An internal combustion engine makes power by burning the mixture of air and fuel and the air that enters the combustion chambers needs to be clean. There can be no dust or insects inside the engine, so the air filter plays a very important role. A dirty air filter can cause drops in performance, but these drops are usually gradual, so many people fail to notice them. This is why there are replacement intervals, which can greatly depend on the type of your car, or the area where you mostly drive. Air filters are usually very cheap and replacing them is one of the easiest tasks on most cars. Here’s a quick rundown to help you change the air filter without going to the mechanic.
- Before you even open the hood, you should buy a new filter to replace the old one. DO NOT drive without the air filter. Not all filters are the same, so make sure you buy the one that fits your car. People working in the car parts store can help you with the choice, but you can also find the number of the part, since they have unique ID numbers.
- Prepare the car. Park on a level surface and engage the parking brake. Turn the car off and make sure it is in the first gear, or P. Open the hood.
- Find the air filter housing and open it. If you don’t know what it is, it is usually a plastic box that sits near the engine. There should be a duct at the front of the car that directs the air. Just follow that one and you are bound to find the air filter housing. It is usually pretty high up and easily accessible. There are several ways to open the housing, depending on the type of the car. However, they are all very simple and include things like screws, hose clamps, or wing nuts. Whatever the system, make sure you don’t lose any of the parts. Remove the top of the housing completely.
- Once you’ve opened the housing you will see the filter. You will recognize it comparing it to the new one you’ve bought. Aside from the filtering part, it also includes a rubber seal. The filter is removed by simply lifting it from the lower part of the housing.
- Clean the housing of the air filter. Do it either by using a compressor or the vacuum cleaner.
- Put the new filter inside the housing so that the rubber part is turned upwards. Make sure it fits perfectly.
- Reinstall the cover of the housing and put all the screws and clamps where they were.
Close the hood and you’re good to go. The changes should be performed in the interval stated in the owner’s manual.