When & Why You Should Change Your Engine’s Air Filter

As you probably know, there are several maintenance requirements that must be performed on your car regularly to ensure it’s in great condition. One of those requirements is changing your engine’s air filter. Your owner’s manual should tell you how often the filter should be changed. We will go over some information about the air filter and the signs letting you know it’s time to replace the filter.

In this article, we will look at the engine air filter vs cabin air filter. We will discuss the signs that the filter is on its way out and how you can easily change it yourself.

If you have any questions about your car, always check your owner’s manual for valuable information or contact your local garage for help.

In general, the engine’s air filter should be changed every 15,000 to 45,000 miles. This can alter depending on the vehicle you drive and the driving conditions.

If you drive an older car, it will need to have the engine air filter changed more frequently than newer models. If you drive in poor weather conditions, regularly climb steep inclines, use your car for towing something like a boat, or travel over dusty, dirty roads, the filter will have to be changed more often.

What Is The Engine Air Filter?

Replacing Air Filter

The engine air filter sits inside the housing in front of the engine compartment. It’s usually rectangular in shape and contains pleats to prevent bugs and other debris from making it to the engine.

In small amounts, dust or dirt will probably not cause a problem but as debris builds up over time, it will be abrasive to the internal components. The cost of a replacement filter is minimal so why put off changing the filter to prevent damage that could harm the engine?

How To Know If The Air Filters Should Be Replaced

The Engine Light Comes On –

When the engine light comes on, it can be caused by a number of reasons but usually, it’s a call for maintenance. If the filter has become blocked, the engine light will come on. Don’t ignore the light, it could lead to other issues.

You should have a good engine code scanner so when the engine light comes on, you can check the DTCs, or Diagnostic Trouble Codes, to find out what the problem is. If it’s something as simple as changing the air filter, do it.

Loss Of Acceleration

When the filter is dirty or clogged, you will notice a loss of acceleration. The air tries to get into the engine but the filter is blocking it off causing a decrease in performance.

When you push on the accelerator and experience a very low response, the issue is probably a dirty filter. Unfortunately, as this can happen over time, you might not notice it.

If you pay attention and keep track, you might notice the fuel dropping slowly and keeps getting worse. It could be the engine air filter is not performing as it should.

The Filter is Dark And Dirty

Perform a simple visual inspection to find out what condition the engine’s air filter is in. If it’s white and clean then everything is normal but if it’s dark and dirty, it probably needs replaciing.

Black Exhaust Smoke Pouring Out

Your engine needs a certain amount of air to mix with the fuel entering it. There should be a nice balance that only happens when the air filter is in great shape. On the other hand, if more fuel is added but not the right amount of air, the engine will run rich. This will cause dark black smoke to pour out of the exhaust pipe. There could be other issues, but first, replace the air filter and see if the issue is resolved.

How To Replace The Engine Air Filter

Air Filter Old And New

Find The Engine Air Filter –

The filter is actually easy to find. Open the hood and look for the air filter housing which is normally black. The plastic box sits either on top of the engine or to the side. You will also see a large hose running from the box.

Remove the Dirty Filter –

Check how the housing is secured. In most cases, you will not need tools to open the box. In some cases, clips, screws, clamps, or nuts are in place to secure the top of the box so make sure you have the appropriate tools available. Place the hardware in a safe place to keep them close by when it’s time to secure the box again. When you get the housing open, you can easily remove the old filter. Remove the filter carefully so debris and dust will not fall out. You can wrap up the old filter and put it in a bag and dispose of it. Take a clean rag and wipe down the inside of the filter housing to make sure the new filter does not get dirty.

Install The New Air Filter

Place the new filter into the housing the same way as the other filter was seated. You need to have the rubber rim of the filter facing upward though this will depend on the model of your car. The new filter should fit snuggly inside the compartment. There should be no wiggle room in the box.

Close the housing and secure it back in place. If there were fasteners, fasten them. If you are missing a fastener, replace it for a proper fit.

Take A Test Drive

Take a test drive to make sure everything is back to normal. If the Check Engine Light was previously on, use the code reader to delete the DTCs. During the test drive, the light should remain off if the issue has been resolved. If it comes on, there is something else going on.

Engine Air Filter vs Cabin Air Filter

Changing Cabin Air Filter

The engine and cabin air filters are in place to filter out contaminants but for different reasons. The engine air filter keeps contaminants out of the engine while the cabin air filter cleans the air inside your car’s cabin.

It’s a good idea to change the cabin air filter when you replace the engine filter. It’s easier to deal with both at the same time.

If you are having issues with your air filter  you can get your vehicle checked and the issue diagnosed and resolved by booking online today.

For further information on our services you can browse the site or get in touch with us by calling 019253 30468 or you can email us directly at service@lowtonmotorcompany.co.uk. At Lowton Motor Company we service all vehicles produced by all the top manufacturers from the a Ford to a Porsche and everything in between. Our experienced technicians have access to and traning with all the latest technology. You can be sure your vehicle is in safe hands whether it’s in for a repair, a service or just the annual MOT.

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