Do You Need a New Air Filter? Here's How to Tell

Your car's performance is suffering. You're paying more at the gas station. You smell gasoline when you start your car. Flames or black smoke come from the exhaust pipe.

The Check Engine light is on. When you step on the accelerator pedal, the car moves forward but not as smoothly as usual. These are all signs that your engine is having trouble breathing and that you should check the air filter for dirt buildup. The most obvious sign that you need a new air filter is if the one you have is gray and dirty. To prevent any issues, it's best to take out the air filter and inspect it every two months.

If it looks dusty or dirty, replace it right away. Don't underestimate the power of a new air filter - it's essential for your car's health. Most owner's manuals recommend changing the air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. You can have your Sugar House tire shop technician do the job while your tires rotate and keep your care running at its best. No car is exempt from potential damage caused by a dirty air filter, so make sure to replace this key component of the air intake system regularly. The air filter traps everything from small pieces of mud and debris that come off the road surface, to small insects or large chunks of pollen.

In engines, this is supplied by gasoline, diesel or other fuel source, spark plugs, and air passes through the air filter, ensuring that dirt and dirt do not enter the piston chambers. Not only can a dirty air filter make you sick, but clean air has been proven to improve physical and mental health. When the engine air filter is dirty, air cannot pass through the filter to the engine, affecting the car's entire emission control system. A clogged air filter will cause your HVAC system to work overtime because you have to use more force to push the same amount of air through the filter. This will result in higher emissions of unburned fuel and other particulate matter in exhaust gases. Now that you know how a dirty or clogged air filter can cause problems, you'll want to change yours right away.

Just like when you have a bad cold and your lungs are stuck, an engine can make its own unusual noises when deprived of the necessary air to function properly. An air filter prevents dirt, insects, sand, particles and dust from entering the engine, giving it the air it needs to perform at its best. It would be easier to change all air filters on a set schedule, but there are many variables that affect how often a filter needs to be changed. So after 10 to 15 thousand miles, you'll have to replace the air filter (or sooner if you drive and live in very dusty areas). If you've driven more than that since the last time you changed your air filter, it's probably time to change it. A clogged air filter can also start to create pressure inside your HVAC system, which can force outside allergens into your home.

That little light tends to make people think of the worst case scenario, but it can also indicate something as simple as a dirty air filter.