How Often Should You Change the Filter in Your Car?

You should check your car's air filter once a year. Many people choose to replace it at this time, but some mechanics suggest that it can last between 15,000 and 30,000 miles. Depending on how much you drive, you may not reach those numbers in a year. Even so, it's important to take the time to inspect your air filter annually.

If the filter looks dirty, it's time to change it. Don't try to clean the filter and reuse it. A new air filter is the best way to ensure that your vehicle runs optimally and stays in top condition. The easiest way to know for sure how often to change your engine air filter is to consult the owner's manual or search online for the manufacturer's recommended service interval. The air filter helps prevent debris such as dirt, leaves and dust from entering the engine.

When the engine air filter is dirty, air can't pass through the filter to the engine, which affects the car's entire emission control system. To find out where the filter is located, you'll need to consult the owner's manual and locate the box where it is stored. This is common if you drive on dusty roads or live in an area with higher levels of air pollutants, such as pollen. Changing the air filter in your car or truck regularly is an economical way to make sure your driving experience is more pleasant and that your vehicle lasts longer and performs better. If you've recently noticed that you need to fill up your gas tank more often than usual, it's probably time to check your air filter.

It's not just about bad odors; if not replaced in time, a faulty filter can damage your vehicle. Most car models manufactured after 2000 are equipped with cabin air filters (and some luxury models even have more than one); however, older models may not have them at all. If the air conditioner blows weakly even with the highest fan setting, the filter may be clogged. Once you know where the cabin air filter is located, it's important to change it regularly so that you and your passengers can breathe clean, residue-free air every time you get into your vehicle. The idea of having a cabin air filter is to protect car occupants from particles and odors outside the car before they start seeping into the vehicle; however, once this happens, the filter has lost its effectiveness. Some luxury brands charge more for their parts and require that you only buy cabin air filters from their brand; others suggest that you can buy a generic cabin air filter at your local automotive store.

The good news is that the air filters on most engines are easy to access and you can check their location in your owner's manual if you need help. You can visually inspect the engine air filter to see if it looks dirty or if it is full of debris.

Doug Bundley
Doug Bundley

Professional coffee aficionado. General web specialist. Avid internet guru. Subtly charming beer nerd. Infuriatingly humble bacon specialist. Hardcore web evangelist.

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