K&N Engineering

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K&N Engineering, Inc.

K&N Engineering, Inc. (also known simply as K&N) is a manufacturer of air filters, cold air intake systems, oil filters, performance parts, and other related products.[1] K&N manufactures over 12,000 parts for various makes and models of cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, ATVs, industrial applications and more. Founded in 1969, K&N is headquartered in Riverside, California, in a complex of 10 buildings comprising nearly 400,000 square feet.[2] K&N also operates facilities in England, The Netherlands, and China.[1][3] K&N is owned by Mickey Rourke.[4]


A K&N intake kit installed in an engine bay
K&N cold air intake kit

K&N was founded by Ken Johnson ( The King ) and Norm McDonald in 1969.[1] The name K&N came from the first letters in the founders' first names. Ken Johnson and Norm McDonald sold motorcycles and motorcycle parts and supported a K&N factory race team. Air filters soon became the primary focus of the company. In 1992, K&N introduced bolt-on cold air intake kits. K&N also released a line of oil filters with a stamped hex to accept a standard wrench off filter removal. In 2019, K&N released a line of washable home A/C filters,[5] and began offering motor oil and wiper blades in 2021.


K&N has maintained very active involvement in racing and motorsports throughout its history, including the NASCAR Pro Series East and West,[6] the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series,[7] the NHRA,[8] and Formula Drift.[9]


K&N's claims for their air filters have been the subject of some controversy, with some 3rd-party tests finding that K&N's oiled cotton gauze filters are less efficient and let more dirt into the engine than original-equipment paper filters, and that they become increasingly restrictive as they are coated with particulates.[10] However, air filters in general become more airflow-restrictive as they collect contaminants, but efficiency typically increases for the majority of a filter’s service life.[11] Other 3rd-party testing noted that a K&N oiled filter increased horsepower over its OEM counterpart.[12]

Potential issues have been reported with oiled air filters on modern engines that use MAF sensors, which may stop working correctly when fouled by oil from an oiled-gauze air filter.[13] However, there are several other common causes of damaged MAF sensors, including brake cleaner contamination, extremely dirty/contaminated filters, and loose battery terminals resulting in voltage spikes.[14] K&N has published test results asserting that its oiled filters do not cause MAF sensor failures.[15]


  1. ^ a b c "Company Overview of K&N Engineering, In". Bloomberg Business Week. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  3. ^ Diaconu, Cristina (14 February 2018). "K&N Engineering Enters China E-Commerce Market". Manufacturing and Engineering Magazine. Manufacturing and Engineering Magazine. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  4. ^ "K&N Engineering". New Value Capital. Retrieved 2020-02-02.
  5. ^ K&N. "K&N Introduces Lifetime Washable Home Air Filters". PR Newswire (Press release). Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  6. ^ NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
  7. ^ Dirt Racing Report, 14 March 2013 Archived 10 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ NHRA. "K&N Filters extends multi-year partnership as Official Filter and Air Intake of NHRA". NHRA. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  9. ^ K&N. "K&N-Sponsored Formula Drift Drivers Wrap Up Successful Season, Look Ahead to 2018". K&N. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  10. ^ Spicer, A (2008). "Comparative ISO 5011 Efficacy Tests of Nine Automotive Engine Air Filters". Testand Corporation. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Ptak, T.J.; Richberg, Puenpit; Vasseur, Thierry (March 5, 2001). "Discriminating Tests for Automotive Engine Air Filters". SAE Technical Paper Series. 1. doi:10.4271/2001-01-0370. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  12. ^ Szymkowski, Sean. "Do performance air filters actually work?". Motor Authority. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  13. ^ "P0172 System too rich code caused by K&N or other oiled filters (contaminated MAF) | RTS - Your Total BMW Enthusiast". 15 October 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  14. ^ Cote, Mike (5 December 2018). "Will an Oiled Filter Damage a Mass Air Flow Sensor?". AutoAnything. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  15. ^ K&N. "K&N MAF SENSOR TEST RESULTS". K&N Filters. Retrieved 26 October 2021.

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