The user manual should list the service interval for the filter, but vehicles regularly driven on dirt roads may need the filter changed twice as often. If you’re unsure, inspect the filter visually and replace or clean it if the filter element looks black.
How do I change the air filter in my car?
This is one of the simplest DIY repairs you can do on your vehicle.
First, buy an air filter. By having a new filter on hand, you’ll be able to identify the size and shape of the air box it goes into.
While the engine is off, open the hood and look for the air box. In carbureted cars, this box is directly above the engine. Fuel-injected cars will put the air box near the front of the engine bay.
Filter boxes for cone-shaped filters normally have a clamp around the box’s center. Carbureted filter boxes have a single wing nut at the center of the box, and other boxes have bolts running along the edge of the enclosure. Remove these restraints and open the box.
Remove the old filter and clean out any debris that may have gathered in the bottom of the air box. Insert the new air filter: Rectangular air filters should be placed with the rubber seal facing upwards. Close the box and replace any fasteners.
Is there a difference between air cleaners?
Without increasing the surface area of the filter, there is a trade-off between air flow and air filtering. Paper, cotton, and foam elements all have similar flow rates with differences linked to the filter’s design. The best bet for increasing air flow is to buy an intake system that can use a larger filter.
Although the up-front cost is higher, cheap reoiling kits can make foam filters less expensive than disposable filters over the long term. If too much oil is used, it can drip onto the mass air flow sensor, which generally sits just behind the filter. If this happens, the residue can be cleaned off by spraying the sensor with MAF cleaner, which is available at most auto parts stores.
Does a dirty filter hurt fuel economy?
While carburetors can run too rich without enough air, electronic fuel injection can automatically adjust fuel flow according to how much air is entering the engine. This maintains fuel economy, but reduces power output.