If the air filter in your car gets clogged, this can have a negative impact on your car’s performance and functionality.

To experience better engine performance and save money on fuel, replacing the air filter when needed is always worth doing.

Read on and find out what an air filter is, what it does, and how often to replace it.


What Is a Car Air Filter?

The air filter in your car filters out dirt and other particles that could cause damage to the engine.

It is part of your car's engine air inlet system. 


What Does an Air Filter Do in a Car?

The air filter in a car is designed to make sure that only clean air enters the engine, and ensures that the optimal amount of clean air mixes with your fuel.

It filters fresh air from outside, before the air can be circulated through your car's engine air inlet system and into the engine. 

By cleaning the air coming into the cabin, the air filter can protect you from dust particles, mould spores and other allergens. 


Where Is It Located?

Some air filters are located in the engine bay, which can require more time, effort and equipment to access.

If you cannot locate your car’s air filter, you should have your vehicle looked at by a professional mechanic who will replace the air filter for you.

When you book a full car service through BookMyGarage, the air filter will be replaced.


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Are Air Filters and Cabin Air Filters the Same?

Whilst air filters and cabin air filters are similar - they both purify the air - they each serve a different purpose. 

Air filters clean the air that flows to your engine, while cabin air filters decontaminate air that flows into the cockpit.


How Often Should You Replace the Air Filter?

Most manufacturers recommend that you have your air filter replaced during a full car service each year, or every 12,000 to 15,000 miles – whichever comes first.

If the air filter is visibly dirty, then it is a good idea to have it replaced to keep your engine running smoothly.


What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Air Filter?

You may wish to replace your car's air filter more often if any of the following are true for your vehicle:

  • You tend to drive on dirt roads
  • You notice dirt or debris in the filter
  • You experience rough idling
  • Acceleration is sluggish
  • The engine stalls frequently
  • Black exhaust smoke
  • Decreased fuel economy

It could be time to change your car's air filter if the check engine light is illuminated, too. 


What Types of Car Filters Are There?

Pollen Filter

Also known as a cabin filter, a pollen filter cleans the air that enters your car’s interior through the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HCAV).

It is located inside the passenger compartment, often behind the glove compartment.

Timely cabin filter replacements can increase the lifespan of your car’s A/C heating system and help you avoid safety and visibility issues.


Oil Filter

An oil filter removes potential contaminants of engine oil, like air, water, fuel and soot.

Oil filters are usually mounted on the engine block.

You should change your oil filter when necessary to reduce engine wear and avoid soiling any new oil.


Fuel Filter

A fuel filter cleans the fuel before it reaches the engine, stopping dirt and debris from damaging the fuel injection system.

Fuel filters are located in the fuel line – in the engine compartment or along the chassis.

Fuel filters play a vital role in maintaining the performance and longevity of your engine.

You should change your fuel filter when needed to maintain engine performance and keep your car’s vital components in good condition.


Can I Change an Air Filter Myself?

Unless you are a professional mechanic, we would strongly advise that you do not carry out an air filter change yourself.

You could end up spending more to fix the job if you don't do it right. 

To change your air filter, you will first need to buy the right replacement air filter for your vehicle’s make and model.

You can buy car air filters at most car parts shops.

The air filter is usually located near the engine.

Open the bonnet to find the housing – it should be a black box with a large hose coming out of it.

You can then open the air filter housing to remove the filter.

The fastening can vary depending on the make and model, so make sure you use the right tool to remove it.

Once the old filter is removed, you can use a clean cloth and a portable vacuum cleaner to remove any dust or dirt from inside the housing.

Fit the new air filter once the housing is clean – taking care to follow the instructions as you do so – and refit the filter cover.


What Does an Air Filter Replacement Involve?

A professional mechanic can carry out an air filter replacement for you as part of a full car service.

If a mechanic does this for you, they will first inspect the air filter and the air inlet system. 

The mechanic can then replace the air filter element, and advise you further if any other parts need to be replaced. 

Lastly, the mechanic will run the engine and can test drive the car if necessary.

An air filter change can take less than an hour to carry out.


Simply enter your vehicle reg and postcode into the booking tool below to book a full service and ensure your car's air filter is working well today. 


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