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What Are The Signs of a Dirty Air Filter

A dirty car air filter can help keep debris and dirt out of the engine

Your car’s air filter has the job of cleaning the air as it enters the engine. The filter helps to keep debris, dirt, and bugs out of the engine as that air is brought in which can damage or affect the engine’s performance. When the air filter becomes extremely dirty or clogged, the proper amount of air will not reach your engine and therefore will begin to reduce your engine’s performance.

When do air filters need to be replaced?

Most vehicles require an air filter replacement every 10,000 miles or so. The best place to look for your specific vehicle’s recommendations is your owner’s manual. This will outline how often you need to have your air filter replaced. Also, keep in mind the climate that you drive in every day. Dusty or dirty roads driven every day may cause you to need to replace this filter more often than what is recommended, so keeping an eye on the filter’s condition is helpful.

Signs that your air filter will need to be replaced include:

    • Reduced fuel efficiency – if your engine isn’t receiving enough oxygen, it will use up more fuel to produce the amount of power necessary to run your car
    • Misfiring engine – restricted air supply can result in soot buildup on the spark plugs which can cause the engine to misfire
    • Unusual engine sounds – this can happen when the spark plugs are damaged or dirty from lack of air supply
    • Check engine light is on
    • The air filter looks clogged or dirty
    • Reduced horsepower or speed – if your engine isn’t getting enough air supply, it may not have enough power to accelerate
    • Smoke coming from the exhaust
    • The smell of gasoline inside your vehicle

While a dirty air filter can be the culprit for all of the symptoms listed above, it can also be caused by other engine issues. We recommend bringing your vehicle into one of our 5 Family Auto Service locations as soon as you notice an engine performance issue so that we can determine the cause and get you back on the road with a reliable vehicle.

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