Car manufacturers have guidelines indicating when air filters should be changed; for example, some require a change every 30,000 miles. However, if you drive in dirty areas, such as unpaved roads, then you may need to change your air filter before the manufacturer’s recommended time. Here are a few signs that point to a dirty air filter that needs to be changed:
Visual Signs of Dirt
Sometimes, spotting a dirty air filter may be as simple as giving it a visual examination. A clean filter is white or off-white in color. The further your filter is from this, the dirtier it is. This is because the debris, such as dirt particles which get trapped on the surface of the filter, change its color.
Decreased Gas Mileage
The air filter traps contaminants to ensure the air entering the engine’s combustion cylinder is clean. If the air filter is clogged, then enough clean air won’t enter the engine, and the air/fuel ratio will be unbalanced. This means your car may need to burn more fuel to cover the same distance it used to cover with less, which is what decreased gas mileage means.
Spark Plug-Related Problems
If the filter is dirty and adequate clean air cannot reach the engine, then you may experience ignition difficulty, misfiring engine and rough idling. All these spark plug problems occur because the fuel-rich air/fuel mixture fouls the spark plugs and interferes with their firing mechanisms.
Increased Engine Deposits
As explained above, driving with a dirty filter means that enough clean air will not reach the engine. As a result, the combustion will not be complete and the engine will experience increased deposits of carbon-based by-products such as soot. These deposits will trigger the engine sensors, and the “Service Engine Soon” light will turn on.
Lastly, you should also expect some reduced performance if you are driving around with a dirty filter. This is because the foul air leads to incomplete combustion, meaning the full energy of the air/fuel mixture isn’t released as some unburnt fuel is released along with exhaust gasses. The result is that your car may not accelerate or climb hills as efficiently as it does with clean air filters.
Therefore, you shouldn’t just rely on your car manufacturer’s recommendation; you ought to pay close attention to how your car drives, behaves and looks. That way you get to maintain your engine’s efficiency and also minimize your car’s emissions. Find out more by contacting a company like Marathon -Sleepy Hollow.