How Long Can a Car Go Without Changing Its Air Filter?

Typically, the recommended time to change an air filter in a car is every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. However, this can vary depending on the vehicle and the conditions it is driven in. If you can't tell by looking, but it's been more than three years or 30,000 miles, it's probably time to buy a new one. In most cases, drivers should expect to spend more than a year and probably more than two years between air filter changes, depending on conditions and mileage.

It is best to change the air filter every 6,000 to 10,000 miles and ideally at the same time as changing the oil. At the very least, you should have it inspected. Certain factors can increase the frequency of filter changes. These include driving on unpaved roads, in hot climates, in high-traffic conditions or in a highly polluted environment.

The cabin air filter should also be changed periodically, but at a different time than the engine air cleaner. Replacing your engine air filter is an often overlooked maintenance item, but a dirty air filter can have a negative effect on your car's performance. This is a sign that the engine is receiving the right amount of air and oxygen, and the air filter should be checked. A dirty filter lets contaminating and allergenic particles, as well as dust, sand and other debris, enter the engine and car.

Fortunately, changing the filter is one of the simplest and most economical routine maintenance items to address. The good news is that replacing your car's cabin air filter is even easier and cheaper than changing your engine air filter. Regardless of these guidelines, because air filters can wear out at different rates, you should be aware of symptoms that indicate that the air filter is nearing the end of its useful life. If you find black areas in the section where outside air enters, it may be time to change it.

Like vehicle air filters, cabin air filters should also be changed regularly as part of routine vehicle maintenance. As a general rule of thumb, most average drivers should be able to go a year or two before needing a new air filter. In most cars, the cabin air filter is usually placed behind the glove compartment or under the dashboard.