What are the Consequences of Driving with a Dirty Air Filter?

A dirty air filter can have serious consequences for your car's performance. It decreases the amount of air supplied to the engine, resulting in an increase in unburned fuel that becomes soot residue. This soot can build up on the tips of the spark plugs, making them unable to produce a proper spark. As a result, the car may move abruptly, idle, and in some cases, the engine may fail.

Engine misfires, rough idling, and hard starts can all be attributed to a clogged engine air filter. Most automotive companies recommend changing the air filter every 10,000 to 15,000 miles or every 12 months. However, if you normally drive in dusty or rural areas such as Scottsdale, Arizona or San Antonio, Texas, it's a good idea to have your mechanic check and change it more often, for example, every 6,000 miles. Driving in busy areas where there is a lot of traffic, including Los Angeles and Washington DC, can also require you to replace the air cleaner more often.

Most vehicles also have a cabin air filter that is used to clean the air entering the interior of the car, but it has a different maintenance program than an engine air filter. At worst, a faulty air filter can create slow driving performance in a modern car. If you have a clogged air filter, one of the symptoms you would experience is a reduction in engine performance. It is one of the telltale signs, since the restriction in airflow forces the entire engine to run at low power to maintain the stoichiometric fuel ratio.

If you see black smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, ask the mechanic to change or clean the air filter. Over time, the engine air filter can become dirty and lose its ability to filter air entering the engine. If you drive an older carburettor vehicle, a drop in fuel economy is a common sign that the air filter is dirty. If it seems that your vehicle is slow to respond when you press the accelerator, this may be an indication that the engine is not getting enough clean air. Every car engine has a combustion chamber, and this chamber requires air to generate adequate power to run your car's engine.

This air reaches the engine through an air filter that works to keep out road debris, dirt, insects and other contaminants that can damage the engine. While manufacturers vary in their recommendations for how often the air filter should be changed, if you notice any of these signs that the air filter is dirty, it's time for them to inspect it. A new air filter is white or off-white, while a dirty air filter will appear darker with visible dirt and debris. Like other car maintenance services, air filter replacement costs vary depending on the model of the car and where you are looking. For everything from better mileage to basic tire repair, Madison, TN residents can trust Madison Muffler & Auto Repair for quality service.