According to the US Department of Energy, if a 2019 or newer light vehicle rolls into your shop, there is a one in three chance that it will be turbocharged. While you may think turbocharged engines are all about boost pressures, the reality is that they are all about negative pressure. This is because the compressor wheel of the turbocharger pulls in air from the outside and can produce more negative pressure than a naturally aspirated vehicle. This increased negative pressure acts directly on the air filter.
If an air filter is not engineered with the correct pleats, materials and structure, the suction from the spooling turbo can cause the filter to possibly collapse and tear. This can allow unfiltered air to enter the engine. Eventually, the unfiltered air can cause the mass airflow sensor to become contaminated. The debris can also enter the motor and damage the cylinder walls, bearings and the turbocharger.
Even if the filter is engineered for turbocharged applications, it will fail if the owner procrastinates on replacement. As the filter collects the contaminates, it becomes clogged and creates a greater pressure differential between the two sides of the filter. The vacuum created by the turbo can rip it from the frame and tear the pleats.
On some applications, the filter manufacturer will also use more rigid filter media to withstand the changes in pressure. So make sure you are not only the correct make, model and year, but you also need to select the correct engine.
This video is sponsored by FRAM.