Staying safe on the road: Change your air filter

Frank Parker
Authored by Frank Parker
Posted Monday, August 2, 2021 - 2:37pm

Your cars air filter is one of those components that just does its job and you don’t really think about it, because why would you? Nevertheless, if the air filter in your car isn’t working properly, your engine could suffer major damage. That is because the air filtration system has an incredibly important job. A car engine is a maze of incredible technology with tiny tolerances. Your engine works by combusting petrol, the ensuing explosion shoots the piston down, which turns the crankshaft. That rotational energy is then sent to the wheels where it goes to the road, giving you drive. The explosion that sets of this entire process can’t be done without air, but clean air doesn’t really exist. That is why a filter is needed. It filters pieces of debris big and small out of the air, only giving the cleaned air to the engine. Stuff like leaves and small rocks obviously shouldn’t be going into an engine, but think about the smaller grime as well. If a car is driving ahead of you they spray dirt particles on your car, if left unfiltered, this air could erode your engine. A filter protects your car from this hazard.

When to change

So now we have discussed why a good air filter is of paramount importance, we can discuss when to change it. On most cars you have to change your air filter around every 12- to 15 thousand miles. The exact figure changes from car to car and air filter to air filter. You should check with your car when to change your filter. In most cases, when your car goes through an MOT check they will change your air filter if necessary. It is however possible that you need to change your filter sooner than that because your engine isn’t running properly.

How to change

If you have decided to change your air filter you can take it to a garage and have them do it for you. This will set you back a few pounds, but you won't have to do it yourself. If you would like to do it yourself you will be amazed at how easy it is to do this simple piece of car maintenance.

How to change air filter on AUDI A4 B5 Saloon [TUTORIAL AUTODOC]

Video instruction taken from

If you prefer a written guide, you can simply keep reading below:

1) Buy your filter. Not every filter is created equal, if you own a small, British hatchback you shouldn’t be buying an air filter made for a Ferrari, so check to see if you have bought the right filter. This is best done by consulting your local parts dealer, or by a quick search online. Once you have bought the correct filter you can get to the installation process.

2) After you have opened the bonnet of your car you will probably see a sea of dark metal and black plastic. It might not be overly clear which one is the air filter. If you don’t know where to find it, you can consult the owner's manual of your car.

3) Once you have located your car you grab your tools, you will most likely be using a torx bit t25 to open up the cover. This might differ on some cars. Loosen the screws and remove the air filter cover. You should be greeted by a worn out, dirty air filter.

4) Clean out the empty slot for leaves and dust.

5) Simply take out the old air filter and dispose of it. Take out the new air filter and pop it in. Check first that you have aligned it properly and is positioned correctly.

6) Now it is time for you to put the cover back on the filter and tighten the bolts.

7) You should now have a working air filter, you can test its functionality by going for a quick test drive to see if the engine doesn’t overheat.

Changing your own air filter is an easy cost saving measure that could save you quite a bit of cash in labour costs that you would otherwise pay. By doing these types of easy maintenance on your own car you save a lot of money.


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