Your vehicle’s engine is a high speed precision machine that can be easily damaged by the intrusion of dirt, dust, and debris. Changing your air filter on a regular basis offers four very important benefits including improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, increased engine life, and better acceleration. Bear in mind that for every gallon of fuel your engine burns, it also goes through approximately 10,000 gallons of air, all of which passes through the air filter. When you look at these numbers, it is easy to see just how important replacing the air filter on your vehicle is. Let’s take a look at these four benefits more closely:
Improved Fuel Economy
Improving the overall fuel economy of your vehicle is perhaps the most important reason to keep a clean air filter in place. Recent studies show that keeping a clean air filter in a fuel injected vehicle can help improve its fuel economy by as much as 6 to 11 percent. If you are still driving an older carbureted vehicle, this percentage increases to approximately 14 percent. No matter what you drive or which figures you choose to believe, it is obvious replacing the air filter will improve your fuel efficiency and reduce operating costs.
Reduced Vehicle Emissions
When your vehicle’s air filter becomes plugged, the amount of fresh air being supplied to the engine is significantly reduced. This upsets the readings taken by the computerized emission controls, which in turn will have a negative impact on the air-fuel mixture ratio and the ignition timing. Not only can this cause your vehicle to experience drivability issues, but can reduce overall fuel economy and increase unwanted emissions as the engine begins to run “rich”. If the air filter is allowed to become too clogged, it may cause the “check engine” light to come on.
Extended Engine Life
No matter how well-engineered your engine happens to be, it must be protected from the ravages of dirt, dust, and debris. This is the most important role of your air filter and one that it cannot do if you do not keep it changed on a regular basis. When particles of dust, dirt, and sand are allowed to enter the engine, it can be like having sandpaper wrapped around the crankshaft, camshaft, and cylinders. While the damage might seem small at first, it will build up exponentially over time and can significantly reduce the life of your engine. At the very least this can lead to expensive repairs, at the very worst you may end up replacing the engine completely, a very expensive proposition at best.
Cost Effective and Fast Fix
Driving around with a dirty air filter can damage your engine, increase emissions, and increase fuel economy. It can lead you to thinking your vehicle is in need of extensive and costly repairs. The reality is that replacing your air filter can clear up a lot of your problems at a fraction of the cost. It is one of the least expensive repairs you are likely to ever make.
Be sure to buy the exact filter required for your vehicle, and make sure it fits securely in the air box. You should always clean the air box out before installing a new air filter to ensure none of this dirt ends up being sucked into your engine at startup. The new filter will increase fuel economy, reduce emissions, and allow for optimum fresh air flow into the engine. At the same time replacing the air filter on a regular basis will help to protect your engine’s internal parts and ensure that it provides you with many years of reliable and affordable service.