A car’s air filter keeps dirt out of the engine while allowing clean air into the combustion chamber. That helps prevent damage to the engine and keep emissions down.
The air filter is under the hood near the radiator. You can access it by lifting the hood and pulling off the plastic cover. The air filter has three types: pleated paper, foam core, and fiberglass. Each type works differently and offers different benefits.
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An air filter is part of an engine’s air intake system that keeps dirt, dust, pollen, and other particles out of your engine. That helps keep it clean and running efficiently. If you don’t change your air filter often enough, it could become dirty and cause issues like decreased power, poor fuel economy, and excessive exhaust emissions.
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- Decreased Engine Power
When your engine runs rough, it could mean that your air filter is clogged. When your engine starts making loud noises, it usually indicates a faulty air filter. This problem makes your engine run poorly, especially when driving down the highway.
- Inefficient Gas Miles
A clogged air filter can affect your fuel economy. Most drivers don’t realize this, but your air filter helps keep your engine clean. As such, it plays a vital role in determining how much gas you use per mile. If your air filter is clogging up, it’ll reduce the amount of air flowing into your engine, causing it to burn less fuel.
- Gas Smell When Starting the Engine
Excess gas builds up in your car’s tailpipe over time. If you smell it while driving, there are several things you can do to fix the issue. First, check your vehicle’s manual to see what type of air filter you’re running. Some vehicles use a charcoal filter, while others use a paper filter. Paper filters tend to clog faster, so changing out the filter every six months or so. Second, make sure your car isn’t leaking oil. Third, check the fuel level.
- Exhaust Smoke
The most common reason for black smoke coming out of the tailpipe is due to clogged air filters. When the air filter gets too dirty, carbon particles build up and block airflow into the engine. As a result, the engine doesn’t receive enough oxygen to burn fuel efficiently, causing black smoke to come out of the tailpipe.
- Check Engine Light
A clogged air filter can lead to many different symptoms, including a check engine light coming on. Even if you didn’t reach the default lifespan of the filter, you should change it once the check engine light comes on.
- Check the owner’s manual. If you see instructions for cleaning the air filter, follow those directions.
- Look under the hood. You might notice a small tube attached to the side of the engine. This is called the intake manifold which connects the filter to the carburetor. When the air filter becomes clogged, it causes the engine to run poorly.
- Use a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum cleaners work well because they use suction to pull the dirt out of the air. To test whether the air filter is clogged, place the end of the hose into the air filter housing. If there is no resistance, the filter is probably clogged.
- Test the airflow after turning off the ignition switch. Place one hand over the opening where the air flows into the passenger compartment. With the other hand, hold a flashlight near the opening. If the light shines brightly, the airflow is good. If the light dims, the airflow is poor.