When to Replace Engine Air Filter? Common Signs & How Often Should You Do It?

Naomi O'Colman

When to Replace Engine Air Filter

When to Replace Engine Air Filter

The engine air filter is a repair element that is sometimes disregarded, but a dirty air filter can negatively impact your vehicle’s performance. So, when to replace engine air filter?

Although the recommended frequency for replacing an engine air filter varies by make and model, most automakers recommend replacing it every 30,000 to 45,000 miles.

When to Replace Engine Air Filter?

There will be two air filters in most modern vehicles: cabin and engine air filters. The cabin air filter must be replaced on a regular basis but on a different timetable than the engine air filter. The engine air filter aims to keep dust, grime, and other environmental contaminants out of the engine. The air filter becomes dusty and clogged over time and must be changed.

Signs that it’s time to replace your engine air filter

Look for the following symptoms to determine when it’s time to replace the engine air filter.

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Gas mileage decreases

When you need to replace the engine air filter, one of the most common problems you’ll face is a drop in gas mileage. To function correctly, the engine requires adequate airflow. It’s difficult to get air in when the air filter is dirty, so the engine has to work a lot harder. Initially, your gas mileage won’t suffer too much, but you’ll notice a significant drop after a while. If you’ve suddenly realized that you have to fill up the gas more frequently than usual, it’s time to have your air filter examined.

Ignition issues

When the engine air filter is unclean, air cannot pass through to the engine, affecting the car’s overall emission control system. As a result, the spark plugs can become clogged and stop sparking properly. As a result, you may suffer ignition issues. Does the car rollover slowly or not at all when you try to start it? Check the filters to determine whether this is the source of the issue.

Time to replace

Check your owner’s handbook for information on when to replace your air filter. This should be done every 12,000-15,000 miles, depending on your vehicle. It’s probably time to replace the air filter if you’ve traveled more than that since the last time you updated it.

If you commute in a sandy or dusty environment, your filter will need to be changed more frequently than the manufacturer’s recommended interval. If your owner’s handbook indicates that the filter needs to be replaced, it’s advisable to replace it now rather than waiting until you notice other issues.

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When should the engine air filter be replaced?

The frequency with which the engine air filter must be replaced varies. The frequency at which the air filter should be replaced varies by the vehicle manufacturer. The suggested change interval on most Chevrolet engines is 45,000 miles, but Ford recommends doing it every 30,000 miles. Hyundai likewise states every 30,000 miles, although it reduces that to 15,000 for “difficult” driving conditions, such as heavy traffic in hot weather or in dusty conditions. Those rules will also apply to other brands. If you drive in certain conditions, you may need to replace the air filter sooner.

By simply looking at a filter, you might be able to identify when it needs to be replaced. If you notice black patches on the portion where outside air enters, it’s time to replace it. The good news is that air filters are quite straightforward to access on most engines, and you can look up the location in your owner’s manual if you need assistance.

Step-by-Step Replacement of a Car Air Filter

While your owner’s manual will tell you when to replace your engine air filter, you may need to do it more frequently if you frequently drive on dirt or gravel roads or in heavy traffic on hot days. Most cars have easily accessible engine air filters, so you can carefully check them to see how dirty they are. Furthermore, changing a car’s air filter is a straightforward procedure that anyone can perform.

If your air filter appears to be dirty, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Locate the air filter housing by opening the hood. Consult your owner’s handbook if you’re not sure where it is.
  2. Disconnect the top of your air filter’s housing unit. To remove the housing, you may need a screwdriver. Before opening, wipe off any dirt to ensure that no dirt falls inside.
  3. Remove the old air filter unit and toss it away once the air filter top has been removed.
  4. Replace the old air filter with the new one, then replace the top of the housing unit to secure the air filter.
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Changing the air filter is a relatively inexpensive repair. It’s fundamental maintenance that you should do on a regular basis to keep your automobile running smoothly. Keep an eye on the air filter and change it as soon as you notice symptoms of clogging to keep your car running smoothly for as long as possible.