Honda OEM vs. Aftermarket Air Filters: Unbelievable Differences Revealed!

Air filters are essential for cars to keep the engine clean and healthy. They stop dirt, debris, and other things from getting into the machine. However, there is a debate about whether Honda’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) air filters are better than aftermarket items. In this comparison guide, I will explain the Honda OEM air filter vs. aftermarket air filter.

Honda – the automobile giant makes Honda OEM air filters. These OEM filters are purposefully built to last longer and fit precisely in the car. Alternatively, different companies make aftermarket air filter with possible compatibility and fit. But these air filters are comparatively cheaper than OEMs.

Many experts and websites recommend Honda OEM air filters as a better choice. These products are made for specific car models to fit appropriately. Also, they come with quality assurance and warranties. But aftermarket air filters may have a compromised lifespan than these OEM air filters.

Here’s a comparison table between Honda OEM and aftermarket air filters:

CriteriaHonda OEM Air FiltersAftermarket Air Filters
CompatibilityGuaranteed fit for Honda vehiclesCompatibility varies by brand and model
QualityHigh-quality materials and constructionQuality varies by brand and filter material
PerformanceDesigned for optimal engine performancePerformance claims vary by brand
Upkeep/Replacement Schedule15,000 to 30,000 miles15,000 to 30,000 miles (washable filters may have different schedules)
Warranty ImpactNo impact on Honda warrantyNo effect if the part meets manufacturer’s specifications
PriceGenerally higher than aftermarket filtersTypically, lower than OEM filters

Honda OEM Air Filters

Honda OEM air filters are special filters of top quality. They are mainly designed for Honda cars.

OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer”. It means Honda itself makes these air filters. According to HondaPartsOnline, you can find the right OEM product by matching it to your vehicle’s model. After installation, these air filters will keep the engine clean by filtering out contaminants.

OEM air filters are essential to make your car’s engine work efficiently. They ensure the air going into the engine is clean.

Advantages of Honda OEM Air Filters

You will get these benefits of using Honda OEM filters over aftermarket filters:

  1. Perfect fit: OEM air filters are designed specifically for Honda vehicles. So they fit perfectly and provide optimal performance. (Drive Accord).
  2. Quality assurance: Honda OEM air filters are made with high-quality materials. They go through rigorous testing to meet the manufacturer’s standards. In return, you get a reliable and durable product for your vehicle. Aftermarket filters may not have the same level of quality assurance (CRV Owners Club).
  3. Consistent performance: OEM air filters maintain consistent performance levels throughout their lifespan. Your engine remains protected for an extended period.
  4. Warranty coverage: Honda OEM air filters can maintain your vehicle’s warranty. Yet you can use aftermarket filters without voiding the contract if they meet the performance standards of the original part. Still, using OEM filters ensures compliance with warranty requirements.

Disadvantages of Honda OEM Air Filters

There are a couple of disadvantages to using Honda OEM air filters:

  1. Higher cost: Honda OEM air filters may be more expensive than some aftermarket options. It can make them less attractive for budget-conscious consumers. However, the higher price is often justified by the quality assurance, compatibility, and warranty coverage provided by OEM filters (CRV Owners Club).
  2. Limited variety: Honda OEM air filters might not be as readily available as aftermarket filters. If you have no nearby Honda dealership or parts store, getting one may appear more complex.

Aftermarket Air Filters

Companies other than the original vehicle manufacturer produce aftermarket air filters. These filters can replace the original air filter in your vehicle’s engine. Many companies claim their designs can increase horsepower and torque and improve acceleration.

You can find aftermarket air filters in various materials and designs. According to Motor Authority, Torque, and Hagerty, they may offer different benefits compared to OEM filters. However, you should choose an aftermarket air filter meeting the necessary performance standards for your vehicle. It will avoid potential compatibility and warranty issues.

Advantages of Aftermarket Air Filters

You will get multiple benefits from using high-performance or aftermarket air filters like these:

  1. Performance enhancements: Aftermarket air filters (remarkably high-flow ones) allow more air to penetrate the engine intake system. They provide better combustion and increase maximum power and peak torque output. So, you will get improved engine performance and throttle response.
  2. Improved fuel efficiency: Often, aftermarket air filters can slightly enhance fuel efficiency for a better combustion process.
  3. Longer lifespan: Aftermarket air filters may not get clogged as easily as regular air filters. So, they don’t need to be replaced as frequently. Some high-flow air filters can be used for multiple years. They only need to be cleaned every two years (bikedekho).
  1. Cost-effective: Motor Authority says aftermarket air filters can be more affordable than OEM filters. So, they are an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers. However, you should prioritize quality and compatibility when choosing an aftermarket filter.
  2. Wide variations: You can find many aftermarket air filter options. So, you can choose from different materials, designs, and brands to suit vehicle requirements.

Disadvantages of Aftermarket Air Filters

Besides the benefits, you may also get some disadvantages of using aftermarket air filters. They can be:

  1. Potential for reduced filtration: A low-quality aftermarket air filter may not filter debris and contaminants as effectively as an OEM filter. It can cause increased dirt and dust in the engine oil, accelerating engine wear and potential damage.
  2. Quality concerns: Aftermarket air filters can be made with cheaper materials or without matching OEM spes. So, they may lead to reduced filtration and shorter lifespan. It will allow more dirt and debris to enter the engine.
  3. Water ingestion risk: Some aftermarket air filters (especially those with cold air intakes) are more susceptible to soaking up water splashed from the road. This water can penetrate the engine and cause damage. However, using a Hydroshield or avoiding high-water roads can mitigate this risk.
  1. Compatibility with mass air flow sensors: Some aftermarket air filters (particularly with oiled filtering elements) may cause issues with vehicle air flow sensors. Oil buildup on the sensors causes fouling or errors. So, you may need to clean or replace them often (CarsDirect).
  2. Compatibility issues: Some aftermarket air filters may not fit perfectly in your vehicle. It may cause gaps around the filter that allow unfiltered air and dust to enter the engine.
  3. Potential impact on warranty: The Consumer Products Warranty Act protects the right to use aftermarket parts without voiding your warranty. Still, keeping your stock filter and reinstalling it if your car breaks down is a good idea. It is due to some makers may claim that an aftermarket air filter caused the issue.
  4. Legal restrictions: In some regions, certain aftermarket air filters may not be legal for use on public roads due to emission regulations. For example, some K&N intake systems are not CARB-exempt in California. (Cars Direct).

Factors to Consider: Honda OEM Air Filter vs. Aftermarket Air Filter

Consider the following factors when comparing OEM and aftermarket options for your Honda vehicle:


Honda OEM air filters are built to meet Honda’s specifications while ensuring high quality and filtration. Alternatively, aftermarket air filters can vary in quality. Some reputable brands offer equivalent performance, while others may not meet the same standards. You should choose a trustworthy aftermarket brand if you decide to go that route.


OEM air filters are designed to fit perfectly in your Honda vehicle. Some aftermarket air filters may not work as precisely. They may create gaps to allow unfiltered air into the engine.


Some aftermarket air filters, like K&N or AEM Dryflow, offer improved airflow and performance compared to OEM filters. But you should choose an aftermarket filter that is compatible with your vehicle. Also, it should not cause issues with mass air flow sensors or other components.


OEM air filters generally have a reliable lifespan for their high-quality materials and construction. But aftermarket air filters vary in longevity. Some last if OEM filters and others may require more frequent replacement.

Maintenance Requirements

OEM and aftermarket air filters require regular maintenance at recommended intervals, like inspection and replacement. Some aftermarket filters are washable and reusable. These facilities may reduce replacements but increase frequent cleaning.


OEM air filters can be more expensive than aftermarket options. However, some users find that the price difference is worth it. Others may prefer a reputable aftermarket brand to save on costs.

Warranty Implications

An aftermarket air filter may impact your vehicle’s warranty if it does not meet the manufacturer’s specs. So, you should check owner’s manual for any specific warranty requirements. Then, choose aftermarket parts that meet those standards. Alternatively, using OEM air filters can help ensure your warranty remains valid.

Manufacturer Reputation

You should pick a reputable brand that produces high-quality aftermarket products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some FAQs about Honda OEM air filters and aftermarket air filters:

Can I use an aftermarket air filter on my Honda vehicle?

Answer: Yes, you can! But it should be compatible with your specific vehicle model.

Does using an aftermarket air filter on my Honda vehicle invalidate the warranty?

Answer: Using an aftermarket air filter will not void your Honda warranty. But it should meet the manufacturer’s specifications. It is better to read the owner’s manual first regarding this matter.

What is the recommended frequency for air filter replacement?

Answer: Depending on your driving conditions, replace your air filter (whether OEM or aftermarket) every 15,000 to 30,000 miles.

Are aftermarket air filters better for performance?

Answer: Some claim to offer better performance by allowing more air to flow into the engine. However, increased airflow can also result in more dirt and debris entering the engine. It may negatively impact performance.

Is the additional cost of OEM air filters justified in terms of their value?

Answer: OEM air filters are designed for your Honda vehicle for proper fit and function. They are made with high-quality filter material and match OEM specifications. Also, they reduce the risk of gaps that allow unfiltered air into the engine. So, they are worth their price!


Now, I am at the end of the “Honda OEM air filter vs. aftermarket air filter” discussion. I have explained both air filters with their benefits, weaknesses, and selection process in this guide.

In short, if you want maximum performance and longevity but with a higher expense, you should use Honda OEM air filters. But you can save more money and get almost OEM-like performance from many aftermarket air filters.

I suggest you read the vehicle manual before ordering any air filters for your Honda cars. It will protect the warranty and ensure better quality and performance. That’s all for today regarding the air filters for Honda

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