Dirty air filter vs clean air filterOne of the easiest routine maintenance tasks you can perform on your car is changing the engine air filter. The air filter’s job is to clean the air (removing particles and debris) before the air in introduced into the engine. Over time, the air cleaner will collect dirt, and it will become more difficult to draw air in, limiting the amount of air that the engine gets. When your car is starved for air, you’ll end up with poor performance and degraded fuel economy, costing you money – all because of a sub-$20 part.

First, go to the auto parts store to pick up their filter for your vehicle. There will be plenty. If you are uncertain about the part that you need make sure you bring in the old air filter and they will be able to help you get the right one. You can find that these air filters can cost anywhere from $10.00 all way up to $35.00 depending on the style you get and the model of your vehicle. Make sure that you do not drive a vehicle to the auto parts store if you have removed the air filter, as your engine will pull in an amazing amount of dirt and pollen in a relatively short time, playing havoc with it’s tight tolerances. Take another vehicle if it presents itself otherwise make sure that you get the air filter before you tear the air breather if apart.

The air filter is located underneath the hood of your vehicle, in the engine bay. You need to lift the lid and look for the breather box. Your air filter will be located inside of the air box. You might need a couple of screwdrivers (normally standard) in order to remove the cover to reveal your air filter. Some models might have bolts instead of quick locking screws to hold everything in place. You should reference your vehicle’s owner’s manual before you start.

How to change your engine air filterSimply disconnect the mounting screws that hold the top of the box in place. You’ll then see the air filter which is normally made out of folded pieces of paper (in an accordion fashion). Usually the air filter has a rubber frame around it so that it can make a good seal when it goes back into the box. Make sure that you vacuum out any debris that are trapped in the bottom of the box before you install the new air filter. This will allow your air filter to have a longer life while it is in the vehicle.

Once you have removed the old air filter is time to reassemble the air box with the new filter in place. Simply insert the new filter, then put everything back the way you took it off. Do not missed any screws or bolts when you are putting this back together because it will let air in where it is not supposed to be. Make sure everything is tight and then you’re ready to drive a vehicle without any problems.