How To Maintain Your Air Filters So Your Car Drives Efficiently

How To Maintain Your Air Filters So Your Car Drives Efficiently
| By: Christian Brothers Automotive

The benefits of regular air filter replacement

Traditional wisdom falls in line with the idea that the filters should be changed every 3,000 miles. Fortunately, modern air filters are built to perform better and last longer. Your air filters can realistically last 1-2 years under the right driving conditions. However, they still need periodic replacement.

According to Rich White, executive director for the Car Care Council. “Checking the cabin air filter is a simple preventive maintenance step that goes a long way toward protecting passengers, as well as the vehicle’s HVAC system.”

The reason is, when the cabin air filter clogs up, it can also stop the heater and air conditioner. If your car is taken to an auto repair shop who checks the AC system or cooling system without first checking the cabin air filter, you could end up paying for unnecessary repairs.

The important thing to remember with any air filter maintenance is to always replace a soiled air filter. Don’t just clean the filter and re-install.

While a dirty cabin air filter can damage the AC system, a dirty engine air filter can cause engine performance problems. In fact, replacing a clogged filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%. Considering your car’s engine can use more than 10,000 gallons of air for every gallon of fuel burned, clean airflow is crucial to proper engine performance.

The bottom line: With your permission, we recommend a visual inspection every 3,000-6,000 miles to ensure both the cabin air filter and engine air intake filters are clean and in working condition. A visual inspection is free, and it never hurts to look. We can personally guarantee our professional staff will never suggest a replacement unless it is absolutely necessary.

The Difference between the Cabin Air Filter & Engine Air Intake Filter

The Cabin Filter

Much like a construction worker wears a dust mask at a dirty site, or a manicurist wears a powder mask while applying acrylic nails, your air filter eliminates allergens and particulates before they enter your lungs. The cabin air filter is typically made of pleated paper, and is designed to clean the air flowing into the car before the driver or passengers breathe it in.

This filter is essential to maintaining a healthy environment inside the passenger cab. When the cabin air filter becomes dirty, however, the air conditioner and heater’s performance will suffer. The airflow into the car is reduced, and allergens may remain in the air supply.

Engine Air Intake Filter

As the cabin air filter protects your lungs, the engine air intake filter protects your engine. The engine filter removes allergens and pollutants as well, but is much more concerned with debris and waste buildup. If it weren’t for this filter, water, insects, dirt and grime could find their way into your engine.

Fuel-injected filters typically use a pleated paper filter, while older cars tend to use a cylindrical air filter. Either way, this element is crucial to keeping debris out of the motor. When waste enters the engine, sticky substances adhere to the moving parts, carbon deposits bake onto the components and the intake valves clog.

Dirty Filters Rob Your Engine of Power

Now that you’re aware of these two vital car parts, you can take steps to keep them well maintained. Fortunately, air filtration upkeep is simple – just regularly replace the filters! Our ASE-certified technicians recommend an air filter replacement every 6,000 miles.

Over the past 4 weeks, Christian Brothers Automotive has provided the necessary resources for proper air filter service.

If it’s time for air filtration maintenance, call your local Christian Brothers Automotive auto repair shop to schedule an inspection. With our friendly technicians, you’re always in good hands.

Read Our Reviews
  • "I Trust Them"

    "I had been taking the car to Tom Wood VW and used to love it, but the past few times I've been there, communication was sorely lacking and I had to call for updates on the status of my car, only to be ..."


  • "I want to thank Christian Brothers"

    "I have found a great place to have my car repaired a little late but they are great at the"Ocotillo" Chandler, AZ, location. I recently have had a turn down in health. My wife is now in charge of ..."

    James A Miller

  • "Going Above and Beyond"

    "I liked the customer service and going above and beyond to make sure I was comfortable while waiting in the store for my vehicle work to be done, specifically being offered a nice hot coffee with ..."