How Often Should You Change the Air Filter In Car?

It might not seem too important to get the air filters replaced in your car. But it is. If you don’t change them, they will get dusty, accumulate allergens, polluting particles, debris, and more. These will damage your car’s motor. And without a working motor, you don’t have a car.

Also, if you don’t replace the air filters in your car, it can lead to bad air quality, which can cause some serious health problems.

So that’s why it’s a good idea to change your air filters. But how often should the air filters in your car be replaced? Well, that’s what you’ll learn by reading this comprehensive article! So keep on reading.

Here’s an initial Q&A to answer all your possible questions about your car’s air filters.

What Are Air Filters In Your Car?

You might not know what air filters are, but it’s important that you know what they are so you know how to maintain them. This way, your car will drive smoothly and won’t have any complications related to the air filters in your car.

As you can see in your car’s owner manual, there are usually two air filters in a car. There is one for the cabin and one for the engine. They are made from a breathable material, like cotton, foam, or paper. And they are there to trap anything that could damage your car’s engine, including mold, dust, allergens, pollution, sand, and pollen.

Can You Change An Air Filter Yourself?

Yes, you absolutely can. This will depend on what car you have, but usually, it’s pretty simple to do it yourself. Of course, if you’re not comfortable with that idea, you can have a professional do it for you.

It’s not difficult to change it yourself. It’s just time-consuming. That’s because there are several clips to remove. But it will all depend on what type of car you own.

What’s The Difference Between These Two Air Filters?

Let’s now focus on each air filter individually. The cabin air filter protects your health, as it traps air pollution. Pollution is obviously very nasty for the environment, but also for your health, as it kills millions every year. You can get a HEPA air filter if you want a highly efficient air filter. In fact, it can trap 90% or more of the particles in air pollution.

As for the engine air filter, it is key to the performance of your car’s engine. If you didn’t have air filters in your car, all the particles mentioned above would get trapped in your car’s pistons and cylinder walls, damaging them.

So both the engine air filter and the cabin air filter should be checked upon regularly, so there aren’t any problems. These filters should be replaced before you have a dirty air filter that can damage your car’s engine and your health.

How Often Should You Replace The Air Filters In Your Car?

So how often should you replace the air filters in your car? How often The filters should be replaced will depend on different factors. For example, it can depend on the distance you traveled, your type of car, and where you usually drive.

It mostly depends on the driving conditions and how quickly you get a dirty air filter. It will also depend on what type of car you have, as you’ll need to change the air filters at different frequencies.

Usually, you should replace your air filters every year. And depending on your car’s manufacturer and what the owner’s manual suggests, you need to change the air filters about every 12,000 to 30,000 miles. Keep on reading, and you’ll find out more specifics.

How Often Should You Change Your Air Filters

As you know by now, it’s a good idea to replace your air filters. But how often do you replace them? This depends on various things, as you can see below:

Your Type Of Car

Different cars will have different requirements as to how often they need their air filters changed. You should check your owner so you can know how often you should change these filters.

For example, Ford advises you to change the air filters every 30,000 miles. On the other hand, Chevrolet advises you to do so every 45,000 miles. So it really depends on which car brand you own. This could also be specified in your owner’s manual.

Driving Conditions

Your driving conditions can change how often there needs to be an air filter replacement. The rougher these conditions are on your car’s engine, the more frequently you will need to replace your car’s air filters. Hot weather, driving on unpaved roads, and heavy traffic will increase the need for air filters to be replaced.

If you have to go through these driving conditions pretty regularly, you should change your air filters about every 15,000 miles. You should also change your air filters more often if you live in a very polluted area. Otherwise, if the air filters aren’t working properly anymore because of the air pollution and other particles, it’s dangerous for your health.

Driving Frequency

Another thing to consider is that if you drive a lot, you’ll know you’ll need to replace your air filters more regularly. As a general rule, your filters should be replaced about every 30,000 miles. That’s because the filters will tear over time the more you use your car, and they can then let debris in.

Also, you should know that even if you don’t drive much regardless, you should replace your filters every three years.

Signs To Look Out For

To really know when your air filters should be replaced, there are a few signs you can look out for. Here they are:

Lack Of Power

If your car isn’t starting, it could be because you have a clogged air filter. That’s because a dirty filter decreases the acceleration of your car by six to eight percent. It’s not because you’re burning more gas, contrary to what you might think.

So lack of power, in the sense of your car moving slower than usual, could be a sign that you need to change the air filters of your car. This usually happens gradually. It doesn’t just happen all of a sudden. Fuel economy is definitely something to look out for.

If you worry about changing the dirty air filter yourself or are concerned, it could be something else. You can take your car to a professional that can advise you on what to do and hopefully fix your car.

Black Smoke Residue

Another real clear sign that you have a dirty air filter and that you need to change it is black smoke residue. When your car’s fuel produces a dark residue in the form of a thick black smoke, it’s the sign that you need to replace an air filter.

For 0.3 gallons of gas, you need 2,641 gallons of air to be able to fuel it. So you’ll need to look out for black smoke. It’s hard to miss.

Other Signs

There are other signs that can tell you it’s time to change the air filters. For example, this might seem obvious, but if your air filter is any other color but white or grey, you need to replace it. Air filters are often located behind your car’s glovebox compartment, it will then be in the filter box. But you can see where it is on your owner’s manual.

Also, if you notice any bad smells, noisy air circulation, reduced airflow through your AC or ventilation system, or you catch allergies or respiratory problems when you drive, you need to change your air filter.

Here are additional signs you should look out for: gas smell when you start your car, reduced fuel economy, reduced horsepower, when your chek-engine light is on, and anything else that seems wrong to you.

How To Change Air Filters In Your Car

Now that you know when and how often you should change the air filters in your car, let’s talk about how to actually change them. First, you’ll need to find the right size. If you get one that’s too big, it won’t fit, and if it’s too small it won’t filter properly.

Your owner’s manual should tell you which air filter fits your car. The engine filter should be in the filter box. To change it, there are some models where you’ll either need a screwdriver or where you can simply lift it.

As for the cabin filter, it’s not in the filter box, contrary to the engine filter. It’s either behind the glove box or right under the dashboard. After you remove the air filter, clean the filter box or wherever your air filter is, and install the new air filter just like the old one was positioned. It’s straightforward, depending on your car’s model.

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