How Often Should You Clean Your Car’s Air Filter?

An air filter has the important job of protecting your car’s engine from dirt, dust, and sand. When you drive your car, the filter does its job and eventually becomes dirty with all the debris it collects. It needs to be cleaned to keep the engine safe and sound. The cabin air filter also needs to be regularly cleaned by to create breathable cabin space.

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How often should you replace your air filter? If you go by your automobile’s manual, it will indicate that it should be changed out every 15000 to 30000 miles. It differs for each car or SUV. However, you might need to replace it sooner.

This all depends on several things. If your gas mileage starts to get lower or you sense your engine is running rougher than usual, sometimes these are symptoms of a dirty air filter. In fact, a dirty air filter can make the car operate in a way that might have you worried that your car is in more serious trouble.

If your air filter has not been changed in a few thousand miles, and you have been driving on unpaved roads, it alone could be the culprit of a poor sounding engine. If you do not drive a lot you may be able to get away with changing the air filter every three years, but be careful. If an air filter tears or cracks it should be replaced.

Air filters are made from paper which can become brittle with age. If this happens the filter cannot keep out dirt. This can cause serious problems for your engine.

Before you worry too much know that as long as you take your car for regular oil changes you should be fine. An air filter is one of the routine things that is checked during an oil change. If it needs to be replaced your mechanic will take care of it.

If you want to check your own air filter, look for its location in the engine compartment. Consult your vehicle’s owner manual. You might need a socket or screwdriver to open the box that contains the air filter. Once you open it, if the filter is dirty, you can remove it and have it replaced.

You can easily replace the air filter yourself. Pick a replacement from your local auto parts shop that matches the model of your car. Open the air filter box, remove the old filter and insert the new one. If you are unsure about doing this always let a professional mechanic do it for you. Even if you have to pay for a professional to install the filter it might only be about $30 for labor and about $20 or $30 for the filter itself.

If you do replace the filter yourself, make sure that you close the box tightly and replace the screws or clips securely. If you can, dispose of the old air filter with your local recycling place or discard it in the trash. You should replace it at least every 15000 miles to be on the safe side.

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