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Changing Your Vehicles Air Filter

Updated on March 9, 2011

Why Change It

Why do i need to change my vehicle's air filter you might ask,well not only will i tell you why you need to change it regularly but also how to change it as it is most often a very simple job that could be carried out by yourself in a matter of minutes with very few tools and just a little mechanical know how.But firstly why do you Need to change it and how often do you need to change it.A car needs three things to be able to function correctly (actually it needs more but for this purpose only three) It needs Fuel, Air and a spark these are the three things that combust to give your car power,now you don't need to be a mechanical engineer to realise where the fuel comes from but where does the air come from,well very simply from the air we breathe but you can just stick a big hole from the outside of the car to the engine so we need pipes to filter the air into the engine and we also cant risk any little particles getting into the engine that could risk damaging it so we need to filter the air and that is what the air filter does.

Clogged Up

Now what the air filter does when it is clean is quite easy all it does is filter,but when it is clogged is when it actually does more things but none of them are good,firstly a blocked air filter will increase your fuel consumption because vehicles need a certain ratio of fuel to air and if it doesn't get it then the vehicle alters the amount of the one substance it is getting to make up for it so if you have little air getting into the engine then the vehicle will increase fuel to compensate.Because your not getting the right ratio of fuel to air you are also robbed of power so your vehicle may feel a little sluggish pulling away from the lights.Not only this but because your vehicle is putting to much fuel in this will in itself cause the spark plugs to foul and become contaminated which will cause poor running,As you can see not changing it reguarly can cause quite a few problems,i suggest changing it once a year or more if you live in a very dirty area.

Tools

To be honest you are not going to need a whole bunch of tools to do this job and they do vary depending on what type of security the air filter housing has,so i would recommend that at the very least you have a Phillips head screwdriver and a flat head screwdriver as well as 7mm socket and ratchet and possibly even some side-cutters to remove pipes but this is very rare.

How To Change It

Now all vehicles are different so they will all be housed in a slightly different fashion, so first things first lets get that bonnet/hood open make sure that you have secured the hood up and it is not going to come crashing down on your head as believe me this hurts a lot,now you are going to be looking for a black plastic box as this is the air filter housing and is virtually the same on any model of vehicle,it Will have at least one possibly several rubber or plastic hoses coming out of it and will be on one of the two sides of the engine bay,if it is in the middle it will be at the back and slightly obscuring the engine.Once you have located it have a look and see how it comes apart,usually the top half will come off leaving the filter in sight,they are mostly either metal clips that simply push off or Phillips screws,once you have removed it simply pull the air filter out and clean out any debris you may find in the bottom of the housing,place your new air filter inside making sure it is positioned right and wont get trapped by the lid,replace the lid and screw tight,make sure that you haven't pulled any hoses out and everything is as it was when you found it,Start the vehicle and make sure it sounds right,congratulations you have just fitted your first air filter and saved yourself time and money.

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