Sunday 28 May 2023
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How to Change Your Air Filter

An auto mechanic wearing protective work gloves holds a dirty, clogged air filter over a car engine during general auto maintenance.

by Lori Straus

Changing the air filter in your engine is perhaps one of the quickest and cheapest DIY maintenance tips you can do to extend your car’s life. In this blog post, we’ll explain why your engine’s air filter is so important and explain how to change it.

Why Does Your Engine Need an Air Filter?

Your car’s engine requires air for combustion so it can run. To keep your engine running as efficiently as possible, though, the air your engine uses must be plentiful and clean. Engine air filters help with both: they filter out the debris in the air while still maintaining an optimal flow.

So long as the filter isn’t covered in too much dirt and grime.

As your air filter becomes clogged, less air flows into your engine, requiring more gas for combustion. More gas of course equals more money. In addition, if even the tiniest sand grains make their way into your engine, you’re looking at an engine replacement somewhere down the road.

Or, spend between $8 and $15 on an air filter every year, switch it out yourself, and help protect your engine.

What Air Filter to Buy

Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada - October 30, 2018: Canadian Tire storefront. Canadian retail company sells a wide range of automotive, hardware, sports and leisure, and home products.

Check your car’s owner’s manual to find the specs for your engine filter. As you can well imagine, engine filters vary by make and model, and even engine type, so the last thing you want to do is head out to Canadian Tire and grab something off the shelf.

If you’ve lost your owner’s manual, or your used car didn’t come with one, you should be able to find it online. Just do a quick search for your make and model.

How to Change Your Engine’s Air Filter

You’ll likely need more time to read these instructions than change your air filter.

  1. Pop the hood and look for a plastic housing box. Your owner’s manual will tell you exactly where your air filter is housed.
  2. Open the clips that hold down the cover to the housing box.
  3. Remove the filter in the housing box, paying very close attention to its orientation.
  4. Place the new filter in the housing box in exactly the same orientation as the old one was in.
  5. Close the lid and the clips.
  6. Dispose of the old air filter.

Change Your Filter As Needed and Enjoy the Benefits

An auto mechanic removing the dirty air filter from an automobile.   Photo taken as work was actually being performed.

A general rule of thumb is to change your filter whenever you change your oil. If your filter is clean, though, put it back in and set yourself a reminder on your phone to check again in a few months. Keeping your engine’s air filter clean costs only a few dollars a year and yet could save you thousands on an engine replacement. This is a maintenance tip you don’t want to ignore.

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