Although many car components have changed over the decades, most engines are still internal combustion systems. Internal combustion systems require air for the engine to produce power. However, a dirty clogged air filter will inhibit the airflow and affect your engine performance. One of our frequently asked questions is how often to change air filter in a car.
What Does An Air Filter Do?
All air enters the engine through the intake system. From there, air travels through the air filter and into your engine to mix with the fuel. As air passes through the filter, debris and particles become trapped in the fibers of the filter.
Certainly, to the naked eye, air seems clean and debris-free. However, Earth’s atmosphere contains millions of tons of coarse dust. Without your air filter, these airborne particles would quickly wear and destroy engine parts.
Hence, as you drive, your air filter becomes clogged with dirt. This dirt accumulation on your filter will impede airflow. As the engine compensates for less air, it will work harder. You may notice a lack of acceleration, rough idling, or misfiring. Additionally, the check engine light may illuminate.
Furthermore, your engine requires a specific fuel to air mix to burn completely. A clogged air filter restricting airflow results in unburned fuel. This unburned fuel may form a residue fouling a spark plug. Moreover, unburned fuel can exit the exhaust system as sooty smoke, releasing harmful chemicals.
Automakers Timeframe: How Often To Change Air Filter?
Generally, automakers recommend changing the engine air filter every 20,000 miles. However, how often to change air filter depends upon your driving conditions. If you frequently drive over rough terrain or unpaved roads, you’ll need to change your filter more often. Likewise, heavy traffic with stop-and-go traffic stirs up more dust than highway driving.
Moreover, the frequency of changing this part depends on the type of air filter in your car. The standard for most vehicles is the paper filter. However, manufacturers also make cotton filters. These types of filters last much longer provided you routinely clean them. Generally, you need to clean cotton filters every 50,000 miles.
It’s easy to check your air filter to see if it needs changing. After removing it from your engine, hold it up to the light. You’ll need a new one if very little light passes through it.
When you bring your car down to Havoline® Xpress Lube of Kernersville for an oil change, we’ll perform a courtesy check. During this inspection, we’ll look at your air filter. We’ll also check important, vital fluids:
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Automatic transmission fluid
It’s our way of providing you with the best possible service. We want you to trust us for reliable, dependable auto care.
Frequently Asked Questions About Air Filters
Often, car owners have many questions about car components. So, we’ve put together a list of our most commonly asked questions about air filters. If you don’t see your question answered here, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 336-993-7697.
Which Type Of Air Filter Should I Use?
Automakers design car engines with a particular shaped air filter. Some are rectangular while others are cone-shaped. Additionally, air filters vary in size based on the engine. Be sure to check your owner’s manual on the specific filter that your engine requires.
When shopping for air filters, you’ll find both standard paper and premium cotton filters. Typically, automakers equip brand-new cars with a standard paper filter, but you may want to upgrade to a premium filter. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each.
Certainly, paper filters are much cheaper, about half the price of cotton. However, cotton filters last much longer, possibly the car’s lifetime. Due to the characteristics of cotton, it also traps more dirt particles and is more breathable.
If you’re not sure which air filter is best for your vehicle, come visit us at Xpress Lube. Our ASE-certified mechanics can help you decide by guiding you through the options. We’ll help you decide which air filter is best for your vehicle based on your driving habits.
Can I Clean And Reuse My Car’s Air Filter?
Generally, you can clean all types of air filters. After removing the filter from your engine, tap the filter to remove larger pieces of grit. Next, vacuum both sides of the filter to remove smaller particles.
While cleaning your paper air filter is a common practice, it’s not a replacement for changing it. Manufacturers don’t engineer paper filters to last forever. Over time, cleaning won’t be able to remove all the dirt.
On the other hand, manufacturers of oiled cotton filters design these components for a lifetime. Typically, these filters require the additional cleaning steps of rinsing and reapplication of the oil.
What Other Important Maintenance Tasks Should I Perform?
Admittedly, changing your air filter is only one of many routine maintenance tasks you need to perform on your vehicle. Fluids, belts, hoses, and spark plugs are just some of your engine’s components that need a periodic inspection. Routinely checking and changing these components will keep your car running at peak efficiency.
When you’re searching for an automobile service shop, choose Xpress Lube. We’re a full-service automobile shop performing over 30 common repair and maintenance tasks:
- NC State inspection
- Brake repair and replacement
- Electrical diagnostic
- Wheel alignment
- Oil change
- Spark plugs
- And more!
Plus, we can also thoroughly clean your car with our Turbo Wash and detailing service. Our car wash removes dirt and grime from your automobile while protecting the environment. If you want a deeper clean, our detailing team will scrub your vehicle to restore it to its former splendor.
Schedule an appointment at Havoline® Xpress Lube of Kernersville today by calling 336-993-7697. Our fast and friendly service will have your car taken care of and back on the road quickly.