Your Automobile’s Air Filter


Imagine breathing – without lungs. That didn’t take long.

Now take a deep breath and feel the air move through your nose into the deep parcels of your chest. Stay with me on this one – we’ll get to your car in a moment. Open your mouth and breathe deeply, sensing the flow rush through your larynx, caressing the mucus membranes, down through the bronchial tubes, disseminating into the microscopic recesses of your lungs.

The human body has been intelligently designed to filter out the precious air that we so desperately need to breathe. Have you ever crossed a street in downtown New York, or anywhere in Bangkok, or the boulevard in front of the museum in Cairo? The air filters of your body – the hairs of your nose, your mucus membranes, other fleshly components – cringed in the absorption of dirt, pollutants, and carbon monoxide. Had your filters not been working properly, you would not be reading these words now.

That’s how the air filter in your automobile works. Every car, truck, motorcycle, any motorized vehicle contains some type of air filter that protects the engine from dusty roads and dirty streets. Even your lawn mower contains an air filter that causes the motor to run efficiently so that you can cut the green grass.

The air filter on your automobile is one of the more overlooked parts of the engine. People forget about it because of its lack of glamour. But forget too long, and you’ll start experiencing hiccups, sputtering, and eventually engine failure. Funny that a piece of paper plays such a crucial role in getting you down the road so efficiently.

There are several key aspects to ensure that your air filter enables your engine to perform properly that everyone can easily master. Heed these simple measures and your engine will breathe cleanly. Choose to forgo this advice, and you’ll be paying for a large auto repair.

All you need to remember is: review, replace, and renew.

Review your air filter by periodically looking at. A good air filter will last 30,000 miles or more. Find the canister that contains the filter and gently lift off the lid. Each canister is slightly different and located in a different place on each engine. You may need your car manual to locate the filter, or you can simply ask a friend or neighbor to point it out to you. Most filters easily pull out. Once taking it out, blow on it to remove dust and dirt. If it is dark gray to blackish in color, it needs to be changed. Light gray means it has been there a while and will need to be changed within a few months, based on normal usage. Reinsert the filter and you are good to go.

If you need to replace the filter, head to a local auto parts store. Ask for help or find the booklet that tells you what size filter you need. Air filters come in many shapes and sizes, designed to fit various types of engines. Typically your engine will take only one size. Find the right size and place the brand new white filter into the canister on the engine. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how simple this task is.

After reviewing and replacing your filter, the next step is to renew it. Write down the mileage of your automobile when you put in the clean filter. Check the filter every 10,000 miles. If someone else changes your oil, they will no doubt check your air filter, and recommend that it be changed, if necessary.

Maintaining your air filter is truly the simplest form of maintenance that you can do on your own vehicle. Now that you know how to do it, you’ll never be taken by a mechanic trying to pull one over on you. Now that you’ve read this, go check your air filter.

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