Need to change your engine air filter? We are a team of ASE certified
mechanics that have created this guide to help you save money when doing the job
yourself or at least see what you are paying for when having the job done. Let's
jump right in.
A vehicle's engine air filter is a replaceable cleansing unit. This filter
should be changed between 6,000 and 12,000 miles depending on how dirty your
roads conditions are. In most cases this filter can be replaced in under 10
There are many levels of quality when it comes to air filters. We recommend
that you get an
OEM (factory) unit. It costs a little more but its the best way to protect
your investment. If you choose a cheaper filter you maybe allowing dirt
particles to enter the engine which can cause premature wear.
Step 1: Locate the Air Filter
Locate the air filter which is
connected to the air intake tube that comes off of the throttle
actuator of the engine. Most of the time the air filter housing will be located
either on the right or left side of the engine bay and mounted to the fender or
on the engine itself.
Step 2: Remove the Filter
There are a series of screws or clips that holds the upper lid to the lower
half of the housing. The air intake boot may need to be removed or loosened to help in the
removal of the filter housing lid.
Once all of the hold down bolts or clips have been removed or released
gently pull up and remove the lid to expose the
After exposing the filter reach
into the housing and grasp it. Sometimes it can be stuck in the housing due to
the filter seal which is made of rubber and has been pressed into place by
the housing lid. If the filter is stuck use a standard screwdriver it break it
loose this will aid in its removal.
Grasp the filter as you remove it and hold the housing lid upward to make
clearance for the removal. If you notice engine oil on the old filter and in the
housing itself this can be caused by two
different reasons. The first is that the PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system is
plugged or broken. This system features a PCV valve or diaphragm. When the
system is not working it forces crankcase pressure and oil onto the air filter. The second reason is that the engine is worn out and the positive
crankcase pressure is too excessive and beyond the systems capabilities. This condition
is due to worn out piston rings (blow-by) which overpowers the PCV system.
Step 3: Clean the Air Filter Box
Once the filter has been removed clean the housing with a damp shop towel or
compressed air. This ensures that any debris that has been knocked into the
housing when the filter was removed will be cleaned out before the new filter is installed. This is necessary to keep loose dirt from entering the engine intake.
Step 4: Installing the New Filter
Remove the new filter from the box. We suggest using OEM replacement parts
for quality and a proper fit as you know. To determine if your air filter needs
to be changed gently tap it on the ground while watching for dirt and particles
coming off of the filter meaning it is filled to capacity and replacement is
Now match the new filter to the old unit they should be an identical in length, height and thickness.
When installing the new filter use caution as not to bend or disfigure it in anyway. This could cause
the filter to not seal completely within the housing. Make sure to hold the lid
of the filter upward to aid in the installation.
When installing the new filter confirm a positive placement by checking at
the seal point of the filter to the housing then install the lid or cover. It's important that the seal
of the filter is not cut or crushed due to improper installation. It's worth
taking an extra few seconds to do the job right or it will leak unfiltered air
into the engine.
Lower the lid and start tightening the mounting screws or installing the clips. You want to do this in
a cross pattern. This will help the lid seal squarely into the new filter. Now
you are all set.
You did the job right while saving money and ensuring a top
quality replacement part. We always like to wipe the filter housing off with a
shop towel when complete. This makes us feel that the job was done to the best
of our ability.
Please watch the video below to get an idea of what you are in for when changing an air filter. Though configurations may vary the process is the same
on most vehicles. Here is a list of our
air filter replacement videos at our 2CarPros YouTube channel.
Some basic tools are needed and of course the replacement filter which is
available at the local
parts store or
Amazon. When the air filter plugs up due to non-maintenance it causes low engine power. Replacing this filter should be included in your regular
maintenance regiment of
changing the engine oil or
engine tune up.
If you have any question please visit our forum
where hundreds of
air filter questions have been answered by our experts.
There are various tools and supplies you will need throughout this article. We
have created a list for you which are easily obtained if you do not have them
Tools and supplies needed for an air filter replacement
You will also need replacement parts. We have created a guide that will inform you as to where to go
to get the best deal and quality.
Learn more: Air
filter purchasing guide
To see more specific information about your particular vehicle check out our
repair manual information guide.
Air filter repair manuals
If you need more information about what you have just read please
ask one of our mechanics,
we are happy to help.