How Often to Change Air Filter in a Car? (4 Signs)

The air filter in the car serves a very important function. It helps in delivering maximum power to your engine while keeping out any contaminants that can disrupt the smooth running of your car. In this post, we will answer the question of how often should you change the air filter in the car. We will also see how to know when your car filter needs changing and what a bad air filter can cause in your car.

How often should you change the air filter?

Well, depending on the driving conditions, we recommend that the air filter be changed between 15,000 and 30,000 miles.

If you drive on dusty roads or you have a turbocharged engine, your air filter will do more work filtering the air and will get dirty more quickly than driving on paved roads.

If you are an infrequent driver, we recommend that you change it at least once in 3 years.

You can check out your air filter yourself to see if it requires to be changed. Just by looking at it, you can reach a conclusion. Most air filters come in a white or off white color. Hence, if your air filter has black spots on the spaces through which air enters, then you might want to get a new filter.

Why should you change your air filter?

Why Should You Change Your Air Filter

There are several benefits to changing the air filter of your car. Let’s see these reasons.

  • Increases Fuel Efficiency

One of the main reasons why you should change your air filter is to improve the fuel efficiency. According to research, replacing your dirty or bad air filter will increase fuel mileage, especially on vehicles that use carburetors.

Additionally, if your air filter is changed, it can improve acceleration speed by up to 11 percent on newer models.

Although studies are not completely in agreement about just how much it improves fuel efficiency, the bottom line is that it definitely improves fuel efficiency.

  • It reduces emissions

If you have a dirty air filter, it will reduce the amount of air that is sent to the car engine. And just as an organism without air, a lack of air in the air will result in choking, which will make it develop spark ignition problems and other complications that will result in the ability to drive efficiently.

This blockage can result in more deposits in the engine since the fuel mixture has become befuddled. Therefore, the car will produce more emissions than usual. By changing the air filter, you will avoid all these complications.

  • Extends engine life

If you change your air filter regularly, you are invariably caring for the engine. A properly maintained engine will last longer. You will be less susceptible to damage internal parts.

The air filter serves an important role, and by changing it regularly, your engine will be free from impurities that result in damage.

  • Cheap solution

If you discover that your engine has some issues, you might not need to spend plenty of money. Sometimes, all you need to do is to change the air filter. Thankfully, it is very cheap and even easy to do. Hence, you might not require calling on the services of a mechanic before you can change it.

How to know when to change your air filter

How To Know When To Change Your Air Filter

As a vehicle owner, several signs will show you when your car air filter needs to be changed. Let us consider some of these signs.

  • Gas Mileage

One of the easiest ways of knowing when the air filter requires changing is by checking the mileage of the car. One benefit of having a clean air filter is better fuel efficiency. Similarly, one way of knowing that your air filter should be changed is a reduction in fuel efficiency. If you notice that your car consumes more fuel than normal, then it might be time to change the air filter.

  • Misfiring engine

If you notice that your car has ignition problems or it doesn’t startup as quickly as it used to, then you should consider changing the air filter. If the air filter is unclean, it will affect airflow to the engine, which in turn will affect the startup time of the engine.

  • Strange engine sounds

If your car sounds weird, or if you notice excess vibration, this could indicate that the air filter requires changing.

  • Service engine light

The service engine light shows that something is wrong. Hence, when it comes up, it will be smart to check out the air filter of the car.

Why do you need a car air filter?

The air filter is considered to the part of the fuel supply system in your car. It helps to keep the engine free from contaminants. By changing it regularly, your vehicle will function optimally.

The work of the air filter is, as the name implies, to filter the air as it enters via the ductwork down to the throttle. In older cars, the air enters via the carburettor. The air filter is in the form of a foam, paper, or cotton filter. Hence, before the air reaches the engine, it passes through this filter which in turn traps any debris, insects, or other harmful particles.

As you can see from the preceding, if your car doesn’t have an air filter, all the debris found in the air will find their way to the engine of the car. The accumulation of dirt will result in the eventual breakdown of the engine.

How to change the car air filter

Changing the air filter is easy, and you can even do it yourself. It usually lies near the driver’s side of the engine. If confused, you can refer to the manual of your car to get its exact location.

It is important that you replace the air filter with a correct replacement. For more information on how to change a car air filter, check out this video.


The air filter is an important part of the car that enhances performance and has many benefits. We hope this post has helped you to see how often to change the air filter in a car.

You can ask any questions or drop your comments in the section below.