Have you ever gone into the mechanic shop or oil changing facility in order to get a simple and cheap oil change and then not know what to say when they start asking you about different services they want to perform on your vehicle? In addition to asking you what type of oil you want to put in your car, they might also address your air filters. It is important to know the role of your air filter in order to know why it is important to keep it clean and to know when to replace it. This will allow you to feel confident in the work that is being done to your car and also to your checkbook.
Air Filter Function
All of the air that flows into your engine has to go through your air filter first. This filter is meant to catch pieces of debris, dirt, and sand, that would otherwise flow into your engine, causing it damage. Depending on how much you drive and on what kind of roads you drive on will dictate how frequently your air filter needs to be changed. It is possibly more frequent than you might think. Regardless of the conditions in which you drive, at the very minimum you should expect to change your filters around every 20,000 miles. If you spend a lot of time on unpaved roads, you would definitely want to have it changed more frequently.
When to Change Your Air Filter
As your air filter begins to absorb dirt blocking it from the engine, overtime, it will reach its capacity. This will cause your engine to have to work harder than necessary because it won’t be getting the proper air flow. The symptoms of this might be a slower acceleration of your vehicle, a decrease in your overall gas mileage, and in some cases, the check engine warning light will come on your dashboard. You can double check to see if your air filter is your issue by taking it out at looking at it. If you’re not sure, you can check your vehicle’s manual to know exactly where the filter is located and what you might need to get it out. Most frequently, the filter will pop out with a fuss, but some vehicles require small tools to unscrew it. Once you get your filter free, you can hold it up to a light source and look through it. If light cannot come through the filter, you know that you need to have it changed as soon as possible.
Replacing Your Air Filter
If you catch the problem before it grows, having your air filter changed should cost you little to no more than $60-$70 including labor, can be done at the convenience of any legitimate mechanic or auto shop, and should not take very much time at all. Typically, this can be done during your vehicle’s regularly scheduled oil change.