Diagram of where the air filter is located. Photo from Yourmechanic.com

     Air filters are important in keeping your car on the road, yet it is overlooked as just another thing the mechanic shop does to run your bill up. An engine requires oxygen to burn the gasoline vapor in the cylinder. Allowing dirt or other air particles to enter an engine severely reduces its life. These particles can clog important passages and increase wear between metal components.

     If an air filter becomes clogged, less air can enter the engine, hurting performance and gas mileage, because it has to work harder to pull in the same amount of air.

     To check your air filter, you must locate the air box under the hood. The air box will be located in the front of the engine bay, off to one side. There are a few different ways to remove the filter, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

     Many air boxes will have tabs that hold the top of the airbox on. They are located around the box with one or two on each side. Once they are pushed down, lift the box upward. With the top of the box out of the way, the air filter should be visible.

     Other types of vehicles use bolts to hold the top and bottom of the airbox together instead of the tabs. The bolts will usually be 8mm or 10mm to take them off, twist counterclockwise with the correct size socket.

     Sometimes, in the case of cold air intakes, the factory air box will be replaced with a large cone-shaped filter. Sometimes these air boxes will be difficult to get apart and may take a few tries to get them apart. A quick google search for your cars make and model can help you identify these locations and methods.

     The fins on the bottom side of the filter will indicate how clean or dirty the filter is. Pull a few of the fins apart, if dirt or other debris are in-between most or all of the fins, you should consider replacing the filter. Just give the part-house your car’s year make, model and engine size and they can get you the correct filter.

     Place the new filter in the air box and replace the top. Replace any bolts or clamp down the retaking tabs. With this done you have successfully changed your air filter. You would usually replace one of these filters around 10,000 to 15,000 miles.

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