What Happens When Your Air Filter Gets Dirty?

Learn what happens when your car's air filter gets dirty and how replacing it can improve acceleration or power by up to 11%. Find out how often you should replace your car's air filter.

What Happens When Your Air Filter Gets Dirty?

A dirty air filter can have a significant impact on your car's performance. It decreases the amount of air supplied to the engine, resulting in an increase in unburned fuel that forms a soot residue. This residue accumulates on the tips of the spark plugs, making them unable to produce a proper spark. As a result, your car may move abruptly, idle, and in some cases, the engine may fail.

Engine misfires, rough idling, and hard starts are all signs of a clogged engine air filter. The dirty air filter restricts air supply to the engine, causing unburned fuel to form a soot residue that accumulates in the spark plug. This fouls the spark plug(s) and decreases its ability to produce the spark needed for the combustion process. Replacing the affected air filter and spark plugs will restore your engine's performance.

A decrease in gasoline mileage is often an indication that something is wrong. The air filter contributes to fuel efficiency, but a dirty filter can reduce oxygen flow. A vehicle must compensate for this by burning more fuel to make up for it. Over time, the air filter becomes less effective in carrying out its work.

All captured dust, grease and other contaminants eventually clog the filter so much that it blocks the flow of clean air to the engine. Most automotive companies recommend changing the air filter every 10,000 to 15,000 miles or every 12 months. However, if you normally drive in dusty or rural areas such as Scottsdale, Arizona or San Antonio, Texas, it's a good idea to have your mechanic check and change it more often - for example, every 6,000 miles. Driving in busy areas where there is a lot of traffic, including Los Angeles and Washington DC, making it stop and start more often also requires you to replace the air cleaner more often. Most vehicles also have a cabin air filter that is used to clean the air entering the interior of the car, but it has a different maintenance program than an engine air filter.

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in more than 2,000 U. S. UU. Fast and Free Online Quotes for Your Car Repair. What has really happened to your engine is that the air filter has become dirty or clogged.

This reduces airflow by changing the air-fuel mixture. The rich fuel mixture creates a black soot residue that covers the spark plugs. The noise comes from the spark plugs not firing properly due to this residue. Dirty spark plugs can also cause problems when starting the car and failing. A dirty filter reduces the air supply to your car's engine, resulting in unburned fuel.

This fuel causes the formation of soot residues that accumulate at the tip of the spark plug. Try to clean the reusable filter at a time when the air conditioner doesn't need to be turned on anyway, such as on a cold night. If you smell gasoline when you start the car, it's because not enough air enters the fuel injection system and excess unburned fuel comes out of the car through the exhaust pipe (hence the smell). If the filter becomes too clogged with dust, dander, and debris, then the blower has to work harder to pass air through the blocked filter. Inadequate air supply can cause some of the fuel not to burn completely in the combustion cycle. Designed to allow clean air to enter the engine, the air filter is your vehicle's first line of defense by preventing air pollutants such as dirt, dust and leaves from entering the engine compartment. Inadequate air supply can cause carbon deposits -the by-product of combustion-to build up in the engine and turn off the engine check light.

Because it improves airflow, replacing the air filter can improve acceleration or power by up to 11%. If the air filter becomes clogged with dirt and debris, it can have a profound effect on the performance of your car's engine. Every time you have a forced air system in operation, those allergens will be released into the air you breathe. If it seems that your vehicle is slow to respond when you press the accelerator, this may be an indication that the engine is not getting enough clean air. Replacing the air filter before it becomes clogged ensures that you don't have to change the spark plugs. As long as you keep your filter clean and maintained, you will avoid some of these easily avoidable problems and extend the life of your vehicle.

At the same time, the air cleaner must allow enough air to reach the engine so that it can operate effectively.

Dirty air filters

prevent the system from receiving the right amount of air or fuel and make it difficult for the engine to perform its function...