Your car’s air filter is essential for ensuring that your engine has all the power it needs to work at peak performance. It filters harmful contaminants from the airflow to keep them from the valve train and intake manifold. Although it is recommended that you change this filter at least once per year, you may find you need to do so more often. Check out these signs that yours is in need of replacement, and then read on to learn how you can do it yourself.
Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Air Filter
If you drive a lot, your gas mileage is a better indicator of whether it’s time to change your filter than the month on the calendar is. Typically, you should replace it every 10,000-15,000 miles. It may also be time to replace the air filter if you hear your engine misfiring or if it makes other unusual sounds, such as coughing or slipping. Still more indicators of a bad air filter could be a reduced ability to accelerate in your vehicle or an air filter that appears dirty.
Of course, there is one other big indicator, too. If your check engine light comes on, it may not be serious yet. It could just mean you need to replace your air filter. However, keep in mind that the longer you go without replacing it, the more chance there is of a serious issue. Left untreated, you could notice a gas smell or even find yourself with flames and black smoke coming out of your exhaust.
How To Replace Your Air Filter
Learning how to replace air filter is not as hard as you might think. In fact, the first step is as easy as searching the internet for “auto parts near me.” Most air filters are less than $15. You’ll need to know your car’s make, model, and year to ensure you’re purchasing the right one. Never make the mistake of thinking that you can substitute another year or have “almost” the right make or model for your car. Despite being nearly the same, the inner workings can be quite different. A filter not made for your particular vehicle could cause more damage than it saves you from.
Once you have your air filter, it’s time to get under the hood. Find the black plastic box near your engine. This is the air filter box and typically has a hose sticking out of it. Unhook the metal clips to open the box and then remove the dirty filter. Slide the new air filter into the box, ensuring it fits securely on all sides. Snap the clips back into place to close the box. That’s all there is to it! Close your hood, start up the car, and you’ll be on your way again.
When searching for auto parts online, remember that you can often buy online pick up in store. In fact, this is the best way to do things. For one thing, you’ll get back on the road in a matter of an hour or two. For another thing, picking up your order in store ensures you get the right filter and receive it from a respected auto parts company. Changing your own filter can save you hundreds on maintenance appointments, so don’t be afraid to give it a try!