Symptoms of a dirty Engine Air Filter
Lack of power
Come ON, Car! When you notice that things aren’t as spicy as they used to be (power-wise), it may be time to check that air filter. When engine air filters get severely clogged, they restrict air flow to the engine, stopping it from taking full, deep breaths.
Why does that matter? Well, you try going for a run without taking any full, deep breaths. How's that working out for ya?
Poor fuel economy
Time to fill up …. again? Yup, that may be a bad air filter, pal.
When your engine is starved of air, it doesn’t work as efficiently. Again, think of taking a run without any full, deep breaths. Are you going to be able to run as far on your human tank of gas? No, you’re not. And your car isn’t, either.
Being unable to operate efficiently means you need to expend more energy to do less. In the case of your car, that means using more fuel. Which means getting worse mileage. Which means spending more money at the gas tank.
And I know how much you love spending extra money.
It’s worth noting that a car’s computer can compensate for a lot when it comes to engine performance and fuel efficiency, so modern engines aren’t as susceptible to this problem as older engines are. But you’ll definitely notice a dip in fuel efficiency if you have an older car.
Visibly clogged filter
If the filter looks all gunked up, it’s time to get you a replacement. That seems simple enough, right?
Now look: I know you’re probably not spending your spare time hanging out with your air filter. So, there’s a good chance you’ll never notice a clogged filter.
But a technician will, so if you’re having your car serviced or your oil changed, a professional should easily spot an air filter that needs to be replaced.
Ahh, so close. You thought you could get through this whole article without the dreaded “scheduled maintenance” tip, and you almost did.
But here we are, with the scheduled maintenance that you pay about as much attention to as recipes and maps. Who needs them?
Well, you do. Because they help you know when it’s time to have certain services, which can save your butt and wallet down the road.
After certain intervals of distance and/or time, your manufacturer recommends changing out the air filters. So, when you reach those milestones, get those things swapped out. Seriously.