Is Your Engine Gasping for Air?

Dale Bertram
March 30, 2012

We have filters to protect us and our expensive devices from harmful debris. Think for a moment about the furnace filter in your house. If you don’t change it or clean it every so often, it gets clogged and can’t do its job well.

Our cars also have filters and one such filter is the air filter. You’ve probably heard of it. Basically, the air filter captures all of the dirt, dust, and debris that could damage your engine. Vehicle engines are intricate and need a precise ratio of air to fuel in order to operate at peak efficiency and prevent harmful emissions.

Many consumers are confused on how often the air filter needs to be replaced. Much like your home furnace filter, it depends. Some manufacturers recommend you have them changed every 60,000 miles and others say you need to change them every 6,000 miles.

Like most car components, it depends on how and where you drive. If you drive in a construction zone every day, you will need to have your filter replaced more often than other drivers. At Fairway, we look at the air filter each time our customers come in for an oil change. It’s just part of our inspection. It is easy to check and makes a huge difference to your engine’s performance.

It was once believed that the cleaner the air filter, the better your fuel economy, but just recently that changed to the better your acceleration. The more important consideration is this: if the air filter is so full of grime your engine is basically gasping for air, you can shorten its life. Any time you are harming your engine, you are asking for trouble and expensive repairs or replacement.

Debris acts in an abrasive manner to the engine bearings, piston rings, and cylinders. When that filter gets full of crud, it’s time to replace it. The good news that it’s pretty inexpensive to change the air filter.

Keep your car healthy and have the air filter checked each time you get your oil changed. It really does make a huge difference.

Happy Motoring!

Dale Bertram

About the Author

I am an ASE-certified technician and have owned my own auto repair business, Fairway Auto Repair, since 1991. I am also an AMI graduate with a AAM degree, and continue my education by taking various courses during the year. I am a hard core car guy. Basically if it isn't mechanical, I'm not interested in it. This passion for vehicles has driven me throughout my life. My hobbies are my cars. I have two 1968 Camaros and a 1971 Camaro that my son and I built. I also raced an IMCA modified dirt track car for 10 years. In the last few years, I have been involved with autocross and road course racing events.  I have been married to my wife, Lorie, for 28 years and we have two children, Kaila (16) and Landon (13). I also enjoy the outdoors and hiking. Please check out my shop's page at

No comments yet...

Sign in to comment