Your car’s air filter is one of the most important components of your engine. It ensures that your engine gets plenty of the oxygen-rich air it needs for combustion, while filtering out particles, debris, and dust that can damage the delicate inner workings of your engine.
So, how do you know when it’s time to change your engine’s air filter? The simplest way is to consult your owner’s manual and refer to their instructions for filter replacement. But if you don’t have the manual handy, or you don’t know when it was changed last, here are some other signs that it’s time for a filter change.
1. You’re Noticing Poor Fuel Economy
Your engine requires good airflow to work properly, and to reach its usual level of efficiency. When air has trouble getting through a clogged or dirty filter, you’ll start to notice poor fuel economy. This will be minor at first, but if you don’t replace the filter, you could notice a reduction of up to 10% in fuel economy.
So, if you’ve noticed you’re filling up your gas tank a bit more often than usual, check the filter – it probably needs to be replaced.
2. You’ve Been Having Ignition Problems
A dirty engine filter usually won’t stop your car from turning on entirely. However, if you have to turn the key a few times to turn your car on, or it seems to be “sluggish” when turning over, you may need a new filter.
This is because the dirty filter is preventing the proper air mixture from reaching your spark plugs, which can stop them from sparking properly and igniting the fuel.
3. Your Car Isn’t Accelerating As Quickly
This is another sign that your air filter may be dirty. A dirty filter doesn’t just make your car less fuel-efficient – it also prevents it from reaching maximum performance. If your car isn’t responding normally when you press down on the accelerator, or it feels a bit “jerky” when you step on the gas, you could probably use a new air filter.
4. You Notice A Smell Of Gasoline When Starting Your Car
When you don’t have enough oxygen entering the fuel system, the fuel injection system or carburetor of your car may send unburnt fuel through the exhaust system, and it will usually exit through the exhaust pipe of your vehicle.
Next time you start your car, sit for a second and see if you can smell any unburned fuel. If you do, chances are that it’s time for a new filter.
5. Your Filter Looks Gray And Dirty
Think your filter is dirty? Time to confirm it with a visual inspection! Air filters are easy to access in all modern vehicles, and are usually located near the engine in a snap-off plastic housing. You’ll usually see a large hose leading from the filter to the engine block. Consult your owner’s manual to find the location, if you’re having trouble.
Pop the housing off, and examine the engine filter. Filters start out bright white and clean – so if your filter looks gray or even black, and there is quite a bit of debris stuck to it, it needs replacement. Usually, you’ll need to replace the filter every 20,000-25,000 kilometers. Consult your manual to see the recommendation for your vehicle.
Need A New Air Filter? Car Still Acting Up After Replacing The Filter? Bring It In Today!
If you need a professional to install your new air filter, or your car is still sluggish or having ignition problems after the filter has been replaced, bring it to Ride Time today! At our 8-bay service centre, our professional mechanics and technicians can examine your vehicle, and get it back in perfect shape!
Schedule an appointment online today, and come into our Winnipeg location now for all of your car servicing needs.