If you want a car that runs like a dream, you'd better make sure that your vehicle has a clean air filter installed. You see, a good filter improves your overall driving experience. Not only will you have lower emissions, but you'll also experience improvements in your gas mileage, acceleration, engine life, and engine performance. If you've had your filter for quite a long time, it would be best to do a quick check to see if it already needs to be cleaned or changed. To get started, here are some things that you need to know about your filter, including a quick and basic guide on how to change old and faulty ones.
Symptoms of a Dirty Air Filter
- Poor gas mileage
- Increased emissions
- Engine noise
- Foul spark plugs
The most obvious symptom of a dirty filter is having poor gas mileage. This happens because oxygen becomes pretty low in your fuel mixture, causing the engine to consume more fuel.
Another obvious symptom of having a filthy filter is having increased emissions. You see, when clean air is not able to reach the engine, it can gravely affect the emission control system of your car. At times, you might even be able to see black smoke coming out from the exhaust.
An engine that sounds rough can be caused by a dirty filter. This, again, is caused by having thick fuel mixture.
Surprisingly, fouled spark plugs may also be a sign of having a dirty filter. Reduced air flow can lead to pollution inside your vehicle's system, causing the spark plugs to go bad. This can result to ignition problems if left unchecked.
How to Change a Car's Air Filter
Since a clean filter is beneficial to the overall health of your ride, checking and changing it every once in a while is definitely a must. A typical air filter usually lasts 10,000 miles before it needs to be replaced, though some experts recommend checking it after every 6,000 miles. To ensure that your car is well taken care of, you can get it checked annually. If it needs to be replaced, here's a simple guide that you can follow for your repairs.
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools that you'll need:
- Phillips screwdriver
- New air filter
Step 1: Start the process by locating the assembly box or the filter's housing at the driver's side of the engine compartment. This is usually located just behind the battery.
Step 2: Next, using the Phillips screwdriver, carefully remove the screws of the housing. Note that some filter assemblies are only held by clips, which can easily be removed without using any tools.
Step 3: Take the old filter out and examine the housing for any dirt or debris then use the rag to clean it if it's dirty.
Step 4: Install the new filter by following the position of the old filter that you took out.
Step 5: Lastly, close the housing by clipping it or tightening back the screws that you removed earlier.