How to Replace an Air Filter

You may think, especially when it comes to cars, that the most expensive or the hardest to replace parts, are the most important parts. While this sounds accurate, there are actually many relatively easy and inexpensive to replace parts in your car that are extremely important. One of these parts would be the air filter. An air filter is exactly what it sounds like, and whether you are driving a family van, a sports car, or a beat up commuter, the air filter is one of the car universe’s great equalizers.

It doesn’t matter what you are driving, but if you have and old or clogged air filter, then your car most likely is not driving at its peak performance, and it can actually be hurting from bad air filter. Fortunately, though the air filter is an important part to replace on a regular basis, it is pretty inexpensive and can be replaced in your own driveway. Take a look at this easy to follow, step-by-step process, to replace your air filter.

  • First, gather the necessary tools for this project. You will only need a couple screwdrivers, one Phillip’s head and the other a flat head, and the new air filter. You can normally find which one is made for your car at your local autoparts store or from a reputable car parts website.
  • Second, after opening the hood of your vehicle, you will probably find the air filter in a black case near the top-center of the engine. Some vehicles have the air filter case off to the side though. The case will have a couple metal clips latching itself closed. Open these clips using the flat-head screwdriver. If there are no clips, it probably means the filter case is being held closed by screws, which means you may need to use a Phillip’s head screwdriver to open it.
  • Third, you should see the now dirty and old filter inside the case. It should look like the new one you bought, though it may be a different shade now, to say the least. Go ahead and pull that out, making sure no small elements inside the filter fall out.
  • Fourth, before completely replacing the filter with a new one, you can do this when checking whether it is time to replace it or not as well, hold the original filter up to the light. Check to see if it needs to be replaced by bending it back and forth, seeing if there are any clean spots. After a year or 12,000 miles, you probably won’t see any clean spots, and will confirm the needed replacement.
    • Pro Tip: Never ever use compressed air to “clean” a clogged air filter. This is actually worse for your engine than a dirty air filter, as it no longer protects your engine from airborne abrasives. If you must, you can shake excess dust out of a filter, but a dirty filter should be replaced. Consider buying a washable pre-filter if you live in an exceptionally dusty area.
  • Fifth, you are now ready to set the new filter in. Make sure the filter is going in the right way and fitting correctly before closing the box. If it looks settled and ready to filter, then you can latch the box closed and call it a day! Remember to retrieve the screwdrivers from under the hood before closing it.

These quick and easy steps will help you in replacing an important part of your car. Replacing the air filter yourself will save you money as well, so you don’t have to pay labor for a project you are very capable of doing yourself! Those this project may seem irrelevant, keeping your vehicle maintained with both the big projects and the little ones, will make your engine run for the many miles ahead. Giving you a dependable, healthy vehicle, no matter what you drive.

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