Knowing how to change an engine air filter can be very helpful if you want to save some bucks. Instead of paying around $25 or more for an engine air filter replacement, you can do the replacement yourself instead. The procedures done on how to change an engine air filter include opening your car’s hood and locating the engine air filter housing, opening the said air filter housing and removing the dirty engine air filter, installing the new air filter, making sure that it is seated correctly, and putting and securing the filter housing cover back in place.
The steps on how to change an engine air filter are pretty simple and straightforward. You can do it easily at home since you won’t need any special tools to do it. You just need to purchase a new engine air filter that will fit perfectly in your engine air filter housing. But why do you need to change your engine air filter? Is it really necessary? Read on! We’ll tell you everything you need to know!
How to Change an Engine Air Filter: Should You Change an Engine Air Filter?
An internal combustion engine needs a mixture of fuel and air in order for it to function properly. If there is no air or oxygen, the fuel won’t be burned. This means that your engine won’t get the power it needs to function. The air which the engine needs, has to be cleaned before it enters the engine. This is what an engine air filter does and that’s what makes it an important component.
Without an engine air filter, dirt, dust, and other debris will accumulate in the engine which can cause a lot of engine problems. When dust and dirt find their way into the engine, they would come in contact and rub on the important metal components of the engine which can cause premature wear that could warrant an engine replacement. It is for this reason why engine air filters are so important.
The engine air filter can be found inside a cold air box or housing near the front of the engine compartment. It is responsible for trapping particles such as dirt, dust, and other debris in the air before it reaches into the engine. It makes sure that the engine will get the clean air it needs. Although dust and dirt may seem harmless because of their size, when they start to accumulate they will become abrasive and this is what harms the engine.
Since the engine air filter cleans the air by filtering dust, dirt, and other particles, if it is left unchanged for a long time, it can accumulate particles and become dirty. When this happens, this can restrict the airflow. Although a clogged and dirty engine air filter does not have a significant effect on the car’s fuel economy, it can hurt its acceleration by about six to eleven percent. It can limit the performance of your engine. Plus, engines equipped on modern cars rely on an exact fuel to air ratio for them to function properly and efficiently. When the clogged engine air filter deprives the engine of air, the proper ratio it needs won’t be achieved which can put more stress on your engine.
All these and more are reasons enough why you should know how to change an engine air filter and replace it regularly. If you ask “should you change your engine air filter?”, you should. If you change your engine air filter regularly, your engine will enjoy these benefits:
- Improved fuel economy
If you know how to change an engine air filter and you change your dirty or clogged air filter, it can help improve your car’s fuel economy, depending on what car you own. Replacing your clogged engine air filter can also increase your acceleration. That is why when you notice that your car is accelerating slower than usual, it might be an indication that your engine air filter is due for a replacement.
- Helps extend the life of your engine
Replacing your clogged engine air filter can help extend the life of your engine. This is because dirt, dust, and other small particles that can damage the internal components of the engine will be trapped and will be prevented from reaching into the engine. It is for this reason why it is necessary to replace your engine air filter regularly. A clean air filter will be able to efficiently trap all the dirt and debris from the outside air compared to the old, dirty one. It prevents these small particles from entering into the combustion chamber which can cause premature wear or damage to your engine and its components.
- Lower emissions
When your engine air filter becomes dirty and clogged, the airflow to the engine will be reduced. When this happens, the engine will not be getting the right amount of air which is needed to power it. This can cause an incorrect air and fuel mixture as well as a number of spark plug ignition and drivability problems.
A clean engine air filter will enable a proper air flow that can help the emission system of your car. A clogged one will do just the opposite which can result in dirty spark plugs and increased engine deposits due to the air and fuel mixture that has too much fuel concentration. By making sure that your engine air filter is always clean, you are also keeping a proper air flow that can help lower your car’s emissions.
- Easy and inexpensive maintenance
It has been said many times that prevention is better than cure. It is for this reason why knowing how to change an engine air filter will be very beneficial. If you know how to change an engine air filter and you actually replace your air filter regularly, then you won’t have to deal with engine problems caused by a dirty and clogged engine air filter.
Changing an engine air filter is an easy and inexpensive maintenance. It doesn’t cost that much and it only takes a little of your time, but it can help extend the life of your engine and its components. Plus, it also improves your engine’s performance and fuel economy.
How to Change an Engine Air Filter: Can I Change the Engine Air Filter Myself?
The procedures on how to change an engine air filter are pretty simple and straightforward. If you are asking, “can I change the engine air filter myself?”. The answer is yes, you can. You can do the engine air replacement yourself, at your home since it doesn’t need any special tools or skills.
You just need to find and purchase a new engine air filter to replace your old one. You need to make sure that you purchase and choose an air filter that is compatible and will fit in your car. You can consult your owner’s manual for any specific details about your engine air filter.
The procedures on how to change an engine air filter include:
- Park your car on flat ground
Parking your car on an even surface can help make the process of removing and replacing your engine air filter easier. You also turn off your engine and remove the key from your ignition to make sure that all the components of your engine are not operating. Allow your engine to cool down before you start the process on how to change an engine air filter.
- Find the air filter housing
Once your car is securely parked, open its hood and find the air filter housing. You can find the box, which is the car’s engine air filter housing, that is connected to the engine through a large black tube. You will usually find it if you see the long tube or the air intake pipe. If you are not sure where to find it, you can consult your owner’s manual to know its exact location.
- Remove the dirty air filter
Once you have found the engine air filter housing, you need to remove the housing cover to access the air filter. You don’t usually need tools to open the housing cover, but there are some cars that will require a screwdriver or some other tools to open the housing cover since it is secured with bolts or screws. Once you have successfully removed the housing cover, you will be able to see the engine air filter inside the housing. Remove the old, dirty engine air filter. You can remove it easily by just using your hands. Take note of the position of the old air filter before you remove it to know which side should be facing down when you install the new one.
- Clean the engine air filter housing
Once the old engine air filter has been removed, you need to clean the rest of the air filter housing. You may see a lot of dirt and dust. It is normal, the amount of dust or dirt will depend on how long since you last changed your engine air filter and your normal driving conditions. You can wipe it clean or use a vacuum to remove the accumulated dirt inside your air filter housing before you install the new engine air filter.
- Install the new engine air filter
The steps on how to change an engine air filter is easy. You just need to determine which side of the filter should be facing down. As mentioned earlier, you need to take note of the position of the old engine air filter before you remove it. Given that you remember its position and which side is facing where, install the new engine air filter the same way. Make sure that it fits snugly in the air filter housing.
Once the new engine air filter is secured, you need to put the housing cover back. Align the pins and push the tabs down or place the screws or bolts back and tighten them. Make sure that the housing cover is tightened or closed securely with no gaps to prevent air contamination.
How to Change an Engine Air Filter: How Often Should You Change an Engine Air Filter?
Now you know how to change an engine air filter and why you should change it regularly. But how often should you change an engine air filter? When it comes to how often you should change your engine air filter, the answer can vary depending on the make and model of your car as well as your typical driving conditions.
To know the exact answer to this question, you will have to check your owner’s manual. It should be able to tell you when your engine air filter should be replaced. But an engine air filter replacement is usually done every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. However, if you have been driving in a dusty or sandy area or often driving in heavy traffic during hot weather, you should have your engine air filter replaced more often than the recommended air filter replacement interval set by your car manufacturer.
It is also important to have a regular visual inspection of your engine air filter. You will know if your air filter is due for a replacement just by looking at it. If you notice that it already has black areas on some parts through which the outside air enters, or when it has become too dirty, then maybe it is time to replace your old engine air filter with a new one. Since you already know how to change an engine air filter, replacing it with a new one will be very easy.
Knowing how to change an engine air filter will come in handy. You will be able to change your engine air filter whenever you need to. It is a simple, easy, and inexpensive preventative measure that you can do, at the comfort of your own home, to make sure that your engine will be provided with the clean air it needs.