Change your own engine air filter
Many people are intimidated about doing their own car repairs. Most of the fear stems from lack of understanding about how their car operates and what it really takes to make the repair. For complex repairs, you may lack the knowledge, skill or tools to make the repair on your own. However, some simple auto maintenance, such as changing your own air filter, is well within reach of nearly any car owner.
First, how do you know you need a new air filter? Typically, you’ll find out when something goes, wrong when it’s listed in your car’s maintenance schedule or when the friendly oil change folks try to sell you an overpriced filter. You can usually check to see condition visually — a filter will look dirty even when fairly new, but if you look deep into the pleats, you’ll get a good sense if it is mostly surface grime or if the filter is full.
A clogged filter can rob your engine of horsepower and gas mileage, so you want to replace a clogged filter as soon as you can. Never operate the car without a filter installed. Most vehicles recommend replacing the filter ever 1-2 years or 12,000-20,000 miles.
- A new replacement air filter that fits your specific make and model
- socket set or wrench
- screwdriver (depending on your specific air filter housing)
How does it work?
- Start with your car parked and turned off. Prop open the hood and locate the air filter housing. This is typically a black plastic box located to the side or behind the engine.
- Consult your car’s manual or internet resources for specific instructions on opening the air filter housing. typically there are series of metal clips around the two halves of the housing and sometimes a bolt that must be removed to open the housing.
- Once the clips and bolts are removed, slide the housing cover off and remove the old filter. Inspect the filter for condition and if needed, replace.
- You should also clean the air filter housing while you’re in to make sure any debris isn’t sucked into the engine where it could cause damage.
- With the replacement filter installed, close the housing back up and replace the clips/bolts holding the housing together.
- Start your car and go for a test drive. If you hear loud roar or see a check engine light, stop and check that the housing is closed tightly together.
That’s all there is to it, you’ve now replaced your own car air filter and saved yourself money by doing it yourself.
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