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How to Change Your Air Filter

Step by step
How to Change Your Air Filter

Changing your car’s air filter yourself is the easiest maintenance task that you can perform, and it can save you about 50% of the cost to change it on a vehicle service workshop. Although simple in operation and change procedure, the intake air filter is very crucial for the performance and fuel efficiency of our car since it determines the amount and quality of air that finds its way inside our engine’s combustion chambers. Here are five simple steps that you should take in order to correctly carry out that basic maintenance task of how to change an air filter.

Changing Periods

car air filter dirty

Take note of the change intervals and follow them with reverence. Air filters should be changed at least once a year, or more if you are living in a dusty area and if you are traveling on dirt and gravel roads.

Choosing the Filter

car engine filter auto mechanics

For the air filter, you can either choose to buy the original manufacturer part or go for an aftermarket product. Usually, the aftermarket air filters are more expensive (from $20 to $50) because they feature a more sophisticated porous design and material that supposedly allows for better air flow rates, slightly increasing the engine performance. The manufacturer’s part though is well-tested and ensures the required filtering performance while costing from $10 to $15.

Locate the Filter

cobra engine car blue

Depending on your car maker and model, the location of your air filter may vary. However, it should be near and on the upper side of your engine. That said, it shouldn’t be too hard to locate the plastic box that contains the filter. Additionally, note that this box should have a hose of a significant diameter sticking out of its side and connecting it to the engine. When opening the box, be careful not to damage the fragile plastic wraps that keep the upper lid of the box in place.

Install the Filter

car air filter change

Remove the old air filter and make sure that you pay attention to its orientation so that you can place the new one on its correct side. Most air filters feature an indication arrow on them, so you can consult this as well just to be sure. Orientation is very important because air filters are made specifically for a certain air flow operation and their material layers follow that logic.

Close the Box

lady changing air filter car maintenance

Now it’s time to put the upper box lid back in place, so make sure that you have secured it with the clips and that it doesn’t jiggle. Sealing the box correctly is very important as this determines the generation of the required negative pressure in the air intake chamber.

As a final tip, I will advise you not to follow the common practice of blowing high pressurized air onto the old air filter to postpone its replacement. That is because the oil droplets from the air compressor will block the porous on the air filter material, further decreasing its performance. It may look clean, but it won’t be. Air filters are cheap, so there’s no real reason not to change them at least every year.

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