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How often should I change my car's air filter?

How often should I change my car's air filter?

The automotive air filter is a vital part of your vehicle's fuel system. As the lungs of your vehicle, the filter prevents small particles from entering the engine and causing potentially costly damage.  Changing the air filter is important if you want to keep your vehicle in good condition. Changing it regularly means avoiding malfunctions or, worse yet, breakdowns.

Fortunately, when it comes to automotive filters, it's possible to replace them, often at very low cost...

But how often should they be changed? What is the purpose of a car air filter? Can I change my air filter? And how do I do it? We answer all your questions.

How often should I change my car's air filter?

You should change your car's air filter every 20,000 km or once a year. However, if you drive mostly on city streets or dusty roads, you'll want to change your car's filter more often, or at least check it more often.

When you check your vehicle's air filter, you can clean it with a vacuum cleaner or compressed air spray. This will rid the filter of accumulated dust and extend its life. It's also a good idea to clean the air boxes when you have your car serviced to make sure you get off to a good start. The air filter is often replaced as part of an overhaul.

If you neglect to change your air filter, you run the risk of damaging your engine. So replace it often.

Common signs that you need to replace your car's air filter include

  1. Jerky or slower-than-usual acceleration: If you notice that your vehicle doesn't accelerate as well as it used to, it's likely that the air filter isn't letting enough air into your vehicle's engine. Another sign you may notice is jerky acceleration when you step on the gas.
  2. Reduced fuel economy: When the filter is clogged, the engine has to work harder to produce the same amount of power, resulting in lower fuel economy.
  3. Unusual noises: A dirty or clogged air filter often causes a series of strange noises when the car is idling.
  4. Dirty air filter: You can also visually inspect your engine's air filter. If the air filter contains a lot of dirt, debris, or grease, it's time to change your air filter.

But how do you know if it's too dirty? Simply hold the filter up to the light and watch. If you can't see the light through the filter, you know it's time to change it.

Benefits of changing your car's air filter

1. Reduced fuel consumption

Replacing a clogged air filter can reduce fuel consumption and improve acceleration, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

A dirty or damaged air filter limits the amount of air that can enter your car's engine. As a result, the engine works harder and uses more fuel. Since your engine requires more than 10,000 liters of oxygen to burn one liter of fuel, it's important to keep this air flow open.

2. Reduce emissions

A dirty or damaged air filter reduces airflow to the engine, altering your vehicle's air-fuel ratio. This imbalance can clog the spark plugs, causing misfiring or rough idling, increase carbon deposits in the engine, and light up the check engine light. More importantly, the imbalance also directly affects the harmful emissions in your car's exhaust, contributing to environmental pollution.

3. Extended engine life

A small particle like a grain of salt can pass through a damaged air filter and damage internal engine parts like cylinders and pistons, which can be very expensive to repair. That's why regular air filter replacement is so important. A clean air filter is designed to trap dirt and debris from the outside air, preventing it from reaching the combustion chamber and reducing the likelihood of a large repair bill.

How to change an air filter?

You can have your mechanic change your car's air filter, or you can do it yourself. To change your car's air filter, follow these steps

  • Open the hood of your vehicle;
  • Locate the air filter, if necessary with the help of your car's technical manual;
  • Disconnect the main air duct;
  • Open the air filter box;
  • Remove the old filter;
  • Before installing the new filter, clean the bottom of the housing with a slightly damp cloth, vacuum cleaner, or compressed air;
  • Place the new air filter in its housing;
  • Close the box and the hood.

Changing the air filter is a simple do-it-yourself operation. As you have discovered in this article, the air filter is essential to the smooth operation of your engine system. It keeps components from clogging and damaging the engine.

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