Changing the air filter regularly is essential for extending engine life. This is because the air filter is designed to trap dirt and debris that can damage internal engine parts, such as cylinders and pistons. Even particles as small as a grain of salt can cause costly repairs if they are not filtered out. Your HVAC technician may have told you to change your air filter every 30 or 100 days, but what happens if you let that time go by?Before we discuss WHEN you should change your air filter, let's start with the WHY.
The recommended interval for your vehicle will be detailed in the maintenance program section of the owner's manual. It varies by manufacturer and driving conditions, with some suggesting a change every 15,000 miles, others every two years, and still others every 30,000 miles or more. Be sure to monitor your air filter and replace it when you start to notice signs that it is clogged. This will help keep your car in perfect condition for as long as possible.
Replacing your engine air filter is an often overlooked maintenance item, but a dirty air filter can have a negative effect on your car's performance. Fortunately, air filters on most engines are easy to access and you can check the location in your owner's manual if you need help. If you do a lot of stop-and-start driving, this will place more demands on your car and make your air filter dirty faster. In most modern cars and trucks today, the air filter is located inside a box-like plastic structure that can even be covered with another plastic cover of the engine or other parts of the vehicle, making identification and change a more complex process. Air filter replacement can be part of a general tuning service that will help you get better mileage and performance out of your vehicle.
Air filters generally live in a rectangular housing at the front of the engine that will be easy to find and reach. A good indication that the air filter needs to be replaced is the presence of black smoke coming from the exhaust pipes when you start the engine. The only type of filters that trap allergens and spores are HEPA, or high-energy particulate air filters. A clean air filter will help your engine perform better; in newer cars, it can increase acceleration by up to 11%, and in older cars it can improve mileage by up to 14%. However, engines rely on clean, good airflow to produce power and rapid acceleration, so restricting the amount of air will definitely affect performance. The Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV) rating for an air filter measures how effectively the filter prevents dust and other contaminants from passing through the filter into the air stream.
You can visually check the engine air filter to see if it looks dirty or if it is full of debris. Therefore, we have established that you must stick to the schedule to change your air filter. Now let's see where these air filters can be found. If you drive with a lot of traffic on a regular basis, the air filter won't last that long.