How to Change Car Air Filter

The car air filter cleans the air entering the engine, which is needed for proper internal combustion. For each gallon of fuel the engine burns, it requires up to 10,000 gallons of clean air. Filtered air will burn more effectively and evenly, which in turn will result to a more efficient engine performance. The filter also keeps the engine and vital engine parts free from dust, dirt and debris which can cause excessive wear and damage. Regular replacement of the air filter has at least five benefits:

1. Optimized fuel efficiency
2. Minimized emissions
3. Better acceleration
4. Prolonged engine life
5. Overall improved car performance

For preventive maintenance, it is advisable to replace the car air filter at the recommended interval – usually every 12 months or every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, regardless of the time or mileage, the air filter should be replaced before it reaches the point when the air going into the engine is significantly reduced. Air filters on cars that are often driven on expressways have longer life than those driven on gravel roads where it is more dusty.

Air filters are inexpensive, quick and easy to replace. You can learn and do this routine maintenance yourself by following these easy steps:

Purchase the correct replacement filter.

Check your owner’s manual to figure out which air filter to get for your car. Another way is to seek assistance at the auto parts store; they would know the right filter for your car’s make and model.

Park your car on a level ground and turn off the engine.

Shift into first gear (manual transmission) or Park (automatic transmission), and let the engine cool down for a few minutes. While it is cooling down, get the tools that you will need: flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, flat painter’s brush or vacuum cleaner.

Open the hood and locate the air filter box.

It is the black plastic casing at the top or the side of the engine. You won’t miss it because it is the largest non-metal assembly with a hose sticking out of its side.

Open the air filter housing and remove the dirty air filter.

Just unclasp the big metal clasps that hold the top down and open the box. If they’re stuck, use the flathead screw driver to pry the clips away. In some older cars, you may need to unscrew the cover. Once open, pull out the old filter. It is typically flat and made of cotton, paper or gauze with rubber edges.

Check the old oil filter.

Hold it up against the light and it will show how dirty it is. If it is already full of dirt and oil, it is time to replace it.

Clean the air filter housing.

Use a flat painter’s brush to remove the dust, or use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any dirt.

Put in the new air filter.

Slide it into the housing with the rubber edges facing up. Make sure the edges are secured and sealed by the rubber rim. Replace the casing cover back.

That’s it! You’re done. Now, your car can breathe easy.