Even drivers who know very little about the inner workings of their vehicles usually know the basics of preventive maintenance. They know their oil should be replaced regularly, their tires should be inflated to the correct pressure and they should heed any warning lights that illuminate on their dashboards to alert them of potential problems. Beyond that cursory knowledge, many drivers have an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality about their cars. Sooner or later, these drivers usually find out the hard way why that’s not always a smart mindset. One small and inexpensive item that ranks high on the neglected car-care list are the air filters.
What Does Your Vehicle’s Cabin Air Filter Do?
Just as your home’s air-conditioning and heating system includes a filter that traps dust, dirt and particles from entering your home’s air, your car’s HVAC system has a filter too. When you think about it, you’ll realize that changing the air filter on your vehicle is probably more important than changing the filter on your home’s HVAC system. Why? Your home is large enough that debris not trapped by your HVAC filter is dispersed over a large surface area. You’re less affected by the dirt and dust because it’s spread out. However, your vehicle’s interior is compact and its air circulates repeatedly. If you neglect your air filter, you are breathing in dust and tiny particles that can irritate you. Wipe a finger across your dash board. Does it appear dusty? If it does, and you haven’t had your air filter replaced in the past 15,000 miles, it’s time to replace it.
Why Engine Performance Is Impacted By Your Vehicle’s Engine Air Filter
A dirty air filter not only affects cabin air quality, it also affects vehicle performance. The air filter traps dirt and debris. When it is full the volume of air entering your engine is restricted and tiny particles can escape causing massive and expensive engine damage. Even a particle the size of a grain of sand can damage your engine. Are you familiar with your car’s mass air flow sensor? Most people are not. This important engine component measures how much air is entering your engine. That’s important because this data is required to determine the correct ratio of air to fuel for efficient operation of your engine. Insufficient airflow to the engine can cause a false mass air flow sensor fault code to be recorded and turn on your check engine light as well as reducing fuel efficiency and engine performance. We often get calls requesting a mass airflow sensor replacement as a result of a free code check at an auto parts store when the real cause is a dirty air filter. One of the benefits of having your air filter checked regularly is that this step will significantly reduce the odds this several-hundred-dollar part will be replaced unnecessarily.
A New Air Filter Is A Small, Yet Very Wise, Investment
If you are interested in how to increase your car’s engine performance and gas mileage, breathe cleaner air and reduce the risk of engine failure, change your air filters regularly. It can be tough to remember this easy and inexpensive yet important step. So do yourself a favor and request an air filter inspection every time you bring your car in for a routine engine oil service. If you’re due for an oil change or can’t remember the last time your air filter was replaced, contact us.