Is Replacing Engine Air Filter Necessary?

Particles as small as a grain of salt can cause a lot of damage to internal engine parts, such as cylinders and pistons, if they pass through a damaged air filter. This is why it is so important to replace your air filter regularly. The frequency of replacement varies depending on the vehicle brand. For example, Chevrolet recommends changing the air filter every 45,000 miles, while Ford suggests every 30,000 miles for many of its engines.

Hyundai shortens this interval to 15,000 miles for “severe driving conditions”, such as heavy traffic in hot climates and frequent driving on unpaved roads or dusty conditions. If you know where your air filter is located (you can refer to your owner's manual for this), you can do a visual inspection. A clean air filter should be white or off-white in color. Over time, as dust and dirt build up, the air filter will darken and dirt will be noticeable.

When it starts to look dark and dirty, it is time to look for a replacement. It is recommended to inspect your air filter (or ask a mechanic to do it for you) at least once a year. If the filter is covered with dirt or is full of insects, leaves, or other debris, it's time to use a new one. If there is only a little dirt on the surface or only in one area, it's probably good to go longer.

Try brushing dirt off the surface and rotating the filter 180 degrees to expose the cleaned area to the main airflow. A Department of Energy study found that the electronic engine controls of modern vehicles are “sophisticated enough to prevent a clogged air filter from affecting the vehicle's fuel economy”. Cabin air filters tend to get dirty faster than engine air filters and need to be replaced more often. The purpose of the engine air filter is to prevent dust, dirt and other environmental contaminants from entering the engine. If you drive with a lot of traffic on a regular basis, the air filter won't last as long. A good indication that the air filter needs to be replaced is black smoke coming from the exhaust pipes when you start the engine.

If you're going to have a lot of stop-and-start driving, which places more demands on your car and will also make your air filter dirty faster, then you may need to replace it sooner than usual. The cabin air filter is usually located under the dashboard and behind the glove box, and air passing through it enters through the base of the windshield and bypasses the engine. When you take your car to the mechanic, they will be able to do a quick scan to see what is causing the problem and they will tell you if it's an air filter problem. Air filter replacement can be part of a general tuning service that will help you get better mileage and performance out of your vehicle. If the filter is blocked and not enough air reaches the engine, the light turns on automatically. Over time, the filter can get dirty and clogged, which can have negative effects on how your engine works.

Therefore, it is important to change filters regularly. However, engines rely on clean, good airflow to produce power and rapid acceleration, so restricting the amount of air will definitely affect performance. A dirty filter can restrict airflow to the engine and, if the engine doesn't have enough air to run, it compensates by burning additional fuel. Air filters usually live in a rectangular housing at the front of the engine that will be easy to find and reach.

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