You can look at the air filter in your car as the apparatus that lets your car "breathe". A clean air filter will keep your car running smoothly, save you money on gas and maintenance costs, and help ensure that your engine gets the proper airflow that it needs in order to function. That being said, changing your car's air filter should be a regular habit. Car experts recommend that you should change your car's air filter once every fifteen thousand miles.
- First, determine which air filter is right for your car. Consult your car's manual to find out what specific type of air filter is best for your car. If you can't find this information in the manual, take the car to a shop, or ask your local mechanic what type of air filter he would recommend for your car's make and model. Once you've purchased the right replacement part, it's now time to clean out your car's air filter housing and install your new air filter.
- Park the car on level ground. Make sure that you have the parking brake locked in tight, and turn the car off. Locate the lever used to unlock the hood of your car, and lift or pull it. This should release the locks on your car's hood. Step outside and lift the hood of your car, and prop it up on the metal rod that's attached to the car body, in order to keep the hood open while you work.
- As you lift the hood of your car, you will find what appears to be a rounded, disc-shaped object. Normally found sitting right on top of your car engine, this is the air filter that you will need to replace. This rounded shape, however, is more common in carburetor-type engines. In newer fuel-injected engines, however, the air filter may be a rectangular or square-shaped object found at the side of your car engine, or right between the engine and the front grill of your car.
- Using a wrench or a screwdriver, unhook the top part of the air filter's housing. Reach in and pull out the air filter, which should look like a piece of paper or plastic with an outer rim made of rubber. Make sure that you place all screws, nuts, bolts and tools in a safe place so you can easily get back to them later, when you clamp on the top part of the housing once you've replaced the air filter.
- Now, pull out your vacuum cleaner and start cleaning the air filter housing. You are looking to suck out the accumulated dust, bugs, grime and road debris that have accumulated in the housing over time. Make sure to go over the area twice, just so that the new air filter you will be installing will work as well as it should. After vacuuming, take a rag and give the housing area one last rub down, just in case you missed a few spots.
Install your new air filter in the housing, and seal the top back up. Close the hood and you should be good to go!