How do I know if my air filter is clogged?

How do I know if my air filter is clogged?

Your air filter plays a big part in how your entire engine functions. The filter clean bugs bits, dirt, allergens, and other debris from the incoming air before it gets into the car. But, as the air filter gets dirtier over time, waste builds up on the filter itself and, eventually, the system loses the capacity to clean the air. When this happens, debris can go through the filter and wreak havoc on your engine. If these impurities are sucked into the combustion chamber, the whole engine may fail. If you’re worried about your air filter getting clogged up here are a few “red flags” to look for:

Decreased Fuel Efficiency

You should always pay attention to decreases in your car’s gas mileage as that can be indicative of a whole host of problems. For air filter problems in particular, your engine will compensate for the lower amounts of oxygen coming in by consuming more fuel, in order to produce enough power. If you notice an alarming increase in your fuel usage, give your mechanic a call.

Strange Sounds

When you first turn the engine on, before you start moving, you should always sense the smooth hum of an efficient engine. If your engine does not start up easily, it may be due to a dirty air filter. An unclean air filter will prevent proper airflow to the engine which, in turn, causes an overly rich air-fuel blend. Highly concentrated air-fuel mixtures can pollute the spark plugs, which will cause your engine to misfire or miss completely. This is most noticeable when your car idles roughly and you have problems starting the engine.
If you notice your car is vibrating, or you hear a coughing or slipping sound, this could be an indication of rough idling. A rough idle is often the result of a damaged spark plug resulting from a clogged air filter.

Service Engine Light

Your engine combines thousands of gallons of air with one gallon of gasoline to power your car. Inadequate airflow can cause deposits to accumulate in the engine, which may eventually trigger your service engine light. If this light comes on, you should check your air filter to see if it is dirty and needs replacing.

At V&F

If your air filter needs cleaning or replacement, V&F can help! Our expert mechanics use latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to get your brakes back in shape. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Nicole Palange