Have you ever taken your car for an oil change and come out with a new air filter? Probably the most asked question I get when I take my car in for service. “Ma’am, your vehicle looks great, but one thing I think you should consider is changing your air filter.” And after I take a look and notice no wreckage, I advise them to take another look and I never return.
I hate when mechanics offer me pointless “advice” for money. Luckily for them I know cars, so not much gets by, but I am human, and sometimes I make the mistake of saying, “Oh you’re right, let’s change that.”
The truth is, a car air filter is necessary, and yes you do need to replace it eventually, but not as often as you think. We continue our discussion on How To Make Your Car Last Longer. Starting with motor oil, and moving on to the air filter.
Your Car Air Filter: How Often Do You Check It?
How To Make Your Car Last Longer Series
Your car air filter collects dust, debris, dirt and all things nasty from getting into your engine cylinders. Changing it for optimal vehicle performance is important. A lot of experts recommend a filter change every 15,000-30,000 miles; however that depends on where you drive.
If the majority of your time driving is near dusty areas like deserts, beaches, or muddy locations, then all that debris will be collected more often; thus, you should probably change your air filter around the 15,000 mile-mark. If you drive on highway or city roads, then I would lean towards the 30,000 mile-mark.
The cost to change a filter is anywhere from $20 to $50, which is why mechanics offer to change it too often. Extra cash in their pockets! Therefore, if you are directed to change your air filter, look at it first! If you can still see through the filters clearly, or they have a slight amount of debris, then you can wait to change it.
When you notice a lot of gunk, so much that if you shine a light through you can barely see it at the other end, it is time to replace them. Not changing it will shorten your engine life and affect fuel economy.
My opinion. You need to change your air filter eventually, but I recommend changing it around 3 years, or 30,000 miles. Again, if you take it off roading a lot, or on the beach I would take that down to around 20,000 miles. It will make your car last longer if you change it accordingly, but do not get ripped off by mechanics and change it every oil change or inspection.
Up next on How To Make Your Car Last Longer, we talk engine coolant. Stay tuned!