Your engine needs air to run properly, and your air filter is responsible for trapping dust and dirt particles that could otherwise enter the engine. Over time, a dirty air filter can suffocate the engine and cause damage. Unfiltered air can contain dust, dirt, and other particles that can soil sensors and injectors, leading to poor compression, oil combustion, oil leaks, fuel adjustment problems, cylinder ignition failures, and more. In extreme cases, a clogged air filter can even cause the engine to overheat.
It's important to have a quality air filter designed for your vehicle. Automotive experts recommend replacing filters every 12,000 miles or 12 months, but always consult your owner's manual for details on your vehicle's air filter replacement program. The decision of whether or not to clean an air filter depends on the type of air filter you use in your car. To prevent engine damage from a clogged air filter, it's important to treat the symptoms immediately and always have a clean air filter in place.
Improperly installing the filter or installing the wrong filter can leave the engine exposed to dirt and debris. Even if the inner layers of filter paper inside the air cleaner don't appear to have visible debris, dust or dirt, it's still important to replace it regularly. One of the best ways to improve your vehicle is to buy a reusable air filter, such as a K&N filter. Make sure your mechanic checks the air filter when you take your car in for maintenance and follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding replacing the air filter.