All cars need to combust petrol to work, and every professional auto mechanic knows that this process requires three critical things: an ignition source, fuel, and air. In engines, this is often supplied by a spark plug, petrol or other fuel sources, and the air drawn via the air filter.
Your air filter is critical because it ensures that no muck or dirt particles enter the piston chambers of your vehicle. However, it would be best if you kept in mind that all this filth ends up stuck to the air filter, which, with time, results in reduced efficiency. You must replace your air filter after every 12,000 to 15,000 miles (or sooner if you live in a dusty area).
How does an air filter work?
Do you know that your engine requires around 10,000 liters of air to combust one liter of petrol? That is a lot of oxygen! An air filter is designed to stop dirt and muck while still allowing clean, good air to enter the engine, which combusts the fuel before being expelled through the exhaust system. An air filter will catch everything from small pieces of debris to small insects or large pollen. All in all, you can rely on your air filter to capture anything and everything that is not good for your engine.
Signs that suggest you need to replace your air filter
It would help if you looked for the following symptoms to determine whether it is time to inspect the air filter further. If you notice these issues, you will be able to nail the cause a whole lot faster.
Dirty spark plugs
If all the petrol inside the piston does not combust appropriately due to lack of airflow from a clogged air filter, it will burn with a sooty black flame. You should be able to see the result of this issue all over your spark plugs in the form of dirty marks.
Reduced fuel efficiency
By now, you already know that the engine requires a lot of air to burn fuel efficiently. If your vehicle’s air filter is full of dust and lets less air through, the overall energy from the fuel will be proportionally reduced, meaning it will need more squeeze for the same juice. If your vehicle seems to be doing fewer miles per gallon, you need to check your air filters immediately.
Strange Sounds from the engine
Like how people wheeze and gasp for breath when they have a terrible cold, and your lungs start to bung up, your vehicle’s engine may make its own unusual noise when deprived of the necessary air to function adequately. It would help if you kept your ear open for any coughing or popping sounds accompanied by vibrations in your vehicle. As you clear your throat when you have a cold, you need to inspect your air filter to see if you can find any blockage.
The check engine light
The check engine light of your vehicle may illuminate for several different reasons. If your vehicle’s air filter is clogged, then deposits of soot may trigger the system to turn on the check engine light. When you bring your car over to Express Auto Care professionals, we will check your vehicle’s diagnostic code and let you know if you need to have your air filter changed.
Another symptom of a vehicle’s engine struggling for air can be seen when you hit the accelerator. If you notice that your car jolts forward and is not moving as smoothly as it should, it suggests that you need to inspect your air filter further to check if there is an excessive buildup of dirt.
The smell of fuel when starting the vehicle.
Do you remember how we told you about the spark plugs getting dirty? That same rich fuel mixture is a real sign that suggests you have a blocked air filter. If you smell fuel when you start your vehicle, it may be coming from any unburned fuel left in the pistons. If this is the case, you need to inspect the filter to confirm your suspicions.
Dirty air filter
If you have experienced a combination of the symptoms that suggest you have a clogged air filter, it is time for you to look at the part itself. You cannot miss the dirt from the outside of a clogged air filter. Ideally, new air filters are cream, white, or off-white grayish. However, sometimes there could be a lot of buildup in the air filter paper, which may require a professional mechanic to review the part for you and confirm if it’s functional at the necessary level or not.
Find out more about your air filter today!
If you wish to find out more about your air filter or require a new air filter for your vehicle, you need to contact Express Auto Care right away. Our professional mechanics have years of experience and training which enables them to provide you with the best auto mechanic services across Irving, TX. Always keep in mind that a faulty air filter can result in severe issues with your car, which is why we always suggest you get your dirty air filters changed as soon as you notice any one or a combination of these signs. Give us a call at (972) 636-4903 or contact us online right away to have your vehicle professionally inspected.