Is My Car Air Filter Needed to be Replaced?
It is likely that you are already aware that today's automobile engines run on an air/fuel mixture that is precisely regulated for optimum combustion, power, and fuel efficiency. Did you know that a dirty engine air filter can alter this ideal ratio? If several operating conditions become out of whack as a result of an overdue air filter replacement, a check engine light may illuminate. The worst-case scenario may be a poorly-running engine, but the problem occurs throughout the nation when air filters become dirty and clogged.
How To Know When To Change Your Filter
Due to the gradual decrease in power and mileage that occurs as an air filter becomes dirty, power and mileage are not reliable indicators for evaluating the condition of your air filter. Simply removing it and inspecting it is the most efficient method of monitoring its condition. You can also ensure no small animals have deposited acorns or nesting material in the air filter box by doing this. This can occur. Additionally, you can examine the box itself to ensure that it is not cracked. We recommend having your vehicle inspected after one year or 15,000 miles, whichever occurs first. They are easy to inspect. A further benefit is that they are not too expensive and can be easily replaced by D-I-Y.
It is advisable to examine the amount of light that passes through your air filter if it is a paper pleated one. This is done in the presence of a flashlight or bright light bulb. When the light coming out of the filter is at least 50%, it has enough life left to be used. This test does not apply to filters made of dense fabric, however. If the air/fuel mixture in an engine is continuously starved of air, then the engine will suffer from a condition referred to as a "fuel-heavy mix." This excess unburned fuel will gradually leave deposits of carbon on the spark plugs. During periods of cold startup or heavy acceleration, you may experience hesitation and excessive exhaust smoke as they begin to foul.
When the vehicle's engine computer detects that spark plug misfires are occurring frequently enough, a check engine light will illuminate on the dashboard. Whenever unburned fuel passes through the exhaust system it always reduces the lifespan of any catalytic converters attached to it as well - and these are very expensive components that have to be replaced when they fail. As easy as it is to check and replace your vehicle's air filter, there's no reason why you should allow a dirty one to corrupt the engine's air flow. This will negatively affect the performance of the vehicle, and cost you money for repairs.
When Is The Right Time To Replace My Air Filter?
It is pertinent to mention that the air filter can easily be accessed on the majority of cars, as mentioned previously. If possible, it is a wise idea to combine it with something else that is done on a time and mileage basis, such as an oil change. If you want to remember, make sure that you purchase both the oil and the air filter at the same time. If you open the hood and are cleaning the crankcase, you can also pop off the clip on the air filter box. This way, you can have the brand-new filter in place before the last quart has made its way to the bottom of the engine.
Depending on your calendar habits, we find that the annual spring or fall checkover serves as a helpful reminder to perform this task on a regular basis. During the springtime, when you remove the snow tires and check the condition of the A/C, make sure you take a careful look at the air filter. You might also consider adding "air filter" to your to-do list when you replace wiper blades and test the heating system in the fall.
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