If you are a typical driver, it's likely you don't keep up with your vehicle's maintenance like you should. When buying the car, the owner's manual probably included a maintenance schedule. This undoubtedly outlined several types of service to be managed every few months or so, such as an oil change and tire rotation. One of the accompanying common maintenance tasks that many drivers don't think about is when to change a car's air filter.
The air filter for your vehicle helps to clean the air passing through the engine area and into the vehicle. Cleaning the air facilitates your car's operation by trapping small particles of litter or debris, such as sand or dust that can quickly build up and slow an engine's performance. The air filter helps to provide cleaner air inside your car, too, so you don't start hacking and coughing when breathing the dust kicked up by your car while traveling an unpaved country road. If you aren't sure when to change the air filter, ask an automobile technician. He or she will probably inspect yours when performing the routine oil change or an annual checkup.
During one of these maintenance visits, the technician can check the air filter to see how dirty it is and pop it out for a replacement, if needed. This probably won't need to be done more than once or twice a year, depending on your driving habits and road conditions. Fortunately, air filters aren't terribly expensive, either, and if you replace it yourself after buying one at an auto parts store, the cost can be low, indeed. Car owners who live in rural areas and travel dirt roads, farmers who drive across muddy fields or low-lying streams, and anyone who drives in sandy soil or weather conditions that are chronically adverse may need to change their air filters more often than other drivers. Get in the habit of checking it with every oil change just to see if it is ready for replacement. If the technician doesn't mention it, ask about it.
You might want to plan an annual overview of your vehicle to keep it running in tip-top condition. If your manufacturer didn't supply you with a checklist of things to inspect, make up one that includes the usual features that tend to wear out over time, including tires, trim, and engine parts, along with the air filter. Staying on top of these things will keep your car running harder and longer.
On the other hand, letting them go until something breaks can lead into serious complications. Although an air filter may seem like a rather boring or unimportant part of your car's maintenance schedule, don't take it for granted or neglect its care. Without a clean air filter, the engine could deteriorate more quickly due to excess wear and tear, and you may not enjoy the stuffy feeling inside the car. Pick up an inexpensive air filter at your local auto parts store soon for do-it-yourself installation, or ask specifically for it to be checked at your next annual checkup.
For more information about air filters, visit Home air filters, car air filters and more.