What Happens When Your Air Filter Gets Dirty?

A dirty air filter can have a serious impact on your car's performance and your health. It decreases the amount of air supplied to the engine, resulting in an increase in unburned fuel that becomes soot residue. This soot can build up on the tips of the spark plugs, making them unable to produce a proper spark. As a result, the car may move abruptly, idle, and in some cases, the engine may fail.

Engine misfires, rough idling, and hard starts can all be attributed to a clogged engine air filter. The dirty air filter restricts air supply to the engine, causing unburned fuel to form a soot residue that accumulates in the spark plug. This fouls the spark plug(s) and decreases its ability to produce the spark needed for the combustion process. Changing the affected air filter and spark plugs will restore your engine's performance.

A decrease in gasoline mileage is often a sign that something is wrong. The air filter contributes to fuel efficiency, but a dirty filter can reduce oxygen flow. A vehicle must compensate for this by burning more fuel to make up for it. Over time, the air filter becomes less effective in carrying out its work.

All captured dust, grease and other contaminants eventually clog the filter so much that it blocks the flow of clean air to the engine. Decreased fuel economy is a clear sign of a faulty or dirty air filter. A dirty or bad air filter restricts airflow, which reduces oxygen in the mixture. Your engine compensates for this by consuming more fuel to produce enough power to move the same distance or speed as it could with a clean filter. Most automotive companies recommend changing the air filter every 10,000 to 15,000 miles or every 12 months.

However, if you normally drive in dusty or rural areas such as Scottsdale, Arizona or San Antonio, Texas, it's a good idea to have your mechanic check and change it more often - for example, every 6,000 miles. Driving in busy areas where there is a lot of traffic - including Los Angeles and Washington DC - making it stop and start more often also requires you to replace the air cleaner more often. Most vehicles also have a cabin air filter that is used to clean the air entering the interior of the car, but it has a different maintenance program than an engine air filter. Our certified mobile mechanics perform more than 600 services, including diagnostics, brakes, oil changes, scheduled mileage maintenance - and will come to you with all the necessary parts and tools. A dirty filter reduces the air supply to your car's engine, resulting in unburned fuel. This fuel causes the formation of soot residues that accumulate at the tip of the spark plug.

Something as simple as an air filter can cause everything from harmful emissions, fuel waste, damaged spark plugs and engine buildup. A good air filter helps prevent dust and dirt from accumulating on all internal components of the unit; a bad one will cause additional wear and tear that can lead to serious maintenance issues in the future. Driving with a dirty air filter may seem like no big deal, but doing so can have a negative impact on your health and that of your vehicle. Like other car maintenance services, air filter replacement costs vary depending on the model of the car and where you are looking. A clean, properly installed air filter improves fuel economy, increases engine life, reduces emissions and increases acceleration. As a car owner, you need to be aware of the symptoms of dirty air cleaner to ensure your engine stays free of debris.

HVAC air filters work in partnership with your home's heating and cooling system to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. If the air filter becomes too congested during the summer cooling season, it can cause a lack of airflow to the evaporator or cooling coils. Because it improves airflow, replacing the air filter can improve acceleration or power by up to 11%. Have your mechanic scan your vehicle to locate the source of the problem - as it could be as simple as replacing the air filter. If you notice your car vibrating excessively or you hear coughing or clicking noises, it's often due to a clogged air filter that dirties or damages a spark plug.

If you don't replace the air cleaner at suggested intervals you may notice distinctive signs that it needs to be replaced. To do it yourself first refer to your owner's manual for location of filter and refer to this step-by-step guide for removing air filter. Given all money already invested in home not changing filters regularly simply doesn't make sense. Engine air filters prevent harmful debris from damaging components crucial keeping car running smoothly.

Jo Burgey
Jo Burgey

Lifelong beer expert. Passionate music fan. Evil internet nerd. Passionate zombie nerd. Infuriatingly humble social media ninja.