Any internal combustion engine needs air to operate. Without oxygen, gasoline and diesel fuels will not ignite and create the explosion necessary to power the engine. However, not just any air will work. The air must be clean before getting sucked into the engine’s intake and combustion chambers. Imagine a cloud of dust getting sucked into your engine – say you’re driving through a sandstorm – or driving through rain and having water get sucked into your intake. Not only will the fuel have problems igniting, but there will almost certainly be damage to your engine’s internal Components. Dust, dirt, and debris can quickly pollute an engine, causing poor performance and shorting your engine’s life span. Foreign particles become abrasive to the metal parts inside of an engine, causing wear to the cylinders, piston rings, gaskets, and other parts.
Modern engines also are programmed to run most smoothly on a precise ratio of air to fuel, and deviating from this ratio will put added strain on your engine.
Fortunately, we have air filters which allow just the right amount of air into our vehicle’s intake, while filtering out the dust and debris that would damage our engine. But even the best air filters will only last so long, being driven through dirty air every day.
So how do you, the car owner, know when it is time to change your air filter?
As with many car parts, that depends on how often and how hard the car is driven, and under what conditions. If you live somewhere with a lot of sandstorms or smog, then more frequent air filter replacements will be necessary. On the other hand, if you live somewhere where the air is clean and the water is clear, and only drive your car occasionally, then you will need to replace your air filter much less frequently.
Some experts recommend that you change your air filter every time you change your oil, while others say that is way too excessive. As with most parts, your owner’s manual should have a suggested maintenance schedule. However, if you live somewhere with a lot of pollution, you may need to change it more frequently. It is smart to get your air filter at least inspected every time you change your oil, and changed if necessary.
If you neglect changing your air filter for too long, you may see a noticeable decrease in fuel economy, performance, and possible damage to other Components such as your spark plugs from the dirty air entering your combustion chamber.
We here at Orozco’s Auto Service in Long Beach will be happy to take a look at your air filter for you, and change it if necessary. If you think you may need to replace your air filter soon, we will be happy to help inspect it for you. Call our certified mechanics today at (562)-427-4256! Orozco’s Auto Service is the most trusted shop in Long Beach.