Car Air Filter: How Often Should You Change It?

What’s a car air filter? No, it’s not that little green tree hanging from your rearview mirror that smells like cucumber melon. An air filter (not an air freshener) is a super important car part that keeps airborne particles from clogging up your engine and HVAC system. Without those air filters, you’d be in a world of trouble, so let’s learn more about their upkeep and maintenance. When it comes time to change a car air filter you’ll be ready!

Types of Air Filters in Cars

Engine Air Filter

The engine filter helps protect your engine from sucking up dirt and dust, bugs and the like. A dirty filter can impact the engine power and engine performance as well as your gas mileage and fuel emissions. Engine air filter replacement should occur about once a year or every 15,000 to 30,000 miles.

The engine air filter protects particles like bugs from getting into your engine.
Hey, bee. Stay out of my engine!

Cabin Air Filter

The cabin filter keeps dirt and debris from entering the air flow so that you and your passengers don’t inhale nasty stuff. Essentially, cabin air filters ensure that your air conditioning isn’t blowing polluntants and allergens in your face. The cabin air filter location varies by car make and model, but usually cabin filters can be found under the hood, under the dashboard or behind the glove compartment. You should also replace your cabin filter about once every year.

The cabin air filter ensures you can crank that AC without fear of inhaling dust and dirt.
The cabin air filter ensures you can crank that AC without fear of inhaling dust and dirt.

Fuel Filter

The fuel filter helps prevent contaminants from entering your fuel pump. It makes sure that only clean gas enters your fuel injector so that your vehicle runs smoothly. People who drive older cars should aim for replacing their fuel filter about once every two years. If you’re a car owner who drives a newer model vehicle, you can go longer without replacing your filter, but be sure to check with your mechanic or consult your vehicle owner manual.

The fuel filter ensures you only have clean gas going into your vehicle.
Clean gas only, please.

Oil Filter

The oil filter removes impurities from the oil that goes into your car. You should consider changing the oil filter every other time you change oil, if not every time.

Have a mechanic check your oil filter when you get an oil change.
Have a mechanic check your oil filter when you get an oil change.

Replacing a Dirty Air Filter

Most car owners get their air filters checked when they go to get an oil change or have other car maintenance done. You can easily schedule an appointment at any auto repair shop, such as Jiffy Lube or Firestone Complete Auto Care. Make sure you keep track of every time you get a new filter so that you’re not accidentally replacing your air filters too often and spending money when you don’t have to.

Now that you know when to replace the air filters in your car, your next trip to the auto repair shop should be much easier!