How to Change an Air Filter

Please change your engine air filter yourself.  It will save you money at the mechanic and if I can do it, you can do it!  Unless you have a certain year Ford Fucus with a terribly difficult filter to get change, chances are it’s a job that can be done in under 5 minutes and many times doesn’t even need tools!

The engine air filter in your car plays a HUGELY important role for your car.  Your engine needs air to run, but if that air contains even the tiniest particles it could quickly lead to permanent (and expensive) engine damage. You wouldn’t last very long in a sand storm without something covering your mouth and your car’s engine wouldn’t last on a dirt road without a good air filter.  Besides filter out dust stand and who knows what else, your engine’s air filter is also designed to help keep moisture out of your engine that may have made its way into your engine compartment.  Some engine air filters serve this purpose while other vehicles accomplish this with baffles in the air induction track.

Since having a good air filter is so important, let’s talk about your different options for engine air filters:

  • fiber panel filter
  • Oiled filter
  • Cone filter
  • Cold Air intake

Most vehicles are equipped with some type of fiber panel filter as stock equipment.  These filters are relatively inexpensive and do a good job cleaning air.  They also tend to help quiet down your intake track making your engine run quieter.  The drawbacks are that these filters can be restrictive robbing your engine of power and efficiency and they can take up a lot of room in your engine bay.

Oiled filters can come in all shapes and sizes and are used to increase efficiency in an engine.  An oiled air filter, like a K&N filter, has larger holes in its filter mesh which makes it easier for air to flow through the filter.  The filters are then covered with a fine mist of oil which helps trap dirt and dust before it can slip through the filter.  These filters often last for the life of the vehicle but must be cleaned and re-oiled on a regular basis.

Cone filters are often used to increase filtering surface area while not taking up lots of room in the engine bay.  These filters can be oiled or dry and constructed from paper, fiber, or foam.  These are a great option both to increase efficiency and to make more room in your engine bay.

A cold air intake isn’t necessarily a filter, but we thought it was worth mentioning here for those of you looking for a little more performance from your vehicle.  A cold air intake is usually a combination of intake track piping as well as a high-efficiency filter.  The new intake piping usually smooths out the intake track removing any accordion-style hosing or resonators while simultaneously placing the air filter in a location that will allow access to cold air from outside the engine compartment.  Cold air is denser so it can combust with more fuel creating more power from your engine at any given point and is a great performance upgrade for any vehicle.

Once you’ve decided on the right filter for your car, take another look at the video above for notes on how to change an air filter in your car!

pictures provided by:

engine_air_filter.jpg – By Joebelanger – Licensed by Getty Images – Original Link