Can a Dirty Air Filter Cause a Car to Misfire?

Engine ignition faults, sudden idling and sudden starts can all be attributed to a clogged engine air filter. This is because the dirty air filter restricts the air supply to the engine, causing unburned fuel to form a soot residue that accumulates in the spark plug. This reduces the amount of air supplied to the engine, resulting in an increase in unburned fuel which is then converted to soot waste. Soot can build up on the tips of the spark plugs, making them unable to emit a proper spark. This can cause the car to move sharply at idle and, in some cases, the engine may even fail.

Most automotive companies recommend changing your air filter every 10,000 to 15,000 miles, or every 12 months. However, if you normally drive in rural or dusty areas such as Scottsdale, Arizona or San Antonio, Texas, you may want to have your mechanic check and replace it more frequently - for example, every 6,000 miles. Driving in busy areas where there is a lot of traffic such as Los Angeles and Washington D. C., which causes it to stop and start more frequently, also requires you to replace the air filter more often. Most vehicles also have a cabin air filter that is used to clean the air that enters the interior of the car, but it has a different maintenance program than an engine air filter. Running your car without an air filter allows dirt, leaves, debris, insects and a multitude of air pollutants to enter.

However, very often the inner layers of filter paper inside the air filter may have dust and debris that are not visible even in high light. If you do not replace the air filter at the suggested intervals you may notice distinctive signs that it needs to be replaced. As a car owner you should watch for these symptoms of a dirty air filter to ensure that your engine is kept free of debris. Most vehicles have an easily accessible filter that only requires removing the filter housing or air box. Every vehicle is a little different and manufacturers recommend several change intervals but most mechanics and manufacturers recommend changing the engine air filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. It is also possible that dirty air or a lack of air to achieve the correct air-fuel ratio cause the engine to malfunction which also causes a decrease in fuel economy. Like other car maintenance services, air filter replacement costs vary depending on the car model and where you seek help.

At the same time, the air filter must allow enough air to reach the engine so that it can work effectively. A clogged air filter restricts air flow to the engine leading to an inadequate air supply and too much fuel being burned. If the engine air filter is clogged then the right amount of air flow will not be able to reach the combustion chamber and you may hear crackling, crackling or coughing noises. Once an air filter is too clogged and stops working it can decrease your car's performance and even damage your engine. The longer you allow dirt to pass through the air filter then the more likely it is that your spark plugs will break down and cause ignition problems. A dirty air filter has several symptoms such as a decrease in engine performance, a decrease in fuel economy, an ignition fault, black exhaust smoke and even illumination of your engine control light. Air filters are simple components that play a vital role in ensuring that your engine can use clean air to operate optimally. Therefore for optimal and safe performance of your engine be sure to treat dirty air filter symptoms right away and always have a clean air filter in place.

Gina Vuoso
Gina Vuoso

Award-winning music fan. Amateur twitter scholar. Hipster-friendly foodaholic. Hipster-friendly music advocate. Total twitter fan.