CAR CARE TIPS—AIR FILTER MAINTENANCE

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Air filter replacement. You need clean air to breathe and so does your car. A vehicle’s air filter makes that possible. Air filters are your vehicle’s first line of defense against contaminants that reduce cabin air quality and negatively impact engine performance. Community car care events reveal that nearly one out of five vehicles is in need of an air filter replacement. 


The vehicle’s engine air filter traps dirt particles that can cause damage to engine cylinders, cylinder walls, pistons, piston rings and bearings, leading to loss of engine power. It also keeps pollutants from contaminating the airflow sensor on fuel-injected engines. Air filters should be inspected at each oil change and replaced as recommended in your owner’s manual or when they’re heavily contaminated. 


The cabin air filter cleans the air entering the passenger compartment. It helps trap pollen, bacteria, dust and exhaust gases that may find their way into a vehicle’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning or H-VAC system. Airborne contaminants can compromise the interior air quality and damage the system. Most cabin air filters are accessed though a panel in the H-VAC housing, which may be under the hood or inside the vehicle. A cabin air filter should not be cleaned or reinstalled. Instead, it should be replaced per the owner’s manual or if an inspection reveals it’s heavily contaminated. Inspect your filters and, if needed, replace them while you wait. 


For a free copy of the Car Care Council’s Car Care guide, visit car-care--dot--org.