Mechanics Auckland – Air filter changes

Why do you need an air filter and what does it do?

The purpose of an air filter is to keep dirt, debris and contaminants from entering your engine or your car’s interior. Most cars have two air filters – one for the engine, and one for the cabin/interior.

Your vehicle’s engine requires airflow for proper combustion and efficient operation. The engine air filter cleans the air and keeps dirt and debris from entering the engine. It captures airborne contaminants like dirt and dust before they can enter the engine and cause damage.

The other place you need clean air is the interior of your vehicle. So your car, ute or truck also has a cabin air filter. This filter keeps the air inside your vehicle clean by filtering out dirt, exhaust fumes, pollen and other allergens so they don’t enter the cabin air through the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

Air filters are made with either paper, cotton or gauze. The paper versions are disposable, while some gauze variations are designed to be cleaned and reused.

How often do you need to change the air filters?

You should always refer to your owner’s manual for guidance on service and maintenance. Your vehicle’s manual from the manufacturer will tell you the recommended timeframe for changing the air filters.

If you don’t have the owner’s manual, we usually recommend replacing an engine air filter approximately every 30,000 to 45,000 kilometres. We recognise that is a large gap, but it depends on your driving habits.

Vehicles used for a lot of city driving in heavy traffic run differently than vehicles that spend most of the time on the motorway, so their maintenance needs are different. A vehicle used a lot in rural areas or on unpaved roads will filter dirt and debris from the air differently from an urban city vehicle or where there is poor air quality. It’s not simply a case of looking at the mileage.

It’s good to have your vehicle’s air filters checked every year. Regardless of whether it’s time for a change or not, checking the air filters regularly can help us monitor whether your vehicle is staying clear of harmful dirt and debris, helping to prevent any damage before problems arise. 

You can often tell just by looking at an air filter whether it’s time to change it. If your air filter looks black or dirty, it’s probably time to change it. A good idea is to look at your air filter when it’s new, so you know what a clean air filter looks like. Then take a look at it over time, say every 5,000 kilometres, so you can see how it gradually loses that new appearance and gets dirtier over time. In this way, you can identify what looks “normal” and see how gradual or severe the dirt build-up is.

If this isn’t something you are interested in or don’t have time for, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Roskill Auto Mechanical and we’d be happy to take a look.

It’s not necessary to change both air filters at the same time. In general, the engine air filter will need to be changed more frequently than the cabin air filter. Again, we recommend you consult your owner’s manual and talk to our experienced team about your regular service needs.

What happens if you don’t change your air filter regularly?

Regular air filter changes help your car run more effectively and comfortably. If you’re running your vehicle with a dirty engine air filter, you’ll likely notice your vehicle doesn’t accelerate as fast as it should. Conversely, if you notice your car isn’t accelerating properly, the fix may be simply a new engine oil filter.

Failure to change your cabin air filter will result in poor air quality inside your car. You may notice your allergies flare up, or stale air quality inside your car. Comfort and wellness are a big part of the driving experience, especially if you spend a lot of time in your car. So it’s essential to also keep your cabin air filter changed regularly.

Changing an air filter is a relatively straightforward and inexpensive task. It’s definitely worthwhile staying on top of this easy maintenance service in order to prevent more elaborate or expensive engine repair issues that could arise from neglecting regular vehicle maintenance.

Contact us online or call us on 09 242 1870 to book an appointment.

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