Air Filter Maintenance

Air Filter Maintenance

Some would argue that regularly inspecting and maintaining the air filter in your car is the next most important maintenance item you can do after changing the oil and checking the air pressure in your tires.  The importance of air filter maintenance cannot be stressed enough – it is, after all, how the engine “breathes.”  In layman’s terms, the air outside goes into the intake system after dirt, dust, and foreign particulates are filtered, which blocks them from coming in and doing damage to the engine. Therefore, a clean air filter is critical to your car’s performance and fuel economy.

Air Filter Maintenance - Manassas, VADepending on the make and model, air filters costs between $12.00 – $30.00 on average, which makes them relatively inexpensive. Generally, they are made either from a paper-like material, or from an oil-impregnated fabric like those by K&N. While each has its advantages and disadvantages, suffice to say that a paper element air filter is used by every automotive manufacturer.

A dirty air filter is also a possible reason why other systems would run inefficiently, such as the emissions control system, which is tasked with regulating your car’s air-fuel mixture.  In essence, the engine is nothing more than an air pump.  The amount of air being expelled through the exhaust is limited if the amount of air entering the system is restricted, which results in poor fuel economy at best, and fouled sparks plugs and/or a damaged catalytic converter at worst.

Here are CoHo Auto, we recommend that the air filter should be changed annually, more frequently if you live in an area with poor roads or high level of pollution. We think it’s so important that we inspect the air filter of every car that enters our shop – at no cost – regardless of why it’s in the shop.

If you are thinking of inspecting the air filter in your car, look for a big box on top part of the engine with round, black plastic tubes leading out of it.  This is the air filter box and it may be  square or round, made with metal or plastic. It will have a top that can be moved to give access to the air filter.  If the element looks dirty, it probably is, which means air is being restricted.  In this case, the filter would have to be replaced.  If you are unable to find the air box or have any questions about the condition of your air filter, please stop by and we will be glad to help you.

As far as Coho is concerned, and unlike the quick-service oil change operations, we only use OEM or better paper element air filters.  While these might cost a few dollars more, it’s not worth taking short cuts for something that’s critical to the life of your engine.