Discover Mechanical

How do I know if my car air filter needs replacing?

Technician assessing car air filter.

Here, we discuss the air filter in your car. Is yours in proper working order?

It is important to adhere to regular servicing and vehicle maintenance. This keeps your vehicle running smoothly, performing at its best and keeps you, and your passengers, safe on the road.
Currently, you may be finding yourself looking for things to do as you are spending a lot more time at home. To help pass the time, why not conduct some simple car maintenance and checks that will help to keep your car in good running order?

What is a car air filter?

The engine in your car needs air to operate correctly and effectively. Air mixes with the fuel in the combustion chamber, which is then ignited by the spark plugs in a petrol vehicle, or the temperature created by compression in a diesel engine.
When air enters into the engine, it first has to flow through the air filter. The air filter ensures that only clean air enters the engine for combustion. It prevents any harmful particles, such as dust, dirt and debris, from entering into the engine, which prevents possible damage to the engine.

Why do I need to replace the air filter in my car?

The air filter in your car should be in good working condition to ensure that only clean air enters into the engine. As the air filter becomes dirty and clogged up it restricts air flow, which can add unnecessary strain to your engine.
Failure to replace an old or damaged air filter can result in increased wear and tear or may even cause internal damage to the engine, which you want to avoid at all costs.
It is important to change the air filter in your vehicle at regular intervals as it will:
  • Increase fuel efficiency
  • Reduce vehicle emissions
  • Prolong the life of the vehicle
A dirty car air filter that needs replacing.

How often should I replace the air filter in my car?

The owner’s manual for your vehicle will specify when the air filter requires changing. Typically, an air filter should be changed every 12 to 18 months, or every 10,000 to 15,000kms, whichever comes first.
If you drive your vehicle frequently in certain conditions, such as on dirt roads, it may require changing more often.
Regularly changing your air filter, as required, is a simple and inexpensive service. It can avoid more serious problems, if left unchecked, such as internal damage to your car’s engine.
Technician assessing car air filter.

How will I know that the air filter in my car needs replacing?

When performing a simple car maintenance at home, you can easily assess the condition of your air filter. Check for the amount of dirt stuck on the intake (exterior) side. If it appears to be dirty or damaged, it will need replacing.
Indicators that the air filter in your car may need replacing can include:
  • A lack of power on hard acceleration and at higher RPMs (revolutions per minute)
  • Reduced fuel economy due to a lower amount of oxygen travelling to the engine causing it to become overworked
  • In extreme cases, the ‘check engine’ warning light may appear on your dashboard
At BestDrive, our experienced technicians will inspect the air filter in your car during your regular oil change. They will assess its condition and advise you on whether or not it requires replacing. If a new air filter is needed, you can feel confident that the correct air filter for your vehicle’s make, model and year is correctly installed.
BestDrive. You drive, we care.

Discover More Mechanical

General Car Maintenance

Keeping your car in top condition doesn’t mean leaving all the maintenance until your next service.

Read more

Battery maintenance - simple advice to follow.

Learn how simple it is to care for, and maintain, your car battery with BestDrive.

Read more

Discover More News

Car batteries - what you need to know

Avoid an unexpected car battery replacement. Find out how long your car battery should last and the warning...

Read more