Changing your vehicle’s engine air filter is a routine requirement for keeping your vehicle in the best shape it can be. Changing your air filter is an important part of your car’s regular maintenance. But, why?
What is an air filter?
Let’s start with the basics. As your car travels and burns fuel, its engine needs clean air flow. To be exact, every time it burns one gallon of fuel, your vehicle needs 10,000 gallons of air. This filter ensures that no dust or dirt enters the engine with the air and clogs pathways. It also helps the engine get the appropriate amount of air for the combustion process.
Why do they have to be changed?
The air filter traps unwanted dirt that can damage your vehicle’s engine. Over time, the filter will become full of this dirt, and can no longer let through enough air, causing the vehicle not to run to its full potential. Not only does changing your air filter increase your cars engine life, it also improves your fuel mileage!
When should I change my air filter?
The time between air filter replacements differs with every vehicle and driver’s habits. A replacement filter, for those who drive often and on dirty roads, can be recommended as frequent as every 5,000km. Some recommendations span as far as 48,000kms.
What happens if I don’t change my air filter?
A clogged air filter can cause an array of problems for you and your vehicle. This can include decreased fuel mileage, your check engine light coming on, and a feeling of decreased power. An air filter that doesn’t get replaced when needed can also cause issues with your spark plugs, caused by fuel that is too rich entering the combustion system. This can cause your vehicle to idle differently (rougher) and even have trouble starting.
Did you know that your vehicle has another air filter as well? It’s called the cabin air filter and it keeps the air that circulates your vehicles ventilation system clean. Dirt, pollen, and other allergens become trapped in the filter and don’t enter your car (also called the cabin). This keeps the air that you and your passengers breathe clean so that you can feel safe inside of your vehicle. The filter also keeps debris such as leaves and small bugs and animals from getting into the ventilation system.