Do I Have to Replace the Engine Air Filter? If So, How Often?

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There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining a vehicle properly. One of the most important maintenance practices is swapping out an old engine air filter for a new one every so often to keep the engine running properly. It is also important to know how often it is necessary to do so. Luckily, for those who are new to this aspect of proper vehicle maintenance, LoanMart is here to provide some useful insight into this important matter.

Do I Have to Replace the Engine Air Filter?

Yes. Absolutely, yes. Replacing the engine air filter on a car is a regular piece of vehicle maintenance that if not tended to, can end up being the cause of some serious problems down the line. An old filter can become quite brittle and tear, which will then let sand and dirt into the engine. This is something that should be avoided at all costs, as it might increase the financial cost later on.

How Often Do I Need to Replace It?

How often an engine’s air filter will need to be replaced with a new one generally tends to vary from vehicle to vehicle. There is no one set amount of mileage to wait through for all of the different cars out there. For example, on many Chevrolet engines, the recommended engine air filer changing schedule is every 45,000 miles. On several Ford vehicles however, the recommended changing schedule is reduced down to every 30,000 miles. It is best to check the car’s instruction manual to see what the ideal amount of time between engine air filter swap outs should be.

Signs That It Is Time to Replace the Engine Air Filter

When it comes time to replace a car’s engine air filter, there will be some recognizable signs that will tip the driver off to the situation at hand. It is important to keep an eye out for these signs because if ignored for too long, then serious harm to the vehicle may occur and cost far more than  replacing the air filter would have been. This is one of those cases where an ounce of prevention is most certainly better than a pound of cure.

Decrease in Gas Mileage

Among the most common issues that will become rather apparent when it comes time to replace an engine air filter, is that the gas mileage of the vehicle will noticeably drop. A car’s engine needs the right amount of airflow so that it can continue to work properly. When an air filter becomes filthy, the air has a more difficult time getting where it needs to go, and the engine has to work harder to get the same amount of air through. The gas mileage drop will not be noticeable at first, but it will not take long for the gas mileage to start dropping more drastically. More trips to the pump than usual are indicative of an engine air filter that needs to be swapped out.

Ignition Problems

The entire emissions system of the vehicle is negatively affected when the engine’s air filter is dirty. The vehicle’s emission will not be able to get the air through to the engine. When this happens, the spark plugs can get full of debris and become defective. As a result, this will keep them from sparking the way they should – causing the vehicle to be unable to start.  Don’t be left with a failing car, replace your air filter according to your car’s manual.

Doing a Visual Check

As anyone might be able to guess, one of the most direct ways of finding out whether it is time to swap out the engine’s air filter is by performing a visual check. For reference, a new, clean, and properly working engine air filter should be white or off-white. That said, if it is looking dirty and/or full of debris then it is more than likely time to make the switch to a brand-new engine air filter. Keep in mind that some times the particles may be too difficult to see, and it might be necessary to find a way to be able to get a closer look. The location of the filter will vary from vehicle to vehicle.

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