Just to clear the air, it will remain necessary for aftermarket professionals to be fluid in addressing the finer elements of vehicle filtration.
Not only have dirt, grit and liquid contaminates been posing a constant threat to prime engine performance and other mechanical functions since the advent of the horseless carriage, but invasive airborne pollutants have long been an irritant to vehicle occupants as well.
While goggles and trench coats are fortunately no longer needed as motoring apparel, engineering innovations regarding the filtration segment are ongoing among OEMs. These continuing design developments include new filter applications for electric vehicles – a trend that will maintain the aftermarket’s role in selling and servicing the category’s vast variety of product lines for years to come.
“E-mobility also requires clean air and clearly defined conditions. In that respect I see good opportunities,” says Dr. Martin Lehmann, vice president at the Champion Air Filtration division of MANN+HUMMEL, which additionally includes WIX, MANN, Purolator, NAPA and numerous private label brands.
“The requirements will be partly different, but just as before we will have to separate particles and water,” he points out. Collaborations with automakers pertaining to future EV filtering needs, along with filtering for eventual fuel cell propulsion systems, are moving forward. “The combustion engine will nevertheless continue to remain important, and we will continue to develop products in this area.”
For technicians and owners of aftermarket businesses, “We offer several training programs for beginners all the way to advanced,” adds Donald Chilton, MANN+HUMMEL’s director of product management.
“Our WIX Institute offers extensive teaching on all aspects of filtration over the course of two-and-a-half days. This takes place at our Gastonia, N.C. factory. In addition, our sales team offers 10-minute trainings at the counter called WIX 10,” he notes. “We also offer the opportunity to take advantage of our e-learning, which can be done at your own pace online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
A filter-specific self study course from General Motors and ACDelco covers oil filters, air filters, fuel filters, automatic transmission filters and cabin air filters. A selection of video titles such as Cabin Air Filters: Air on the Side of Science and Oil Filters: Filter Out the Facts are also a part of the firm’s educational offerings.
“ACDelco’s approach to training combines a variety of proven delivery methods to help ensure maximum learning potential for the service professional,” according to company spokeswoman Christine Kunde. “In addition to traditional instructor-led technical training courses and seminars, a wide selection of online courses is also available – allowing participants to complete the courses at their own pace and on their own schedule.”
As K&N Engineering rolls out its new Professional Series filter line for distributors and repairers serving DIFM customers, K&N University Field Training Clinics and a package of videos deliver useful product knowledge and marketing expertise.
“We do not want our video training series to be viewed simply as a K&N commercial,” says senior sales director Dennis Grau. “We will provide the shop owner and their technicians important technical information that will teach filtration as well as provide tips on how to sell premium filtration. One glaring opportunity is training the market on the negative results of not replacing the oil, air or cabin air filters on a regular basis.”