An increasing number of fleets and independent drivers are looking at reusable or cleanable filters as a way to save on maintenance costs. Although initially more expensive than standard filters, some reusable filters can survive the lifespan of durable high-speed diesel engines.

“The industry has changed regarding reusable filters to the extent that many fleets are cleaning them on their own,” says Karl Dedolph, president of D3 Consulting, an independent group that provides sales and marketing strategies in filtration and lubrication.

Sponsoring a task force by D3 Consulting, the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) is currently evaluating reusable filtration devices including air, coolant, fuel, lube — any kind of filtration that is used on trucks.

“The main challenges that the task force addresses are economic,” says Dedolph. “And the potential benefits of using reusable/cleanable filters are certainly within that scope, including savings on filter costs, inventory costs and disposal costs.”

Filters must meet the accepted OEM standards for efficiency, capacity and flow. Of these measures, capacity seems to be the prominent one for the TMC task force. If a reusable filter does not provide the necessary capacity over the PM duration, the other economic and performance benefits could be in question.

The reusable filter technology was first developed, tested and manufactured by Parker Hannifin’s Racor Division almost a decade before it was turned over to Filtration Technology Group (FTG), a Racor distributor, which has independently manufactured it for several years.  FTG is a manufacturer of custom lubrication filters and a global supplier of quality filters. 

As far as potential savings are concerned, FTG has cited cases where a fleet of trucks has tracked its use of conventional filters for a 10-year period and calculated expenditures of $350,000. There is evidence that converting to reusable filters could save the same fleet over a thousand dollars per vehicle.