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Why Do You Need To Replace Your Car Filter?

The air filter of your vehicle plays a vital role in the overall performance of the engine. Hence, it requires cleaning and maintenance. If possible, it should be replaced from time to time. A dirty filter can bring adverse effects to the way your car functions.

New cars have two air filters. The first one is located in the cabin, and the other one is on the engine. The filter in the cabin requires to be changed regularly, too. But you can always set it on a different schedule than the air filter in your engine. 

The function of an engine air filter is to prevent the entry of dust, dirt, and other potential contaminants. If these pollutants manage to breach the engine, the latter will have a deteriorated performance. Of course, the air filter gets dirty because of the job that it does. It is entirely natural. It is the very reason why you need to replace it regularly. 

How Often Should You Replace An Engine Filter?

The frequency of car engine filter replacements vary. It is not always the same for every vehicle out there. Maintenance schedules for different models and makes of vehicles are among the factors that determine when and how often you should change their filter. 

For instance, most engines of Chevrolet vehicles require replacements for every 45,000 miles. Meanwhile, Ford is firm that its vehicles should have an air filter replacement every 30,000 miles. Hyundai also follows Ford when it comes to the frequency of the filter change. However, Hyundai suggested that the replacement should be done every 15,000 miles if the car is used in severe conditions such as frequent journeys on unpaved roads and harsh weather.

Of course, this rule can be applied to other vehicles as well. If you use your car in the most rugged applications possible, then its air filter should be changed frequently. 

How To Know If The Engine Filter Needs To Be Replaced?

There are signs that will help you tell if the filter of your vehicle needs to be replaced already. Here are some of them:


  • It looks dirty – One of the most immediate signs that indicate that a filter is already bad is its appearance. Always remember that a clean filter has a white or off-white color. Every time it traps dirt and pollutants, its white color will turn into a dark color. Once you see that this is the predicament of the filter of your engine, then it is time to switch it with a brand new filter. In some cases, the dirt is not that easy to find, especially if they are hiding on the inner layers. You will need a mechanic to check these parts for you. 


  • Check engine light is turning on – The check engine light can activate for a multitude of reasons. Most of the time, it flashes when there’s trouble in the engine. But it is also possible that the issue lies on the air filter. If there’s not enough air, carbon can accumulate in the engine, which, in turn, causes the warning light to trigger. If you are not sure what causes the light, go to an automotive shop and let a mechanic check your vehicle.


Low horsepower – One of the indirect effects of a bad engine filter is a low horsepower. Specifically, your car will not work properly if the engine is already polluted with contaminants. Your vehicle will jerk every time you press the gas. Or, if not, will not respond well to your actions. Replacing the air filter should settle this problem.


  • Black smoke is produced in the exhaust pipe – Another indicator that can tell that your engine filter is already in bad shape is the black smoke coming out from the exhaust pipe. Keep in mind that the fuel of your vehicle will not burn properly if there’s no oxygen. The black smoke is the result of such failure. If you see that your car is already producing this kind of fume, then you need to replace the filter and clean the engine right away. Popping sounds or flames at the tailpipe are also warnings that you should not ignore. In fact, they are quite hazardous.