The Importance of Air Filters

Love is in the air! Speaking of air, let’s talk about your car and it’s air filter. Last year we had a chat about the importance of having your cabin air filter serviced. This time, let’s go outside.

Let’s be honest, most of us do not think about our engines air filter when it comes to vehicle maintenance. Some of us don’t even have a clue what it’s purpose is. We know it’s there, but why? Like the filters in our homes heating and air conditioning system, our engines air filter needs to be changed too. What does an air filter do, other than the obvious of filtering air? Well, it’s sole purpose is to clean the air and prevent harmful debris, dust and contaminants from entering the engine and causing damage. An air filter is like a small soldier always prepared to protect your engine. As we drive, we are constantly being barated by dirt and dust and grime from the roads we travel. As those contaminants pass throught your air filter, they are trapped and held to keep them from entering and damaging your engine. As time goes on and your filter becomes more and more dirty, it makes your engine work harder. The results of this condition are poor fuel economy, loss of engine power and higher emissions. I like to think of that condition as asthma for your car. It is very hard for your engine to breath when the filter is dirty and clogged.

Your engine air filter, as long as it’s accessible should be inspected at each interval service. It is also a good idea to replace the filter annually or every 12,000 miles to ensure that your engine does not suffer damage due to lack of fresh air. In some instances, such as the horrific fires we had this past year, the filters will need to be replaced more often. Individual driving habits and driving conditions will determine how ofter the air filter will need to be replaced. In a worst case scenario, we have seen a completely plugged filter damage an engine to the point of needing a new engine. We have also seen debris bypass a dirty filter causing internal engine damage or sensor damage.

The moral of this story, show your car a little love this month. Have your air filter inspected during it’s routine maintenance. Or better yet, if it’s been a while, have it replaced. Your engine will thank you for it and eventually, so will your wallet. Your car will be saying, “Ti amo!”