Your engine air filter is just like any other air filter you may have. Over time they collect dirt and grim and need replacing. If you want to know when it’s time to replace the engine air filter, look for the following signs.
What is the Typical Lifespan of an engine Air Filter?
Different car manufacturers have different recommendations on how often you should change the filter in your engine. Typically, a disposable engine air filter is reliable for about 30,000 miles in normal driving conditions. If you drive in abnormal conditions, it’s recommended to change your filter more often. Even then, the air filter can go about 15,000 miles between replacements.
Top Signs To Change Your Engine Air Filter
Decrease in Gas Mileage
One of the most common signs you need to change the engine air filter is a decrease in your gas mileage. A standard typical engine requires good airflow to work efficiently. As the engine air filter gets dirty over time, the engine starts to work overtime because there it is harder for air flow through the engine. Overtime, you’ll notice the your fuel efficiency will decrease. If you have to fill up your gas tank more often than usual, it’s probably time to get the air filter checked or replaced.
When air can’t get through the filter to the engine, this affects the entire emission control system. This, overtime will affect your vehicles spark plugs, preventing them from working properly. Due to spark plug malfunction, you may experience ignition problems. When you crank up your vehicle, does it have trouble starting or not at all? If so, check the engine air filter to see if it needs to be replaced.
Odd Engine Noises
Cars make a lot of different noises, and you don’t have to worry about every single one. However, if you notice the sudden appearance of spitting or popping sounds when your engine is idle, it’s possible that the filter needs to be changed. These sounds may be caused by filters that have gotten clogged up, interfering with the air-fuel mixture inside the engine.
Check Engine Light
Did your ‘check engine’ light come on? This light can have many different meanings when it comes to servicing your vehicle. With that being said, it could be connected to an engine air filter problem. If the filter is blocked and not enough air is getting through to your engine, the light can turn on automatically. It’s very important to pay attention to this light and not ignore it. If ignored, it can create bigger and more expensive problems.
New air filters are typically white. When you get your oil changed, have the technician visually check your engine air filter to see if it’s looking dirty or if it’s full of debris. Keep in mind that sometimes an air filter can get clogged with particles that are too small to see. However, if you notice that the filter is gray or full of particles, it’s time to replace it. The location of the air filter varies by vehicle, so check your owner’s manual to find out exactly where the filter is located.
Black Smoke From Exhaust
When dark smoke comes out of your car’s exhaust, this is a bad sign. This is commonly a sign of a clogged air filter. It happens because the engine doesn’t have the right balance of air and fuel. Excess fuel actually flows out of the exhaust in the form of black smoke. In some cases, you may even notice little flames at the end of your exhaust pipe as the unburned fuel starts to ignite. If this is the case, be sure to have your engine inspected ASAP and the filter changed.
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