How Often to Change Your Engine Air Filter?

10 July 2019 0 By Jack O.
How Often to Change Your Engine Air Filter?

Knowing when to replace your aging air filter is not always a simple task. Before you can make any changes, you need to determine whether to change the cabin filter or the engine air filter. The only way you are going to know what requires replacing is by understanding how they both function. Be on the lookout for these signs to determine when to install a new filter.

Reduced Gas Mileage

A decrease in your gas mileage is the clearest sign that something is not right in your car. For the engine to function optimally, it will require a continuous and uninterrupted flow of air. A dirty filter makes it difficult, if not impossible for air to find its way into the engine. The engine is, thus, forced to work harder than it normally does.

When this happens, the performance of your car will automatically get affected. At first, the gas mileage will not suffer too much. But you will start to notice changes in the vehicle’s consumption within no time. In short, it will start to consume more gas for every kilometer covered.

If you notice that your car is consuming more gas than normal, then it’s time that you considered replacing the air filter.

Ignition Problems

Ignition problems also affect how often you change the filter in the vehicle. Whenever the filter becomes dirty, it becomes impossible for air to pass through the filter and into the engine. It is a process that normally ends up affecting the whole emission control system in the vehicle.

This in return causes your spark plugs to often muck up making it hard for them to spark the way they are expected to when working normally. As a result of this, you are likely to start experiencing ignition problems every time you attempt to start your car.

Ask yourself this: when you attempt to start your vehicle, is it rolling over sluggishly? If not at all, have someone take a look at your filters. It will assist you to determine the source of the problem, allowing you to get an idea of what you need to do.

Replacement Time

The vehicle owner’s manual contains important information pertaining to the vehicle. It tells you how often you should have the filter replaced. Traditionally, it should be replaced after every 12,000-15,000 miles depending on the kind of automobile that you are driving.

If you realized that you have already surpassed this mark since the last replacement, then it may be a good idea to have a new one installed as soon as possible.

Remember that driving in dusty or sandy areas will require you to make more frequent replacements. If you travel to sandy or dusty areas on a regular basis, you should not follow the recommended schedule. The schedule mentioned in the manual is for vehicles using well-tarmacked roads.

Vehicle owners residing in urban centers and other places with good road networks should stick to the recommendations included in the manual. It will be the best way to get ahead of any other problems that could be lying in wait.

Performing a Visual Check

A new filter will normally have an off white or purely white color. A cursory visual inspection of the engine air filter will enable you to know whether it is dirty or not. You will also get to check whether it has become filled with dust and debris.

While performing the visual inspection, note that it is possible for it to become clogged with fine particles that cannot be seen using the naked eye. But if you can see that it has become clogged with particles or grey substances, then it is time that you had it replaced.

Its location will normally vary from one car to another. If you are not sure where it is located, grab your manual and try to locate it with its help.

Benefits of Replacing an Engine Air Filter

Replacing the filter comes with a number of benefits. They include:

Increased Fuel Efficiency

As mentioned above, the condition of your filter has an impact on the performance of your vehicle. Clogged ones will affect fuel efficiency and the driveability of your vehicle.

Reduced Emissions

Clogging reduces the amount of air getting into the engine causing it to choke. When choking occurs, the emission control systems get affected leading to the development of a spark-ignition problem.


It does not cost much to replace an air filter. It is part of the basic maintenance processes that you ought to take care of on a regular basis to make sure that the vehicle will remain operational. You should always keep an eye on it, and ensure that it is replaced immediately it starts acting up. Have your mechanic install a new one as soon as the current one becomes clogged. Replacing it helps keep the vehicle in good running condition for as long as possible.