How Often To Change Engine Air Filter?

According to a 2009 study that was conducted by the United States Department of Energy, a clogged air filter hurts your vehicle’s acceleration by 6%-11%. This is just one of the effects of a dirty air filter. So how often to change engine air filter? It’s highly important to periodically check this part of your car to always make sure that it’s clean.

Modern cars have two air filters; one for the engine and another one for the cabin. Although you need to change both of them occasionally, the changing schedules are different.

What Is An Engine Air Filter?

An engine air filter is a piece of equipment that’s composed of porous or fibrous materials, which get rid of solid particulates such as bacteria, mold, pollen, and dust from the air. Air filters are important to any vehicle because they maintain the needed quality of air in the engine. Although filters are the last thing that comes into your mind when talking about engines, they play a pivotal role in making sure your mill remains healthy.

To function properly, all fuel-burning engines need a constant supply of clean air. Before air from the atmosphere passes through the cylinders, an air filter cleans the air to prevent any form of debris from causing damages. Air filters are akin to your nose in the sense that they filter out any foreign particles before they get into your lungs thus ensuring your respiratory system functions optimally.

A clean air filter is beneficial to your car in countless ways. For starters, clean ones improve the quantity and quality of clean air that enters the engine, which in turn enhances the performance and efficiency of your engine. Secondly, changing your air filters regularly is an affordable way to prolong the life of your car’s engine.

The good thing is replacing your dirty air filter is pocket-friendly.

How Often To Change Engine Air Filter

When to Replace Car Air Filter

How often to change engine air filter? Does the smoke that emanates from your tailpipe look black and dense? Does the engine slow down and skip unevenly? Do you notice a lack of consistency or lack of power when you accelerate? Does your vehicle’s fuel level seem to be dropping right before your eyes?

Knowing how often to change air filter is important. It goes miles to saving you more severe damages to your ride.

In addition to the above-mentioned indicators, the following are the four major signs that it is time to change your car’s engine air filter:

  • Ignition problems – A dirty air filter causes air not to get to the engine via the filter. This affects your vehicle’s entire emission control system, which in turn gunks up the spark plugs hence, stopping them from sparking properly. Due to this, you might experience ignition problems. You need to change the filters if the car rolls over sluggishly or doesn’t start at all when you try to start it.
  • A decrease in gas mileage To work properly, your car’s engine needs excellent airflow. If the air filter is dirty, it becomes harder for air to get in, which means that the engine has to work harder than normal. Although your ride’s gas mileage will not suffer badly at first, you’ll notice the numbers dropping quickly after a while. If you notice that you’re filling up your gas tank more frequently than usual, it’s time you consider getting the air filter checked.
  • Visual check Conducting a visual check on the air filters gives you a clue on whether it is time to change them. New and clear filters are normally white or off white. If the filter is any other color such as gray, it’s time for a replacement. Of great importance to note is that it’s possible for your filter to be clogged with extremely small particles. This means that you have to be keener when conducting a visual check.
  • Replacement time By checking your owner’s manual, you’ll have a glimpse of when the air filters need to be replaced. Generally, this is after every 12,000-15,000 miles or Every Year. The number of miles largely depends on your car. If you drive in a dusty or sandy area, you should change the air filters more often.

Learn More: How Often To Change Cabin Air Filter – Everything You Need To Know

Maintenance schedules of air filters for different makes or models of cars vary. For instance, on most Chevrolet engines, the recommended change interval is after every 45,000 miles. When it comes to Ford, the company insists it should be after every 30,000 miles, which is also the same for Hyundai. Of course, if you drive in certain conditions, checking and changing the air filter should be more often.

How Often To Change Engine Air Filter

How Much Does A Car Air Filter Cost?

Replacing your car’s air filters shouldn’t cost you a fortune because many experts consider the service simple maintenance. To ensure you don’t break the bank for this service, it’s prudent to always do it early enough before it turns out to be a major issue for your vehicle. Taking your car to a dealership for air filter replacement is costlier compared to other service providers. Dealerships charge higher in comparison to regular body shops.

If you really want to take the car to a body shop or dealership, do it when going for other services so that you get the most of the labor fees you will be paying.

In the United States, a car filter replacement cost varies. It should be in the $36 – $70 range. Fortunately, certain body shops allow you to come with your own new air filter. Air filters for higher-end car models such as Mercedes Benz and BMW might be costlier compared to the standard ones such as Honda or Toyota. The other important thing to note is the fact that your vehicle’s AC filter price majorly depends on the year of your car.

Breakdown of Price: $20-$50 Air Filter; $20-35 Labor

Note: You shouldn’t spend more than a hundred bucks to purchase an air filter that’s compatible with your vehicle.

How Often To Change Engine Air Filter YouTube Video

Final Words

Air that enters your vehicle’s engine flows via the air filter, which catches all debris that enters the engine hence helping it perform better and last longer. How often to change engine air filter? Depending on the kind of conditions you drive in, replacing the air filters needs to be done regularly. If you do not drive a lot, you should replace your air filters at least every three years because, with age, it becomes brittle.


Hi There, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I have been working as a mechanic for over fifteen years. I worked for a long time at Global Rebound Automotive companies (Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others ) as a Mechanic and Mechanics Supervisor.

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