How does a Dirty Air Filter Affect Your Car?

Air Filter Change

Your vehicle’s engine relies on a combination of air and gasoline to function properly. The air filter is a vital component responsible for letting enough air into the engine and ensuring that your engine is running effectively. Over time, the air filter becomes dirty and clogged with dirt, bugs, and other airborne particles.

At CFM NAPA Autopro, we recommend getting an air filter change every 10,000 to 15,000 miles or every 12 months, whichever comes first. Below are some common ways that a dirty air filter can affect your car and the warning signs that indicate it’s time for an air filter change.

Reduced fuel economy

A clean air filter keeps the right amount of air flowing in your engine. A dirty air filter reduces the flow of oxygen and, to compensate for this, your vehicle’s engine consumes more fuel. Scheduling an air filter change helps to keep your gas mileage right where it should be.

Difficulty starting your engine

If you’re finding that your car has a hard time starting, a restricted air supply from a dirty air filter might be the culprit. Dust and particles that block your air filter can lead to engine flooding and spark plug pollution. The spark plug is then not able to deliver the necessary spark to fire up the air-fuel mixture.

Another tell-tale sign that your vehicle may be due for an air filter change is the smell of gasoline when starting the car. If you notice any changes in your engine, it’s important to take your vehicle for an inspection.

Unusual engine sounds

Take note of how your vehicle sounds when idling. While subtle, smooth vibrations are normal, excessive vibrating or popping noises are often a result of a clogged air filter.

Reduced horsepower

Sluggish or jerking movements upon acceleration are a good indication that your engine is not receiving adequate air intake. To compensate for reduced oxygen, your vehicle’s engine is using more fuel and this diversion of power significantly decreases your horsepower. Replacing your air filter improves airflow, which leads to improved acceleration.

Black smoke from the exhaust pipe

A blocked air filter results in fuel not burning completely. This unburnt fuel exits through the exhaust pipe in the form of black or sooty smoke. Wasted fuel is dangerous to your vehicle and the environment. If you notice black smoke coming from your exhaust pipe, have a certified technician perform a proper inspection.

Next Steps

A dirty air filter can have a significant impact on your vehicle’s performance. If you notice the above tell-tale signs, book an air filter change with us and we’ll have your vehicle performing at its best. We provide 5-star exceptional service for your auto repair and maintenance needs.

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