Rock Talk

How to Change Your Engine Air Filter in 3 Steps

Learning how to change your engine air filter is an easy task that you can accomplish in a few minutes with few or no tools (depending on your car).

Your car’s air filter plays an important role in absorbing dirt, debris, and other particles that could get into your engine and potentially cause damage. This filter is different than your cabin air filter, which cleans the air inside the passenger cabin.

Over time the engine air filter will accumulate dirt and debris, making it less effective. While you could pay a professional, learning how to change your engine air filter yourself can save you a little money.

As always, if you’re not comfortable doing work on your car, seek a professional. Before you start, consult with your owner’s manual to see if there are any special instructions (like how often your filter needs to be replaced). Always put safety first.

Here’s (generally) how to change your engine air filter:

  1. Buy a Replacement Filter

Most cars need an air filter replacement about once a year, but you may need to change yours more frequently if you drive more than 12,000 miles each year. You should be able to find a replacement engine air filter in any auto parts store or online.

You can find your filter size by referring to your vehicle owner’s manual or by asking an associate at the auto part store to find the replacement for you based on your make, model, and year. Most filters will cost around $15 to $30, making this an easy and cheap project.

  1. Remove the Old Filter

In most cars, you can find your filter by popping the hood and looking for a black plastic box adjacent to your engine. It will likely have a large hose sticking out of the filter box.

There should be a few metal clips or screws holding the filter down into the box. Unclip (or unscrew using a screw driver) those to open the box and gently remove that gunky old filter. Marvel at all the dust, dirt, and debris it has protected your engine from during its lifespan! Say, “ew,” and toss it.

  1. Install the New Filter

Finally, insert the new filter by sliding it into the box (goes in the same way as the old one). Make sure the filter fits snugly in place. Re-attach the metal clips (or screws) to hold the box closed. That’s it! You’re done!

  1. Bask in a job well done and treat yourself.

Now that you’ve got your hands a little dirty, how about changing your car’s cabin air filter (if it has one) or learning how to change a tire? If you’re looking to kill some more time online, you may be able to turn yourself into a car coverage whiz.

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