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How To Change The Air Filters In Your Vehicle

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Your vehicle has two air filters, one to clean the air that you breathe and the other to clean the air that your engine needs for peak performance. This is especially true under adverse conditions such as the presence of road salt on winter roads as it dries and blows into your air filters, clogging them and severely limiting their effectiveness.

You can change your own air filters with a minimal amount of skill and no specialized tools. Here's all you need to do.

Changing your engine air filter

Your engine's air filter keeps contaminants from interfering with the intake of the oxygen that is essential for combustion. A dirty air filter will inhibit the flow of oxygen, forcing the engine to use more fuel, while a completely clogged filter can cause the engine to stop running.

Engine air filters are specific to the year, manufacturer, and model of a vehicle. While some filters are compatible with several vehicles, the filter you choose must match your vehicle.

You can find the correct filter by inspecting the parts manual in the filter section of a auto parts or discount store, or by entering the specifics of your vehicle on an online retailer's website.

Newer vehicles

New vehicles are flat and rectangular in shape, and are installed in a rectangular filter cartridge beside your vehicle's engine. This cartridge will have a removable top held in place by side clips that are simply pulled away from the top. When the top is removed, lift out the old filter, install the new filter, and replace the top.

Older vehicles with a round ring filter

If your vehicle needs a round ring type filter, you will find it's housing atop your engine in a round metal container with a wing nut on top. Unscrew the wing nut, lift off the round top, install the new filter, and replace the top and wing nut.

Changing your cabin air filter

The cabin air filter cleans the air that comes through your ventilation system and into the seating area of your vehicle. Replacing this filter requires a little more effort, and sometimes a little bit of contortionist skills. If it is not readily observed under your hood as a rectangular cartridge placed along the air intake line, it is likely inside the vehicle.

You will find the housing for the cabin filter behind your glove box  on the right side of your dash. To access it, open the glove box and remove anything that you don't want to fall onto the floor, then pull the retaining arm on the right side of the glove box away from the pin that holds it. Be careful, because the glove box will now drop and spill anything inside it.

Beyond the dropped glove box, you will see a rectangular face plate held in place by latches, move the latches and remove the face plate, slide out the old filter and replace it with the new filter. replace the face plate and latches, then slip the retaining arm of the glove box back onto the pin while holding up the glove box.

You may need to use a screwdriver or another narrow tool to push the arm back onto the pin, because it is on the side of the glove box and difficult to reach without contorting your body and hands to reach it.

After your filters are installed, both you and your engine will breathe easier for awhile. For more information like AutoMedics.