A dirty car air filter is so much like a clogged nose – it makes breathing difficult. If you’ve read our blog post on the signs of a bad air filter, you’ll know that an air filter significantly affects how your car engine runs.
Do Air Filters Impact Engine Performance?
Bad air filters can negatively impact fuel economy and even damage spark plugs or other internal components. This is because clogged up filters prevent clean air from reaching the engine which makes it harder for your engine to efficiently burn fuel.
When the air filter is near the end of its life, you may notice a very strong fuel smell or an odd sound when you start your car or step on the brakes.
Will My Engine Perform Better If I Clean or Replace My Air Filter?
If the reason for any engine issue is a bad air filter, then resolving the issue by cleaning or replacing it will no doubt improve the engine’s performance.
However, not all engine issues are related to bad air filters, so it’s a good idea to assess whether you need to replace your air filter before jumping to any conclusions.
How to check signs of a bad car air filter
If you think your engine issues are related to bad air filters, the first step should be checking the filter itself.
- A clean filter in good working order should be a light white colour.
- Bad air filter is dirty, either black or brown colour, and may have noticeable debris, dust, or rust on it.
If you’ve ticked any of those signs, your issue just might be related to the air filter.
How often to change car air filter
A good rule of thumb for maintaining air filters is to replace it after every 20,000-25,000 km or 12 months, whichever comes first. In more polluted areas like cities, or in rural areas with a lot of dust, you might need to replace filters as often as every 5-6 months or around every 10,000 kilometres.
How Can a New Air Filter Improve My Engine's Performance?
Once you replace your air filter, you’ll notice better fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, and less engine noise and black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. This will translate to savings not only in terms of fuel expense but also in avoiding more expensive repairs.
Other bonuses that come with replacing a bad car air filter
- Increased power when you press the gas pedal to accelerate
- Clean internal components (like spark plugs, pistons, cylinders, or other parts that may become dirty or damaged if you neglect your filter)
Is Replacing Air Filters Regularly Worth It?
You might be wondering if it’s worth the hassle, time, and money to periodically replacing your car’s engine air filter.
It’s most definitely worth it! Just imagine how a cheap maintenance task can cause so much damage if neglected. The benefits far outweigh the little cost that a car air filter replacement entails.
You’ll probably spend anywhere between $20 to $70 to install air filters, but you can do it yourself and spend only around $15 to $20 for the filter. It’s not a difficult task to do if you’re willing to learn.
You can check out our other article for replacing a bad car air filter.
Find Car Parts Only from Reputable Sellers
If you’re interested in buying an air filter online to save time and money, we’ve put together an article which outlines how to find reputable retailers for car parts online and how to avoid getting scammed when you buy parts.