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General vehicle maintenance is necessary in order to keep your vehicle in top running condition. Neglecting your car can prove to be costly. One of the items you should be checking and changing on a regular basis that you may not be aware of is your engine air filter.

why you need to take care of your car's air filter

A clean air filter is essential to the well-being of your vehicle’s engine. The engine air filter prevents harsh particulate matter from entering the engine’s cylinders, where they can cause oil contamination and mechanical wear. Neglecting your engine air filter will eventually affect how your car performs. If it has been more than a year, or 12,000 – 15,000 miles it is probably time to check your air filter. Most engines air filters are fairly easy to locate and access, refer to your owner’s manual if you need help. You may be able to tell by looking when a filter needs replacing by finding black areas on the section through which outside air enters. If the air filter appears dirty or it has been over your vehicles recommended time frame it should probably be changed.

Engine air filters are a relatively easy and inexpensive item to replace. In fact, if you are comfortable, you can pop the hood on your car and with the help of your vehicle’s owner’s manual you can likely change it yourself. It is also a quick and easy item for your trusted mechanic to check and change for you the next time you take your vehicle in for an oil change or routine maintenance.

Should you decide to change the air filter at home, be sure that you are parked in a shady area and that the engine has cooled for at least an hour. Be sure to read your owner’s manual before beginning any work on your vehicle. After you have popped the hood and located the air filter, usually found in a black plastic casing in the center of the engine, you will need to first pop the filter casing open with a screwdriver.

Once you have opened the casing, take the old filter out. Look over the old filter to see how dirty, or clean, it is. If necessary, replace the filter with a new one and put the casing cover back on. Most manufacturers recommend changing the filter once every twelve months or every 12,000 miles. However, some vehicles can go longer, so check your owner’s manual. Take note of the date and mileage in which you changed the filter for your records.

Changing your air filter is a quick and easy way to maintain the health of your vehicle’s engine. When is the last time you, or your mechanic took a look at your vehicle’s air filter?