Air is one of the most important components in the combustion process, which is why your air filters are crucial for the overall health and functionality of your engine. These filters are used as protection against dirt, dust and debris such as leaves. Unfortunately, this means that, over the course of time, they got damaged or clogged on their own. So, in order to keep them effective for as long as possible, you need to learn how to properly handle their maintenance. Here are several useful tips to help you out.
1. Check them on a regular basis
The first thing you need to understand is the fact that no guide is 100 percent fool-proof when it comes to the state of your filters. Sure, some are better made than others but there is also the issue of road condition and surroundings. There are parts of the year where dust or leaves are more likely to just float around. Then, during winter, you also have the salt to worry about. Overall, the only way to tell for sure is to visually inspect them. How often are you supposed to do this, well, it’s all up to you to decide.
2. Replace them when needed
While we’re talking about the maintenance, you cannot prolong the useful life of your air filter indefinitely. This is why the majority of manufacturers recommend that you should change the air filter every 15,000 to 20,000 miles. Roughly translated, this is a replacement that you have to make once per year. Once again, these things are quite subjective and if upon closer inspection, you decide that the filter is in a worse condition than expected, a more frequent replacement is also a good idea.
3. Buy your own filters
Another thing you need to understand is that the quality of filters determines their performance and their longevity. You see, sometimes the price is not an issue. Sometimes, just knowing that you have the best of the best and that this purchase ensures that you won’t have to worry about filter replacement for a longer period of time is more important. For instance, by purchasing quality K&N filters, you are achieving exactly this. Also, entrusting this purchase to a mechanic may end up more expensive and may not yield nearly as great results.
4. Cleaning the filter
Speaking of maintenance, learning how to properly clean air filters is an important issue. Each of the elements needs to be cleansed with a cleaning solvent. Usually, warm soapy water will do the trick. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that some parts of the filter are made of metal, which is why you need to ensure that all the water and soap are cleaned out. This way, you get to avoid any corrosion left on the filter. While cleaning, make sure to look for cracks and scratches. This is an extra step of inspection that will give you a better idea of what you’re dealing with.
5. Oil everything up
Once the filter is dry (completely dry), you should start oiling them in order to ensure that the system as a whole functions as intended. If the filter is not completely dry, the oil may trap some of the foam in the filter, which will only facilitate the process of corrosion. With a bit of extra patience and care, you can easily avoid this nightmare scenario and ensure that everything runs like a well-oiled (pun intended) machine.
6. Keep an ear out for stolen engine power
There’s an estimate that a dirty air filter may rob your engine of about 10 percent of its power. This is far from insignificant and it’s something that you might notice if you drive carefully and keep your ears open. You see, since filter examination, cleaning and replacement are simple and inexpensive, it’s definitely not worth your while to suffer from a limited capacity engine. So, as soon as you notice a problem, assume that there’s an issue with the engine and take the car to a mechanic. It is that simple.
Being a car owner is a great responsibility and maintenance is just one of its aspects. The biggest problem with air filters lies in the fact that it’s never the first thing that people think of when it comes to car maintenance. Still, the problem caused by this can become quite significant. Seeing as how easy and inexpensive it is to notice the problem in time and remedy it, this is really not something that you should put up with. Maintaining air filters is a simple task and it is something that should be done regularly.