mustang air cleaner

Reusable air filters for your classic Mustang

Have you opened up your classic Mustang’s air cleaner recently? Chances are the air filter that’s inside is still the original cardboard model, as mine was.

All Mustangs originally came with waxed cardboard air filters, and the point was to replace these disposable filters on a regular basis (every 10,000 miles, give or take) to ensure proper air flow.

However, if you drive your car in a moist or cold climate, the cardboard filter is at risk of crumbling or absorbing moisture, which would end up restricting the air flow to your carburetor.

When next replacing your air filter, consider using a reusable air filter. These filters are actually washable, and have an advertised lifetime of at around 100.000 miles.

mustang air cleaner

Why use a reusable/washable air filter?

There are actually a lot of added benefits to using reusable, washable air filters:

  • More power: using a reusable filter results in increased air flow to the engine than the original paper filters. This can result in increased (horse)power and acceleration. When your air filter is dirty or clogged up, your vehicle could lose up to 10% acceleration.
  • Longevity: these filters are advertised to last for 100.000 miles (with a recommended cleaning at 50.000 miles), which in terms of a classic Mustang should mean… forever?
  • Easy to install: just drop it into the air cleaner instead of the old paper model
  • Cheaper over time: they are more expensive than disposable filters, but they last a heck of a lot longer
  • eco-friendly: self-explanatory
  • better filtration: these filters are engineered to filter out harmful contaminants, the old ones are made of… cardboard.
  • Low maintenance: 50,000 miles until you have to wash it for the first time, so chances are you’re set
  • Better looks: if you’re into under-the-hood dress-up, I actually think these filters look better. Mine is red, which looks a lot better than the ‘cardboard look’.

Basically, this upgrade seems a no-brainer to me. Keep your engine safe from harmful dust, while increasing your horsepower and acceleration. As an added bonus, it’s actually cheaper over time and you have to worry about changing it less frequently.

Bonus tip: how to clean your reusable air filter

When you do hit that 50k mile limit, the washable filters aren’t hard to clean. Basically, just take it out and shake the worst of the dust off. Then soak it in water for 15 minutes (you can add a special air filter cleaner mixture to the water, but you don’t have to). Then rinse the filter off in the sink or with your garden hose. Once dry, you can re-apply filter oil to the filter, but this step is optional. Once completely dry you are good to go again!

air cleaner mustang

Did this post help you? Do you have experience with this subject? Share your thoughts or ask a question in the comments section!

2 thoughts on “Reusable air filters for your classic Mustang”

  1. 100% agree with this upgrade – never had to wash it tho, haven’t reached that 50.000 mile limit on my vintage mustang yet.

    • Me neither – I just added the info for the sake of completeness. I think a lot of us aren’t going to run up 50k miles on our vintage babies any time soon, but you never know!


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