In order for the engine in your vehicle to function properly, it needs to have a constant supply of fuel as well as air. But in order for the engine to be effective, the air and fuel need to be clean and free of any debris. This is why your vehicle needs filters. The air filter is basically the nose of the engine and the cleaner the filter the better your vehicle performs. Although maintaining a clean air filter will help you keep a clean engine too, it won’t always be the necessary solution. There will be a time when this type of car maintenance won’t do the trick which is why you’ll need to replace it.
How to Change
Before you do this basic car maintenance you’ll need to get yourself the right type of filter, preferably the same type of filter you already had in your vehicle. You’ll also need to have your car parked on a flat surface with the parking brake on and the vehicle set into first gear or park. The last thing you’ll need to do before an air filter car change is to turn off the ignition.
- Open the hood (bonnet) and secure it with the prop rod. Remove the air filter cover on the airbox which is located near the engine alongside a duct that goes in from the front of the vehicle. Fuel-injected cars have the airbox in the form of a square or rectangle positioned a bit off center, between the engine and front grill.
- To remove the air filter car cover, loosen the hose clamp that keeps the air conduct sealed tight. Loosen up all the screws holding the air filter cover too. Pull out the cover from the air channel and lift it up so you can safely remove it from the lower part of the housing. Whilst some vehicles make use of wing nuts, others are clamped on with a quick-release system. Make sure you place the screws and all of the other parts you take out, together in a safe space so you can find them more easily.
- Once you have the air filter cover removed, proceed by taking the filter itself out of the housing. The filter is rectangular or round and made of paper, cotton or gauze with a rubber rim around it to seal off the interior. If the cleaning process doesn’t seem to do any good, replace the old filter with a new one. The new filter just needs to be fitted in the same spot where the old one was, by simply inserting it with the rubber rim facing upwards. Ensure that the edges are properly sealed by the rubber rim.
- Put the filter cover back into the air channel and make sure to do so carefully and then press it down on the lower part of the air filter. Once you establish that the air cover has been placed straight on and securely onto the filter, tighten all the screws and clamps. Before you close the hood (bonnet), once again check that everything has been put properly in place and you’re done.
When Do I Need to Change the Air Filter? (Symptoms)
When the air can’t enter through the filter the whole emission control system is going to be affected, which usually happens because of a dirty filter. This can lead to more serious issues like clogged up spark plugs that won’t be able to perform at their best just because of the dirt in the air filter. Since the spark plugs are what helps start the car, your vehicle will start to experience ignition problems.
Decreased Gas Mileage
The most common reason why you’ll need to change the air filter is a decrease in gas mileage. Since the engine needs constant airflow in order for it to work properly, even a small amount of dirt or debris can prevent it from doing so. Alongside ignition issues, this can also cause you to fill up your vehicle with gas more commonly thus resulting in a decreased gas mileage.
There’s no better way to find out whether or not you need to change the air filter than taking a good look at it on your own. Although, sometimes the filter can get clogged from particles that are not visible to the naked eye if your air filter is full of particles or even grey it means that it’s time you replace it.
On a Regular Basis
If none of the above-mentioned symptoms are present, then you’ll need to check the number of miles (km) you’ve travelled since you’ve had the current air filter. If that number is anywhere from 12,000 miles (19,000 km) up to 15,000 miles (24,000 km) then it’s time you put in a new one. If you drive mostly in a dusty or sandy area the filter will most likely need to be changed more often than what is usually recommended. Make sure you check your owner’s manual for this and if it says that it’s time to change the filter, don’t hesitate and do so even if you are not experiencing any issues.