Most car owners overlook changing their air filters, even though it can be a serious problem if left unchecked. Dirty air filters negatively affect your car's performance. Dirty filters equal a dirty engine and vice versa for a clan engine. When your engine is clean, the car will run more smoothly, but if your filter is dirty, you might start having issues with your vehicle.
If you have a modern car, you may have noticed that it has two air filters; one for the cabin and the other for the engine.
For the cabin filter, you might have to change it periodically. However, the engine air filter needs a different schedule, the quality of air that goes into your engine is critical to its performance. If the filters were not there, dust particles would damage the pistons and engine walls.
Cabin filters, on the hand, help to protect the driver's health from air pollution. Air pollutants can cause respiratory or cardiovascular diseases that kill millions yearly. Efficient cabin filters help prevent this. Filters like HEPA filters can help to capture a large portion of dust in circulation and maintain a clean flow of air.
The engine air filter helps prevent dirt and dust from getting into the engine. With time, however, the air filter can get dirty and clogged with excess dust and result in poor air quality, so you might have to replace it after a while. Failure to do this might result in an expensive repair.
As a general rule, always check the air filter condition at least once a year. If you find it dirty, do not consider cleaning and reusing it as this will not result in maximum performance. Getting a new air filter is the best way to go, as it guarantees your vehicle will remain in great shape. A dirty engine air filter will only derail its performance.
The maintenance of engine air filters will vary depending on the vehicle's make. For example, For Hyundai, you should replace for every 30,000 miles, Chevrolet engines go for 45,000, and Ford for 30,000. If the engine goes through harsh conditions such as heavy traffic in temperate climates or frequent driving on dirt roads, particularly public or unpaved roads, it should be replaced to 15,000 miles.
Other Air Filter Guidelines
Other than the annual mileage, there are other guidelines you can adhere to determine if you need to change the engine air filter.
When your vehicle lacks power
If your filter is clogged or filled with dirt, you might have problems with your ignition. As a result, you might have difficulties when starting your vehicle. There also might be changes in the acceleration power. Clean filter help improves your acceleration to up to 11 percent; therefore, when you notice your car is slow when gaining momentum, it might just be a sign that your air filter needs changing. Keep in mind that the decreasing power does not just abruptly happen; it happens gradually. It might even lead to you having a dead battery.
Presence of black smoke
For your car to work effectively, you need around 14.7 pounds of air for every pound of gas. Therefore, if your vehicle lacks enough air, the fuel will create dark residue causing your exhaust to release a thick black smoke. Black smoke indicates that your engine is not receiving enough air, particularly oxygen; therefore, it might be time to change your air filter.
You can see your air filter needs replacing by looking at it. Black spots on the area where air from the outside comes in signify that you must swap out your air filter. Accessing the air filters on all engines is relatively easy. You can also reference your owner's manual if you need further assistance.
The Importance of Changing the Air Filter
It is recommended to replace the dirty engine air filters to allow the engine to function well. Clean air filters will allow clean air to come into the engine, which is essential as it plays a role in combustion. In addition, air filters keep dirt and other contaminants from coming into contact with the engine as they tend to cause damage. When it comes to the type of filter, there are washable air filters and disposable filters.
Slowed acceleration is a commonly known effect of having dirt or contaminants in your engine due to a bad filter. Unfortunately, your engine is also forced to work overtime due to these contaminants, resulting in more fuel consumption, costing you more money, and not promoting gasoline fuel efficiency.
Changing the Cabin Air Filter
Your cabin air filter could use a replacement for every 30,000 miles. However, please do not follow this religiously as it also depends on where you have been and the uses and conditions the vehicle has been in. For example, suppose you have been traveling around dusty conditions on public roads or have recently been experiencing runny noses even though allergy seasons are not here. In that case, it might indicate that you need to improve your car's air conditioning.
The following are some indications that it might be time to change your cabin filter and keep off airborne pollutants.
- Awful smells from the cabin
- Failing or reduced airflow through the ventilation or cooling system
- You have respiratory conditions or have allergy issues when driving
- Noisy air circulation
- Visible dust in circulation or if you notice an excess of dust in your car
Changing Your Air Filter
If your car does need the engine or cabin filter to be changed, you can get it to a car dealership near you and have it done. However, you can also do it yourself as they are relatively easy to access and replace if there is an excess of dust.
Let us start with the engine filter. It is usually located under the hood and inside a filter box. You can access some by unlocking the box, while others might require using a screwdriver to open it. If you purchase a new screen, pay attention to ensuring that it matches the measurements of the box. It is also essential to purchase your products from a reliable air filter manufacturer, ensuring a favorable purchase price and high-quality products with maximum efficiency.
When it comes to cabin filters, they are usually found under the dashboard or behind the glove. Changing it for the first time might take you longer, but it is relatively an easy process overall.
Ensuring you keep track of the engine and cabin filters is crucial to keeping your vehicle in good shape. For example, how often you change your air filter is determined by the distance your car has traveled. You can also follow this up with visual attention. For example, your engine filter can help determine whether it requires changing.
Even though some models are washable, we do not recommend washing as they will not perform as best as they would if wholly replaced. Washing is considered eco-friendly, but if you replace it entirely, consider recycling. You should also note the screen's measurement to ensure it fits perfectly.
It might seem daunting, and many car owners do not look forward to it, but it is essential to change your filters regularly. If you do not want to do it yourself, take it into the shop to a qualified mechanic who will do the job for you effectively.