Replacing Your Car’s Air Filter

Air filters for the engine are typically easily accessible – you should find it in a box, often under the hood. For the specifics on how to open it and remove it, refer to your owner’s manual.

A dirty or old air filter reduces airflow to the engine, making it work harder, use more fuel and – at the very least – give you poor fuel economy.

Dirty Air Filter

To perform at its best, your engine needs the proper air-fuel ratio, but dirt, dust, or other debris in the air can compromise its function. That’s why an air filter is essential. The lower the airflow resulting from a dirty filter, the harder your engine has to work to get the same performance, which means it burns more gas in order to maintain that level of performance. It could also mean that you’re not getting the best mileage possible, which means more money spent at the pump. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the air filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles (24,000 to 48,000 km), depending on your climate and driving conditions and parts maker recommendations. Check your owner’s manual or service technician to see what’s right for your vehicle and your driving environment. Do it often, and you’ll keep your engine running at its best and maximise engine life:.

Check Engine Light

A lamp in the base of your car, the so-called check-engine light (MIL) or malfunction indicator lamp, is the one that lights up to tell you that something might be wrong – perhaps the filter for the air inlet is clogged and needs changing, but there might be other malfunctions, less obvious, more costly to repair … Nowadays, most cars use different lights and colors to tell you about the seriousness of the problem. For example, a solid red light means that something is wrong and it should be fixed fast. If you decide to drive with it, it can only get worse. Other parts of your car could get affected. Changing the air filter takes no special skills or money. In fact, if you go to many mechanics they will do it for free! Also, it is an opportunity to save money whenever you go to the gas station.

Engine Performance Issues

Air is a critical requirement for an engine: without mixing air with fuel, the process of combustion will be impossible or at least compromised. With clogged filters, air supply for the complete combustion process may be limited and to some degree performance may be affected. A filter that’s tied to a lethargic acceleration and an engine running in the red (both visible in the same warning light) could be a sign that it’s time for a filter change. A blocked filter could severely reduce the airflow through your vehicle and manifest in symptoms like an exhaust system that wheezes and coughs. You should check that your engine has cooled since it’s hot. Also, wear your gloves if you are working on your car. First, find the hood release lever at the driver’s side and pull up your hood, and once you are done, make sure it’s locked back.

Poor Fuel Economy

Your engine needs at least 10,000 litres of air before it can burn one litre of fuel, so plenty of clean oxygen is essential to perform at its peak. The filter in your vehicle prevents a build up of dir and debris kicked up from the road surface and other things that could affect its function. Clogged filters force your system to dirty the air around it and accelerate it through the filter to make up for the depleted airflow, using extra fuel as a result. If your tank is running low on fuel more often than normal, replacing the air filter might be the answer.

    Jiffy Lube technicians can assist in identifying your car’s manufacturer-recommended replacement schedule.

    Unusual Noises

    So a good indicator that it’s time to change your air filter is to just look at it and see if has become too dirty or worn out after having been there for a period of time. A clean-air engine will accelerate smoothly, without jerking or buzzing; fuel will burn effectively; noise and smoky emissions from the exhaust will be minimised. Changing your car’s air filter is one of those relatively simple DIY projects you can get done in under an hour. Detailed instructions for taking apart and installing your old filter to replace with your new one can be found in your owner’s manual, or – if you want a guide with more tips – you can also get one on YouTube (see video by Ben Turner from Gears and Gasoline below).

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