Air Cleaner & Filter
Changing your car's filters on a regular basis can have a significant impact on engine life and performance
What Does The Air Cleaner Do?
The purpose of the engine air filter is to clean the enormous amount of air used by the engine. It must filter out airborne dust and dirt that would otherwise enter the engine and cause premature wear.
during low speed operation, the engine pulls in a tremendous volume
of air. This air has a great deal of abrasive particles, which must
be prevented from entering the engine.
The air filter and positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve are important parts of your vehicle's fuel system. The air filter provides clean air to a vehicle's carburetion system, and if it becomes clogged or dirty, it can cause your car to idle or run roughly and reduce gas mileage.
The PCV valve helps prevent the release of gas fumes from the engine. If it becomes blocked or clogged, it can cause oil leaks and promote the formation of sludge in the engine
air filter should be checked every other month.
Your air filter performs two of the toughest jobs for your car: protecting the engine from contaminants and providing clean air for the engine.
Contaminants in the air can cause serious damage to engine parts. Your air filter traps dirt, dust, sand and microscopic exhaust particles and protects them from entering your engine.
For every gallon of gasoline it burns, your engine consumes 12,000 gallons of outside air. Your air filter must clean all of it. Its job is to allow a sufficient flow of air to keep combustion working at peak levels to ensure the best performance of your engine.
What does a clean air filter do for your car?
Extends the life of your engine
Increases gas mileage
Allows easier engine starts
The air cleaner has two main components
The parts of a typical air cleaner.
A housing provides a container for the filter element. The housing is a metal container that is typically mounted on top of the engine. Air is routed into the housing through an intake tube assembly. The intake tube assembly on the air cleaner housing shown above is a simple tube. On late-model cars, the intake tube assembly may be very complex and control the temperature of the incoming air for performance and emission control.
The filter is the part inside the housing that cleans the air. The two basic types of filters are the paper and oil-wetted polyurethane. Heavy duty filters sometimes combine both types of filter types.
Parts of a paper filter for an air cleaner.
The filter element is made from pleated paper. The pleats provide the maximum surface area for air to pass through. A fine mesh screen is used to support the paper element and protect against the fire hazards of an engine backfire. A top and bottom seal provides an airtight seal for the filter in the housing. Sealing is important because any air that does not go through the filter on the way into the engine could contain dirt.
Polyurethane is a flexible foam-type material. It can be used to filter air entering the engine. It is usually wetted with oil to improve its filtering ability. Filters used in very dirty conditions are often made of polyurethane and paper in combination. Incoming air is routed first through the polyurethane filter, then through the paper filter.
Replacement air filters are available for most vehicles. The filter has a part number printed on the filter box. Application charts are available in auto parts stores that show what number filter fits any particular car. Application charts are often printed on the filter box, too.
Inspect The Air Filter
Cars with fuel injection typically have an air filter element located in an air induction assembly like the one shown below
Typical air cleaner assembly on a fuel injection system
filter element is located in a rectangular box called the air
Find the air filter housing right near the beginning of the ductwork
for the common black, semi-rectangular boxy container.
These are the three basic types of air filters; there are many slight variations
the lid by either prying off clips or clamps with a flathead
screwdriver; removing several large screws by hand or removing
regular sized screws with either type of screwdriver.
with carburetors or throttle body fuel injection often have a large
round air cleaner assembly mounted on top of the carburetor.
Air filters have always required periodic maintenance. An automotive engine runs much smoother when the air filter is clean. If the filter is wet, damaged, or dirty, it should be replaced with a new one designed specifically for your engine.
Running your car with a clogged filter could result in hard stalling, stalling and poor gas mileage. An air filter may become clogged or loaded with contaminate quicker, depending on the nature of the area where the vehicle is driven, such as dusty conditions.
A damaged filter can cause the engine to have excessive wear.
It's hard to give a specific time or mileage figure because the life of the filter depends on how much crud it ingests. A filter that lasts 20,000 or even 30,000 miles on a vehicle that's driven mostly on expressways may last only a month or two in a rural setting where the vehicle is driven frequently on gravel roads. Changing it annually or every 15,000 miles for preventative maintenance may be a good recommendation for the city driver, but not its country cousin.
of the mileage or time, a filter should be replaced before it
reaches the point where it creates a significant restriction to airflow.
A slightly dirty filter actually cleans more efficiently than a brand new filter. That's because the debris trapped by the filter element helps screen out smaller particles that try to get through. But eventually every filter reaches the point where it causes enough of a pressure drop to restrict airflow. Fuel economy, performance and emissions begin to deteriorate and get progressively worse until the dirty filter is replaced.
When inspecting or changing the air filter element, first look up the procedure in the shop service manual. The manual will explain the specific procedure for removing and replacing the element.
it's really caked with dirt, it obviously needs to be replaced.
Don't blow through the filter - you can foul it up that way
Changing your car's filters on a
regular basis can have a significant impact on engine life and performance
Simply unscrew the wing nut holding the cover down and lift it off. There may be three or four clips holding down the cover as well. Just unsnap the clips as well.
There you'll find the air filter inside.
Remove the top of the air cleaner by taking off a single wing nut as shown below
All you need do now is remove the old air filter and install the new one.
Now, change the breather element.
In newer cars, the air filters are generally rectangular in shape and involve a little more work to get to. Look for a rectangular shaped housing under the hood. It will usually be located on one of the fender wells or over the radiator area. On most Chrysler 4 cylinder engines, it's located between the engine and the firewall. Cover attachments vary; on some there will be four or six screws around the outside edge.
There may be four clips or a combination of both. Use the appropriate tools to open the cover and remove the air filter. Be careful not to let any dirt or debris fall into the bottom of the housing. When you install the new air filter, reattach the air filter housing and be careful not to over tighten the holding screws.
patient, as this sometimes requires a bit of maneuvering and
adjusting. The filter likes to pop out here and there.
Air filters of this type do not have a breather filter since the PCV inlet is below the air filter. You should still check the PCV and be sure it's in good shape.
A light coat of grease on the air cleaner gasket of an older car can improve the seal between the air cleaner housing and the air filter element.
A few older automobiles have permenant air filters and you will need to clean according to the instructions found in your owner's manual.
WARNING: The air filter gasket must fit correctly and seal properly. A leak at the gasket means that air will go directly into the engine around the gasket without going through the filter element. Abrasives can get into the engine and shorten engine life.
Replace the crankcase breather filter at the same time if it's dirty.
filter is located in the air filter housing and can be checked at
the same time as the air filter.
"Remove lid of air filter housing and remove air filter. Disconnect crankcase breather hose. Remove metal clip and save, unless it is supplied with the new element.
"Normal replacement is with air filter. If dirty on inspection, replace.
Install new breather element and secure with clip. Connect breather hose. Replace air filter and lid of filter housing, and tighten wing nut.
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I am in no way, shape, or form telling you to do this yourself. Your results may vary. If something goes wrong, it is not my fault. These are just guidelines.
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