Air filter makes sure that the air that enters your car’s engine is clean and free from debris. However, just like any other part of the car, it gets dirty over time and needs to be replaced as part of general vehicle maintenance. This brings us to the question: When do you really need to change your car’s air filter?
The lifespan of your air filter depends on your area and usual driving condition. Fortunately, there are symptoms that indicate that your air filter is already filthy and needs to be replaced.
Decrease in gas mileage
The engine needs clean air in order to start the process of combustion. However, if the air filter is clogged, there will be less oxygen entering the combustion chamber resulting to more fuel consumption.
Of note, this is only true for carbureted cars. Modern vehicles with direct injection engines have an onboard computer that senses the amount of air that goes into the engine and adjusts the fuel flow accordingly.
If your car is having issues starting up, you might need to check your air filter along with your spark plugs. In line with the problem mentioned above, insufficient air flow into the combustion chamber will also result to soot residue. This unburnt fuel can clog your spark plugs, therefore, it won’t be able to perform its duty of delivering the needed charge when starting your vehicle.
Inadequate response when pressing the accelerator pedal is also a sign of a clogged air filter. The decreased air flow makes the combustion inside the chamber inefficient, thus, your car’s performance won’t be the same as before.
Changing your air filter
The first thing you need to take note of when changing your car’s air filter is its make and model. It’s not the same for every brand so make sure you get the right one from the auto shop or better yet, bring your car with you when having it replaced. It is also worth noting, that you should clean the air filter every time you change your car’s oil. On the other hand, it is recommended to change the air filter every year.
For carbureted cars, the air filter is located on top of the engine in a circular metal housing. For modern cars, it’s at the driver’s side and usually in a rectangular shaped plastic encasing. Both types can either be screwed or snapped into place. If you’re unsure, contact your mechanic so he could replace it for you.
As with other maintenance procedures, changing your air filter is essential for yours and everyone else’s safety. It will also mitigate any impending long term damages to your car so make sure that you take note and address these symptoms before it’s too late.