How Do I Know If I Need to Change the Air Filter?

Your vehicle relies on a combination of fuel, an ignition source, and air for the combustion process, as taught in basic science lessons. In an engine, this trio is facilitated by the fuel source (petrol, diesel, etc.), the spark plugs, and the air intake through the air filter. The filter’s job is to prevent dirt and debris from entering the engine’s chambers, but it inevitably accumulates these particles, reducing its efficiency. So. is it time for air filter change?

Typically, after driving 10,000 to 15,000 miles, it becomes necessary to replace the air filter. However, if you frequently drive in highly dusty environments, this replacement might be needed sooner. How do you recognize when it’s time for this maintenance task?

Let’s dive into the signs that indicates it’s time to change that air filter in your car:

Reduced Fuel Efficiency

If the air filter is clogged, it will affect the air-to-fuel ratio in the engine. When the ratio is not set right, then the car engine might burn more fuel than it’s necessary, which leads to decreased efficiency.

The idea is to notice that your car is getting fewer miles per gallon than usual, here you can think of the air filter as the source of the problem.

Check Engine Light

The “check engine” light on your dashboard can flicker for different reasons, one of which is the dirty, clogged air filter. In modern cars, there are sensors that monitor airflow, and if it’s restricted due to the dirty filter, it can trigger the check engine light.

Visual Inspection

Take a look at the air filter itself. If it appears visibly dirty, clogged, or coated with debris, it’s a clear indication that it needs to be replaced. A clean air filter should look relatively free of dirt and debris.

Unusual Engine Sounds

A clogged air filter can cause abnormal sounds from the engine. Reduced airflow might lead to rough idling, coughing, or sputtering noises as the engine struggles to function optimally.

Reduced Power or Performance

A dirty air filter can highly impact your car’s performance. Here you may notice reduced acceleration or general lack of power when driving. Why? Because the engine is not receiving the required airflow to operate in an optimal manner.

Driving Conditions

If you normally drive in dusty, polluted areas, then your air filter might get clogged faster than usual. In this case, it’s a good idea to check the air filter more frequently and replace it when needed.

Black Smoke or Flames From the Exhaust Pipe

When you smell gas, beware. Insufficient air supply causes incomplete combustion and exits as black smoke from the exhaust pipe. The gasoline leaking from the exhaust could ignite.

When you see a flame coming out of the exhaust pipe, it is caused by heat igniting the unburnt fuel. When you notice these signs, get your car to a qualified technician immediately.

Smell of fuel when starting the car

Once more, the distinct issue of a clogged air filter, causing a rich fuel mixture, becomes evident during startup. If you catch a whiff of fuel odors, it might signal unburned fuel. Delve deeper into inspecting the filter to validate your suspicions.

Get the Help You Need at FC Automotive

A contaminated air filter can trigger a series of issues that impact various car components, hindering their optimal function. This can lead to decreased fuel efficiency, increased emissions, impaired spark plugs, and potential engine damage. Come by FC Automotive Shop now for a prompt air filter replacement. Our facility boasts cutting-edge specialized technology and skilled technicians dedicated to maximizing your car’s performance.

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