Fuel Economy Checklist | Change The Air Filter
Easy And Inexpensive DIY
Your automobile's internal combustion engine relies on a the perfect mixture of air and fuel to keep the pistons firing at top efficiency. If one of those two elements are out of sync the performance of your engine is compromised. Lack of fuel will stop the engine completely because there is nothing to burn, just as a lack of air would create a fuel mixture that is to rich (to much fuel).
A dirty or partially clogged air filter can severely affect your fuel economy by reducing the amount of air that is introduced into the piston chamber.
You can easily change the air filter yourself. I own a Nissan Versa. I brought my Versa in for a routine oil change and I was told that my air filter needed changing. They offered to do it for $40.
I politely declined their offer and decided to do it myself.
I drove on over to my auto parts retailer and got the air filter for my car's year and model. It only cost me a measly $10. I was also able to change the filter in the parking lot, It actually took me longer to find the release latch of the hood than it was to change the filter!
I spent a grand total of $10 and two minutes to do something that the garage would have charged me $40! That's a huge savings, almost a whole tank of gas worth!
A dirty air filter can cause a whole host of problems other than bad fuel economy and low power. Left unchecked long enough dust and dirt will get through the overly dirty filter and enter the engine. When this happens the first stop along the way is the Mass Air Flow sensor, or MAF sensor. The MAF sensor senses how much air is entering the engine's throttle body and adjusts the amount of fuel to send to the pistons. Dust and dirt accumulates on this sensor and cause an inaccurate reading of the airflow going into the engine resulting in a bad air/fuel mixture.
The MAF sensor is easily cleaned, however if dirt and dust continue to infiltrate deeper into your engine you can eventually be plagued with bad engine seals, leading to oil leaks and burning oil. Save yourself the hassle and keep up with your basic car maintenance, it's cheap and easy!
Pay A Little Now, Or Pay A Lot Later
I was talking to a mechanic friend of mine and he presented me with an interesting logic.
He told me that the relatively small cost of maintenance now will avoid the higher cost of major trouble in the future. He often sees clients with major engine failure due to a lack want to spend money on things like routine oil and filter changes.
It's never fun being told you need a new engine, they are not cheap and you'd be out of a car for a few weeks, even longer if you can't cough up the $2,000 to $5,000 required for the fix.
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Don't panic! Finding the source of the problem yourself could save you hundreds of dollars!