Do you remember the first time you had your oil changed? The mechanic takes you to your car and shows you how dirty your air filter is and that you need to replace it. You’re busy and got places to be, so you tell him to go ahead and replace it. You wait for him to do so, not thinking about how much it will cost you, because it’s just a small air filter replacement, right? Suddenly, the total for the oil and filter change is almost triple the price of the oil change alone. Air filters are usually affordable, but the mechanic charged you insanely on labour. You pay up and think that replacing the air filter is probably a complicated job that requires some complex tools that only mechanics have. But that can’t be further from the truth.
Changing your car’s air filter is one of the simplest maintenance tasks you can perform yourself. It takes a few minutes to do it and it doesn’t require any special tools. So, if you’re someone who has never done any auto maintenance and want to learn how to replace these 4×4 accessories to save a buck, you’re in the right place.
What’s the Purpose of an Air Filter?
In order for your engine to operate, it needs air. The air mixes with fuel, and the spark plug provides a spark, resulting in internal combustion. For engines to run at peak efficiency, the air it intakes needs to be clean and cool. And here’s where a problem arises – the outside air isn’t clean and doesn’t burn evenly. Pollen, salt, dirt, and other debris are just some of the things your engine can suck in to create the internal combustion that moves your vehicle. This is where the air filter comes into play. Air filters are connected to the intake manifold. Most air filters are rectangular and are made of porous material similar to paper, folded like an accordion. These 4×4 accessories prevent dirt and other small particles from reaching your engine while letting clean air through.
Why Should You Replace Your Air Filter?
There are three main reasons why you need to replace your air filter regularly. First and foremost, a clean filter gives you better fuel efficiency. After driving for thousands of kilometres, the filter can get clogged, and a clogged filter doesn’t provide enough air to the engine. Remember, your engine needs clean air to run efficiently, so less air means your engine will need to use more fuel to get the same power out of the engine. That being said, you also save money at the pump when you change the filter regularly.
Next, you get a prolonged engine life. Although powerful and big, engines are sensitive to even the smallest particles. Over time, the particles and dirt can seriously damage the engine’s internal parts, so it’s better to spend an insignificant amount of money on a new air filter than thousands of dollars on engine repairs or even a new engine. Additionally, reduced airflow can also result in your vehicle’s emission control system making it spew more harmful stuff into the atmosphere, which can make it fail an emission test.
How Often Should You Change Your Filter?
You should change your air filter once every 20.000km or 12 months, whichever comes first. If you live in an area with lots of dirt roads, you should do it more frequently. You should always check the air filter every time you perform an oil change. If your mechanic says you need to replace your filter, tell him you’ll replace it yourself, since it’s pretty straightforward.
Changing Your Air Filter
First, you obviously have to buy a replacement filter. You can easily do that online, where you’ll find hundreds of different filters for your specific vehicle. You’ll notice that there are washable filters, which you won’t have to dispose of once they get dirty, but instead just wash them and put them back in. Once you’ve bought the filter you want, open your hood and find the filter box, which is a black plastic box found on the side or on top of your engine. The filter box typically should have a giant hose sticking out of the side.
Open the box and remove your old air filter. You can open the box by unclasping the metal clips that hold it down and remove the air filter. Visually inspect your old filter and see whether its lifespan is done. Check the folds, if you see a lot of gunk and dirty, you need to replace it. All that’s left to do now is place the new air filter into the box. Make sure it fits snuggly inside, close the box and snap the clips. You’re done! Your engine won’t be gasping for air any longer, and it will operate efficiently.