Give Your Engine a Breath of Fresh Air with a New Air Filter
Engines need a lot of clean air to burn fuel. A typical vehicle, for example, needs about 216,000 gallons of air for every tank of gas. Before reaching your engine, all the air passes through an air filter, which catches bugs, dirt, and other debris that can damage your engine.
Unfortunately, the air filter can only hold so much debris before it’s completely full. Once this happens, the debris can get through and make its way to the engine. Dirty air can also pass through the mass airflow sensor and accumulate on the delicate sensor element, causing inaccurate readings that prevent the proper amount of clean air from reaching the engine.
When your engine isn’t receiving the right amount of air, it runs rough and suffers from performance issues. Eventually, the sensor can become so damaged that it needs to be replaced—and it’s not an inexpensive fix! In addition, dirty air will keep going through your engine, where it gets burned along with the fuel. This can dirty your combustion chamber and increase your vehicle’s harmful emissions.
When Should My Air Filter Be Changed?
How often your filter will need to be replaced depends on your vehicle’s maintenance schedule. Check your owner’s manual for your manufacturer’s recommendations, or give us a call and we can look it up for you. In general, it’s recommended to change them every 12,000-15,000 miles, but some makes may have intervals of as much as 30,000-45,000 miles. Keep in mind that if you do a lot of driving down sandy, dusty, or unpaved roads, you may have to change your air filter more frequently.
In some cases, you might be able to tell if your filter needs to be replaced just by looking at it. A clean air filter will be a white or off-white color; if your filter is dirty, it will appear darker with obvious dirt and debris. Many air filters are easy to access; your owner’s manual will pinpoint where it’s located on your vehicle. If you can’t tell by a visual inspection, but it’s been more than 3 years or 30,000 miles since it was changed, it may be time for a new one.
Signs of a Dirty Engine Air Filter
Some additional signs of a dirty air filter include:
- Poor acceleration: if your vehicle seems slow to respond when you press the accelerator, this can be a sign that the engine isn’t getting enough clean air.
- Poor engine performance: A clogged air filter can lead to performance issues like engine misfires, rough idling, and hard starts.
- Strange noises coming from the engine: Coughing or popping noises coming from the engine compartment or excessive vibration can be a sign of a dirty air filter that’s causing damage to a spark plug.
- The check engine light is on: An inadequate supply of air to the engine can cause a buildup of carbon deposits, which can trigger the check engine light.
- Black smoke coming from the tailpipe: The lack of clean air can cause the gas to not burn completely during the combustion process, resulting in unburnt fuel exiting the vehicle through the exhaust pipe as black, sooty smoke.
- Reduced gas mileage: If you’re driving an older carbureted vehicle, a drop in fuel economy is a common sign of a dirty air filter.
Replace Your Air Filter for Optimal Performance and Fuel Efficiency
Keeping up with your air filter replacement schedule has many benefits: increased gas mileage, reduced emissions, optimal engine performance. It will also protect your engine and its internal parts from excessive wear and damage that can result in expensive repairs!
If it’s been a while since your engine air filter was replaced, or you’ve noticed signs that suggest it’s dirty, contact EuroCar Service, your European vehicle experts! We’ll inspect your air filter and let you know whether it needs replacement. If your air filter is clean, we offer complete diagnostics to help you get to the root of the issue. We see all European makes, including BMW, Audi, Land Rover, Mercedes, Mini-Cooper, Saab, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Volvo, Smart Car, and Fiat. Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online.