Car DIY: Engine Air Filters And How To Replace Them

Car DIY: Engine Air Filters And How To Replace Them

Last time, we talked about cabin air filters. This time, we’re tackling engine air filters.

Engine Air Filters, clean the air going into the engines. Your car needs air so that it can complete the combustion process in the engine. Or in simpler words, your car needs to be able to breathe clean air so it can run smoothly. Engine air filters prevent dirt, grime, and any other unwanted things from entering your engine.

When Do You Change Engine Air Filters?

As a general rule of thumb, check your car owner’s manual. However, like with cabin air filters, you might need to change more frequently depending on certain factors. These factors include the general environment you drive in and how often you use your car.

A number of signs should alert you when it’s time for a change. For example, if your car has acceleration issues, a dirty engine air filter might be the culprit. Your engine might not be getting enough quality air to for a full combustion.

Aside from acceleration or engine power, you could watch out for strange noises coming from the engine when your car is in idle. It can sound like coughing or popping or spitting noises. This may be because of a spark plug malfunction due to poor filtration by the engine’s air filters.

Finally, there’s the obvious sign of black or sooty smoke coming out of your exhaust. This happens during incomplete combustion. You’ll want to take care of this immediately because it’s dangerous. Not only do you harm the environment, the unburnt fuel in your tailpipe might catch fire.

How to Clean/Replace Your Engine Air Filter

While replacing the engine air filter doesn’t cost too much, don’t make the mistake of replacing them too soon. Sometimes it would be better to clean it instead. However, if you’d rather not go through the time-consuming process of cleaning it, better to just replace it altogether.

Here’s how you can go about cleaning or replacing your engine air filter:

  • Take out your engine air filter

The location of a car’s engine air filter can be found under the hood of your car. For its precise location, check your vehicle owner’s manual to find the airbox in the engine compartment. Most cars have an air filter box can be accessed by hand by unclipping the cover. However, for older cars, you might need to have a screwdriver on hand. Remove the cover and take out the dirty filter.

After taking it out, you may also want to wipe the insides of the air filter box.

  • Clean/replace your engine air filter

Cleaning your engine air filter has a similar rule of thumb to cleaning your cabin air filter. Check what material your engine’s air filter is made up of and clean accordingly.

If it’s paper, you can use a compressed air spray to clean it. When blowing out debris, blow from the clean side of the filter, otherwise when you blow on the dirty side then you are pushing more dirt further into the air filter. be careful when using too much air pressure as you may damage the air filter.

If it’s a gauze air filter, you can vacuum up the debris with and dirt and then with a lightly damp cloth, dab the filter. Make sure not to apply pressure and don’t scrub the filter.

When you’re done, fix the cleaned filter or the replacement filter in place. Make sure the new one faces the same direction as the previous.

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