Q. How often should I replace the air filter in my car? What happens if I don’t change it that frequently?
A. It depends on what kind of driving you do. If you primarily drive on nice clean highways, you won’t have to change it as often as your country cousin who’s truckin’ it on dirt roads every day. A good rule of thumb is to change your air filter every other oil change. That comes out to roughly every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. You can inspect it at shorter intervals to see how it’s doing. Your owner’s manual should give you the recommended schedule for your particular car.
Luckily, changing your car’s air filter is pretty inexpensive to do and can make a huge difference in your car’s performance and fuel economy.
Your air filter keeps dirt and grime from getting into your engine. Those little gritty particles can do some big damage, and keeping them out means less wear on your engine. A dirty air filter can also interfere with your car’s fuel injection computer readings, meaning the air to fuel ratio can be thrown off. You’ll start burning gas inefficiently and that leads to poor performance and less than ideal gas mileage. If your car has a carburetor, the same imbalance results from a clogged filter and you might even start belching black exhaust. Well, not you, but your car. Neither one is a good thing.
Changing your air filter regularly should be part of your regular vehicle maintenance. Saving a little money by skipping a change can cost you dearly down the line.