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How to Change an Air Filter on a Car or Truck

Purpose of an air filter

One of the most critical components to a vehicle’s performance is the air quality being inducted into the engine. Oxygen is sucked into the motor which passes through your air filter. Just as your filter for your a/c unit in your house gets dirty, so does your car. The air is mixed with fuel in the combustion chamber and ignited by the spark plugs. Your motor works harder when things get dirty. This in turn, lowers your gas mileage. By staying on top of your car’s preventative maintenance, you can keep your gas mileage up and save some money at the pump.

1. Locate your air filter. Most car’s have two air filters; one filters the air coming into the engine, the other filters air that circulates through your a/c (also known as a cabin air filter). This article is strictly for the engine air filter. These come in different shapes and sizes, some are boxed in, others more open. If you are unsure where your air filter is located please contact your local auto parts store for help.

Purpose of an air filter

2. Depending on make an model of your vehicle, your air filter housing might be secured by screws or clamps. Use the proper tools to remove the housing so don’t cause any unnecessary damage. Generally, there are four or more screws and/or clamps connected on the perimeter of the housing. Do not remove the entire housing, just the top half. The MAF sensor (on fuel injected vehicles) is located close to the air filter housing and you don’t want to damage that. Once you have the proper tools to remove the housing, take the air filter out of the housing.

3. Check to see how clean or dirty the filter is. Generally, look in between the fins of the filter for dirt and build up. Go with your instinct, if it looks dirty to you, it probably is.

4. Install the new filter the same way the old came out. Don’t force it, it should fit perfectly. If it doesn’t, you might have the wrong filter size or you put it in the wrong way.

5. After the filter is installed, close the box the same way you took it off. Sometimes the housing screws/clamps can be very difficult to gain access so be careful not to damage anything else in the process.

That’s it! You’ve changed your own air filter!

Terry V Williams

Terry V. Williams is a professional writer who lives in Seward with his family and two cats. He earned M.Ed at Concordia University. He built his career as a freelancer in digital marketing. He proved that any one can make his career in digital marketing and earn a lot. His passions for gardening, and home improvement contribute to his wide knowledge of all things garden and home accessories. Throughout his career, Williams has gained experience in recreational planning, natural landscaping, estate landscaping.