When to Change Your Air Filter

Most of the time when you get an oil change, the mechanic will check your air filter and recommend it be changed. But how do you know if you actually need that, or if they are just trying to upsell you? When is the right time to change your air filter?

Here in Arizona, being a dustier state, you should know how often to change the air filter and when to change it. If you don’t, the filter gets clogged with dirt and dust – which could have a negative effect on the performance of your car.

Most of the cars these days have two air filters – one for the engine and another for the cabin. Both air filters – the one for the engine and the other for the cabin, have to be changed regularly. But not at the same time: the engine filter has to be changed at a different schedule than the cabin filter.

When to Change the Air Filter?

How often you change the air filter will depend in many factors, such as the make and the model, for instance. If you have a Chevrolet, then you should change the engine air filter every 45,000 miles.

If you have a Ford, you should change it every 30,000 miles. If you have a Hyundai, change every 30,000 miles. Now, if you live in a hot and dusty state like Arizona, make it 15,000 miles. In Arizona in particular, engine air filters have to be changed faster and more frequently than many other states.

How to tell if the Air Filter needs to be changed?

You can tell that filter needs to be changed with a quick examination. If you find that the surface of the section through which the air gets through has become dark or black colored, then you should replace the filter.

If it’s been 3 years since you last changed the filter, or 30,000 miles since you last had a look at it, change it anyway, whichever is earlier. Usually, here in Arizona, drivers get their filters changed within 2 years or 15,000 miles – whichever comes earlier.

Warning signs to look for…

There are certain warning signs that tell you that the filter needs to be changed.

  1. Decrease in fuel efficiency – Has your gas mileage reduced in any way? That’s a sign that the engine has been burning more fuel for the same amount of power. Try replacing the air filter – that could increase the fuel efficiency by bringing in more oxygen through to the engine.
  2. Engine stops and starts – If the filter is dirty or clogged, the airflow to the engine gets affected. The spark plugs are contaminated and the engine starts malfunctioning in a bad way.
  3. Engine makes all sorts of strange noises – Let’s say the engine makes a slipping or coughing sound. That is a sign that something is not right with the engine. It could be because of a malfunctioning spark plug and a blocked air filter.
  4. Black smoke exiting through the exhaust – If you notice a blacking flame or smoke exiting through the exhaust, that is a definite sign that the filter is clogged and needs to be changed.