and give your filter a nice even coat with it. Flip it over and make sure it’s completely covered, front and back.

Nothing Beats the Original

Any substitute you select for K&N Air Filter Oil will do the job pretty well. However, while I was researching these alternatives, I found many recommendations about the importance of going with the original.

Filter oil is designed to quickly become thick after application, which prevents the pooling inside the airbox, or uneven distribution. As we mentioned, they have special additives that make them perfect for the optimum performance of your engine.

As a result, I conclude that in special cases, such as an emergency or a limited budget, you can go for a substitute. Otherwise, stick to the original.

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