March 10

When should I Replace My Car’s Engine Air Filters?


Your car’s engine air filter is an important part that protects the health and performance of your vehicle. Replacing this filter regularly can keep your car running efficiently and maintain proper airflow. Review this guide from the team at Huffines Hyundai Plano for information about when you should replace your car’s engine air filter.

What Is the Engine Air Filter?

Dirty Engine Air Filter

image via Allstate

The engine air filter is one of two air filters your vehicle equips to catch and filter debris in the air. While the cabin air filter works for the inside of your vehicle, the engine air filter is located in the engine compartment of your car. The filter keeps dirt, debris, and other hard particles out of the engine and intake system. Changing the engine air filter ensures this component does the job of protecting your engine from costly damage debris and particles can cause.

When Should I Replace My Car’s Engine Air Filter?

How often you replace the engine air filter depends on your make and model, as different manufacturers have varying recommendations. In most cases, you can go up to 30,000 miles between replacements, but driving habits and conditions can affect this frequency. If you regularly drive in harsh conditions like dusty, wet, or dry weather or in areas with heavy traffic, you may need to replace your engine air filter every 15,000 miles. Be sure to speak with a technician to ensure your air filter replacement fits your vehicle’s needs.

Signs It’s Time To Change Your Air Filter

Take a look at some of the signs that can tell you when it’s time to change your air filter:

Dirty or Discolored Filter

One of the most obvious signs that it’s time to replace your air filter is the dirt and debris buildup you can see on it. A clean filter is white in color, but as dirt builds up, it gets darker. If you can see dirt buildup on your engine air filter and it’s discolored, it’s likely due for a replacement.

Check Engine Light Comes On

Check Engine Lights | Engine Air Filters

image via Prestige Imports

If your “Check Engine” light comes on, it could be a sign your engine air filter needs changing. While the check engine light can indicate several different things within your vehicle’s engine mechanisms, a clogged air filter can cause also trigger the light to come on. If yours lights up, be sure to bring your car into your service center to have the air filter and other components checked.

Noises From the Engine

Although your engine generates some noises that are normal, the sudden onset of odd noises like popping or spitting sounds when your car is idling can indicate your engine air filter needs a replacement. Dust and debris that clog the filter can cause interference with the air and fuel mixture within the engine, so it’s important to have your technician inspect the air filter and other parts to ensure any odd noises aren’t part of a larger issue.

Lower Performance

Poorer performance can also mean you need an engine air filter replacement. If you notice your car has a slower performance when driving up inclines or it struggles to get up to speed, your air filter may be clogged. With an air filter replacement, you can address these issues to maintain your car’s performance.

Dirty Exhaust Emissions

Black smoke or dirty exhaust can also indicate it’s time for an engine air filter replacement. This dirty or dark exhaust is from the buildup in the air filter causing an air-fuel imbalance, making excess fuel flow out of your exhaust. If you notice this occurring or it’s been some time since your last service, get in touch with your service center to have your engine air filter replaced.

Poor Fuel Efficiency

Filling your tank more frequently can also be a sign of a dirty or clogged engine air filter. Since debris buildup can restrict the airflow to your engine, your engine works harder to compensate for the imbalance between air and fuel intake. If you notice a drop in your fuel efficiency, bring your vehicle in for an air filter replacement.

Importance of Changing the Engine Air Filter

The air filter on your engine is a critical part that helps protect the internal components from damage that dust and dirt particles can cause. Therefore, changing your air filter regularly can ensure:

Longer Engine Life

Even tiny particles can escape a worn air filter and cause damage to internal engine components, like your pistons and cylinders. Regular air filter replacement ensures your engine is protected from dirt and debris, preventing particulates from getting into the internal parts of the engine. With a fresh filter, you can reduce the likelihood of costly repairs due to a worn air filter, ultimately prolonging your engine’s life span.

Better Fuel Efficiency

When you replace your engine air filter, you ultimately improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. What’s more, a fresh air filter can also help improve acceleration. Dirt and debris can reduce the amount of air that flows into the engine, making your car work harder and expend more fuel to run. Changing your air filter ensures proper airflow and improves this fuel usage to increase the efficiency of your car.

Lower Emissions

A dirty air filter reduces overall airflow to the engine, causing fluctuations to your car’s fuel balance. This fuel imbalance can gunk up your spark plugs and cause your engine to idle roughly, increasing exhaust emissions. A clean engine air filter protects the exhaust system from building up deposits, ultimately reducing your vehicle’s emissions.

If your vehicle needs an engine air filter replacement, schedule a service appointment with Huffines Hyundai Plano. Our factory-trained and certified team of technicians use only quality parts and maintenance techniques to address your automotive needs. Our service center is fully equipped to handle all your maintenance needs. In addition to engine air filter replacements, we provide basic maintenance in our Express Service, and we also offer a range of service specials in coupons. Contact us today to see how Huffines Hyundai of Plano can be of service.


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