When it comes to your heating and air conditioning unit at home, you know that the air filter should be changed monthly to prevent the unit from getting clogged up and malfunctioning. As for your car, the air filter also serves an important purpose even though it doesn't need to be changed quite as frequently. Air filters are inexpensive and easy to change, yet many car owners overlook the need to keep them clean and in good shape. Here is how an air filter helps protect your engine and keeps it running smoothly.
Filters Catch Debris
As you drive, things like twigs, leaves, and insects will inevitably get lodged under the hood. Take a look at your license plate and the grill of your car, and you'll be surprised at how much debris and gunk can get stuck there. Just imagine how much of that could actually get inside of your engine! Thanks to the air filter in your car, that excess mess gets caught by the filter and prevents it from getting into the important parts of your motor. Without the filter, this debris could cause corrosion or other problems to your engine.
Filters Promote Air Flow
All motors need good air flow to maintain a proper temperature and keep things working optimally. A dirty air filter can keep the engine from getting the air it needs, making it work even harder and taxing the motor's ability to complete the process of combustion. While you don't need to replace the air filter every month, it should be done at least annually to ensure that you're using a clean filter that will promote good air flow through the engine. When in doubt, check your owner's manual. It should tell you how frequently the air filter needs to be replaced for your make and model.
Filters Clean Impurities
Your air filter does more than just keep bugs out of the engine and keep air moving. It also acts as a go-between for the oil in your vehicle. The filter helps to remove any impurities in your car's oil such as tiny pieces of dirt and shavings of metal. If those things were to get inside your engine, you'd definitely notice a decrease in performance. Over time, this debris can also be very abrasive to the bearings in your engine and cause low oil pressure, which can lead to serious engine damage. Think of your air filter like a guard that is always on duty to protect your engine and keep it from harm.
Learn more about air filters.