Exploring Automotive Electrical Faults

What You Need To Know About Your Engine's Air Filter

When you drive your car, you come in contact with all sorts of things. It's not uncommon for bugs, dirt and other debris to fly towards your engine. Guess where many of these objects end up? Inside your air filter. Many vehicle owners understand that a dirty air filter is no good, but do you really know why? Make sure you understand the importance of your air filter and when to replace it to keep your vehicle operating in better overall condition.

The Role Of The Air Filter

The primary role of the air filter is to prevent contaminates like dust and bugs from making their way inside the engine chamber. When the filter is clogged, it is no longer efficient at accomplishing this goal. A clogged filter allows an increased amount of these debris to actually make their way inside the fuel and air lines that run throughout the engine. Once these areas are affected, issues like reduced fuel and engine performance and even premature engine failure can occur.

When To Replace The Filter

When determining when to replace an air filter, your owner's manual should be your first reference point. Every 30,000 miles is the norm; however, some manufacturers suggest that owner's change their filters as early as 15,000 miles. The environment in which you live is also important. For example, a driver who lives in a high dust area, such as the desert, would need to replace the filter more frequently than someone who doesn't live in this type of area.

Signs Your Filter Needs To Be Replaced

While mileage should be your first reference point, you also want to consider the function of your vehicle. Here are just some of the signs you need to replace your air filter, regardless of your mileage point.

Engine Noises. As previously mentioned, a clogged filter causes dust to make its way into the engine compartment, including the spark plugs. When the spark plugs are covered with dust, this prevents them from properly firing, which can cause your engine to run harder and make more noise when you're driving.

Decreased Fuel Economy. If you notice a full tank of gas isn't taking you as far as it once did, it could be that excess debris within the engine compartment is reducing the oxygen levels within the fuel that run through the engine. When oxygen is lower, this causes the engine to use more fuel, leading to decreased economy.

If you're concerned about your vehicle's air filter, make sure you are taking your vehicle into a trained mechanic at a company like Professional Automotive to calm your fears and replace your filter if necessary.