First of all, let’s face it…most cars today require an engine air filter change only once every 12 to 18 months, and the average filter costs about $20. If you consider that here at Integrity Auto Care there is typically no labor fees associated with this important maintenance, that makes changing this filter one of the least expensive maintenance items we’ll talk about. So for all we’re about to share, keep in mind, we’re not exactly trying to sell you a bridge in Las Vegas…we’re genuinely trying to help!
Your car’s engine air filter (The mystery revealed!)
Your car’s air filter is a key part of your engine’s respiratory system. It’s literally a tool that helps your engine to “breathe” easier. The engine air filter is responsible for cleaning the air as it enters into the engine compartment. Because this air will be mixed with fuel and ignited during combustion, ensuring that any harmful debris from the outside don’t make it through is pretty darned important.
As you add more miles onto your vehicle, your engine’s air filter is destined to become clogged. Filters get dirty at different times for different drivers, though a clean one lasts typically between 12,000 and 20,000 miles. As I’ve mentioned, we recommend a service interval of only once every year to 18 months.
What happens if you don’t change the engine air filter?
Simply put, an old filter that’s become restricted with debris begins to act less like a filter and more like a blocked airway. Here’s what happens:
- Your engine must work harder to get enough clean air into the chamber to complete the combustion cycle. Attempting to pull air through the restricted filter can create a vacuum effect and it’s possible for particles to get sucked through the filter and in turn damage internal components.
- Because of the engine’s suffocating state, a dirty air filter can also cause it to consume more fuel than it would with a clean one, causing a reduction in overall fuel efficiency.
- If your filter is saturated with dirt, you may experience a lack of power under hard acceleration.
In summary, we’re talking about an inexpensive, once a year maintenance item that if ignored could contribute to unnecessary damage to your engine parts, more money spent each week at the pump, and an overall lack of power when you’re trying to get up and go!
Our advice? If you haven’t changed the filter in more than a year, stop by anytime. It’s painless and cheap. You’ll be giving yourself a pat on the back, and generally feeling better about how well you’re caring for your family’s car.