5 Common Questions Answered About Your Vehicle ‘s Air Filter

Questions about your cars air filter?  We have answers!  Continue reading for insider tips from leaders in the automotive industry.

What does an air filter do?

The air filter in your car prevents harmful dirt, debris, and other contaminants from getting into your engine during the combustion process.  As your vehicles engine burns fuel to propel you down the road, it also uses a massive amount of air which allows the fuel to ignite.  In fact, for each gallon of fuel burned, the engine uses up to 10,000 gallons of air!  The more clean air your vehicles engine gets, the better it’s going to run, which is why it is very important to keep a clean air filter.

Where is it located?

The air filter is generally located in a black plastic case near the top of the engine.  Depending on the manufacturer, it can be located on the left or right side of the engine, as well as directly in the center.  If you are unsure of where your vehicles air filter is, make sure to visit your nearest car care center.

How often should it be replaced?

For most cars, the air filter should be replaced about every 15,000 – 30,000 miles, depending on the driving conditions.  If you regularly drive on unpaved roads where you frequently experience dusty conditions, it should be changed more often.  If you don’t do a lot of driving, the filter should be replaced at least every 3 years, as it will begin to become brittle with age.

What happens when they get dirty?

When your air filter becomes dirty, your engine is forced to work harder resulting in decreased fuel economy (up to 14% lower than with a clean filter!), higher emissions, and even loss of engine power.  As well, spark plugs can become fouled, which often results in an engine miss or rough idle.  Another thing to consider is the amount of dirt and debris that can enter the engine as the filter becomes clogged and cannot do its job.  All of this dirt can cause internal engine problems and can significantly decrease the life of your engine.

What about the cabin filter?

Just like the air filter in your house, the cabin filter prevents dust, pollen, mold, smog, and other pollutants from entering your cars interior through the vents.  The cabin air filter should be replaced in the same intervals as your engines air filter.  When performing routine preventative maintenance, it is common to replace both filters at the same time.

Should I Replace it or Clean it?

If your vehicles air filter is slightly dirty, but not quite ready for a replacement it can often be cleaned to buy some time before it needs to be replaced.  However, if you are unfamiliar with what the filter looks like when its new, we highly recommend seeing your local auto repair specialist for a proper diagnosis.  Air filters today are reasonably priced, so we strongly recommend replacing the filter if it is questionable.  Changing your filter today could end up saving you thousands in the future!



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