The air which enters your engine flows via the air filter. The filter captures sand and other debris to protect your engine and help it last longer. Based on driving conditions, the engine gas filter should be removed between 15,000 and 30,000 miles. If you have a turbocharged engine or often drive on unpaved roads, it needs to be changed more often than not. If you don't drive a lot, the air filter should be replaced at least every 3 years as it becomes fragile with age. An old filter can break, allowing dirt and sand to reach the engine. Inside the air filter box, an air filter is installed. It's made of paper-like, pleated content. The air flows from the bottom up, so the dirt and the larger objects are trapped in the filter box.
As the air filter gets dirty and slowly closes, it limits the air flow to the engine. It adds pressure to your engine, making it more difficult for it to "breathe." Due to increased vacuum, some dust particles could be sucked through the filter and damage the engine pistons and cylinder walls. For the same reason, the engine may start to consume more oil.
Symptoms of a dirty air filter include a lack of power on hard acceleration and higher RPMs, although it is not always noticeable. Dirty vs Clean Air Filter Clean vs Dust Air Filter. See the following illustrations: Fig1. Fig2. The fuel economy may also be affected, albeit not by much. In extreme cases, the "Check Engine" warning light may be illuminated on the dash.
During your regular oil changes, an air filter is examined. Your mechanic will check your condition and let you know if it needs to be replaced. Most mechanics are checking the condition of the air filter by looking at the light source through the tube. If no light is apparent through the tube, the filter must be replaced.
For example, try comparing these two air filters in the picture below. The filter on the left was changed a while back, but the owner of this drives more quite often. Now it looks dirty, so the owner has decided to replace it again.
If you want to check it yourself the owner's manual for your car has a map of the engine compartment. In some vehicles, you will need some equipment to open an air filter box, such as an 8-mm or 10-mm socket or a screwdriver. In other vehicles, a few clips carry the cover of the air filter box. It's not a very difficult job in most cars.
When you adjust the air filter yourself, make sure it fits properly and the air box closes securely after the job is done. If the air filter box is not properly closed, the light on the Check Engine can be turned on.
Is it important to have an air filter replaced by a dealer or can a quick lube shop do the job? Replacing an air filter is fairly easy in most cars and can be performed in any garage, but using the dealer's factory (OEM) component should ensure that it fits properly. When you opt for an aftermarket product, pay a little extra for a premium brand to boost engine safety.
Is it necessary to replace the cabin (pollen) filter when the engine air filter is replaced? It is not necessary, but if the engine air filter is dirty, the cabin filter is likely to be in the same condition.