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Model 3 Air Filter Ok to Use?

BBrownUT

Member
May 11, 2021
38
38
Utah
Soon-to-be 2021 Model 3 SR+ owner here. Whenever I search for accessories for the M3, air intake filters or guards always come up. Is there an issue with air intake with the Model 3? Is it ok to add an aftermarket air filter? Strain on the a/c fan? Does Tesla suggest it? It seems to be one of the most talked about accessories but I cannot seem to find a lot of info on why.
 

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,197
1,770
Chicago suburbs
Here are a couple relevant threads that could be helpful:


To summarize... debris (leaves, needles, etc.) do get into the outside air intake and can lead to bad smells in the cabin when they decompose inside the car. And it’s very difficult to clean out that debris once it’s gotten in. So adding SOMEthing to keep that debris out is highly encouraged.

Then the question is, what to use? There are 3 main options:

1. Custom-fit plastic covers with small holes in them to let air through while keeping out leaves. But smaller debris like pine needles or stems or leaf fragments can still possibly get through. (Available on Amazon and elsewhere online.)

2. Aftermarket intake air filters made with finely-woven filter material — the kind of material that is typical in car and furnace filters and would filter out even very tiny dust particles. But at least one forum member reported that this type of filter added too much flow restriction and significantly reduced airflow from the cabin vents. (Available on Amazon and elsewhere online.)

3. A fibrous, high-flow, cut-to-size furnace filter that can be bought for cheap ($5-$10) at Walmart or Home Dept and cut with scissors to fit the shape of the intake opening. This seems to be the most effective option. It catches leaves and smaller needles, is moisture resistant, and it doesn’t restrict airflow much at all.

Here are a couple of these to choose from:

 
Last edited:

BBrownUT

Member
May 11, 2021
38
38
Utah
Here are a couple relevant threads that could be helpful:


To summarize... debris (leaves, needles, etc.) do get into the outside air intake and can lead to bad smells in the cabin when they decompose inside the car. And it’s very difficult to clean out that debris once it’s gotten in. So adding SOMEthing to keep that debris out is highly encouraged.

Then the question is, what to use? There are 3 main options:

1. Custom-fit plastic covers with small holes in them to let air through while keeping out leaves. But smaller debris like pine needles or stems or leaf fragments can still possibly get through. (Available on Amazon and elsewhere online.)

2. Aftermarket intake air filters made with finely-woven filter material — the kind of material that is typical in car and furnace filters and would filter out even very tiny dust particles. But at least one forum member reported that this type of filter added too much flow restriction and significantly reduced airflow from the cabin vents. (Available on Amazon and elsewhere online.)

3. A fibrous, high-flow, cut-to-size furnace filter that can be bought for cheap ($5-$10) at Walmart or Home Dept and cut with scissors to fit the shape of the intake opening. This seems to be the most effective option. It catches leaves and smaller needles, is moisture resistant, and it doesn’t restrict airflow much at all.

Here are a couple of these to choose from:

Thanks @jsmay311. I may go with option 3. With option 2, I have only found a few on Amazon that even say they will fit the new 2021 M3. There are several that look like this on Amazon but I am unsure (as you mentioned) about the airflow or impact on the a/c motor (but also want some filtration).

With the high-flow ones, how do you keep it from falling into the intake?
 

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,197
1,770
Chicago suburbs
With the high-flow ones, how do you keep it from falling into the intake?

Hm... after looking into this a bit more, I just realized the intake on the 2021 model year is different than earlier years. (The earlier years have a few cross braces in the middle of the opening that the filter can sit on, so it’s not possible for a filter to fall down into it. But the 2021 design lacks these cross braces.)

Nevertheless, the 2nd thread that I linked to in my previous post shows a couple examples of people with 2021-style intakes making it work. The OP describes it thusly:

Cut the piece out just a little larger so it kinda squeezes in place. The structure of the material against the foam surround is almost like velcro and holds in place really well.”
 
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Gasaraki

Active Member
Oct 21, 2019
2,087
1,448
Syracuse, NY
Here are a couple relevant threads that could be helpful:


To summarize... debris (leaves, needles, etc.) do get into the outside air intake and can lead to bad smells in the cabin when they decompose inside the car. And it’s very difficult to clean out that debris once it’s gotten in. So adding SOMEthing to keep that debris out is highly encouraged.

Then the question is, what to use? There are 3 main options:

1. Custom-fit plastic covers with small holes in them to let air through while keeping out leaves. But smaller debris like pine needles or stems or leaf fragments can still possibly get through. (Available on Amazon and elsewhere online.)

2. Aftermarket intake air filters made with finely-woven filter material — the kind of material that is typical in car and furnace filters and would filter out even very tiny dust particles. But at least one forum member reported that this type of filter added too much flow restriction and significantly reduced airflow from the cabin vents. (Available on Amazon and elsewhere online.)

3. A fibrous, high-flow, cut-to-size furnace filter that can be bought for cheap ($5-$10) at Walmart or Home Dept and cut with scissors to fit the shape of the intake opening. This seems to be the most effective option. It catches leaves and smaller needles, is moisture resistant, and it doesn’t restrict airflow much at all.

Here are a couple of these to choose from:

The air intake in the 2021 has been changed from the earlier model years. Mine has not stinked yet and it's been almost a year.
 

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