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National Car Care Month: Change Your Air Filters in Spring

BY: Nikki Ayers
A mechanic holding up an example of a grey, dirty car cabin air filter and a clean, while cabin air filter.

When it comes to spring cleaning, don’t forget to include your vehicle! April is also one of two months designated by the Car Care Council to be a National Care Care Month, so what better way to complete your spring cleaning checklist than with some routine car maintenance? And one of the simplest car care tips you can follow during National Car Care Month or any time of the year is checking your car’s air filters.

By changing out or cleaning old, dirty air filters in your vehicle, you can improve your fuel economy and performance while helping you have a comfortable ride.

What Are Air Filters?

An air filter in a car is designed to filter out contaminants and allow fresh air to enter a specific component or area, though the most notable air filters are for your engine or cabin. 

What Is a Car’s Cabin Air Filter?

A cabin air filter in your car is designed to get rid of contaminants and allergens in the air used for your heating and air conditioner. The cabin air filter is usually located in the glove box and will affect the air quality and airflow of your vehicle’s HVAC vents.

What Is a Car’s Engine Air Filter?

While a cabin air filter deals with your car’s cabin, an engine air filter filters out pollutants and contaminants from the air brought into your engine. This is because clean air is needed for combustion for an engine to operate efficiently. The engine air filter is usually located at one end of your intake tubing that connects to your throttle body, though it’s always best to check with your owner’s manual to learn exactly where your car’s cabin and engine air filters are.

Signs of a Bad Cabin Air Filter

A bad cabin air filter can cause a few different issues that will be noticeable when driving your vehicle with the air conditioning or heating on. And just as the air filters in your home do, cabin air filters can become dirty or clogged due to months of stopping pollutants from entering your vehicle. So if you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, you may have a bad cabin air filter:

  • Less Airflow Coming From Vents
  • Unusual Odor Coming From Climate Control System
  • Unusual Noises and/or Increased Fan Noises
  • Foggy Windows
  • Heating or Cooling Issues

Replacing a cabin air filter is a cheap way to ensure your vehicle’s HVAC system does not have to work harder than it needs to. A dirty or bad cabin air filter can cause major damage to vital components if left untended. For example, per RepairPal, a cabin air filter replacement for an F-150 can cost between $65 and $74. For smaller cars, such as a Honda Civic, you can expect to pay a little less, averaging around $41 to $49 for a cabin air filter replacement.

Signs of a Bad Engine Air Filter

A bad engine air filter can cause various issues that will be noticeable when driving your vehicle regardless of your speed. If left untreated, these can eventually lead to some costly repairs. So to help avoid any troubles, your car’s engine air will need to be cleaned or replaced as a part of your car’s preventative maintenance schedule, which you can often find in your car’s owner’s manual. 

Overall, engine air filters can become clogged by pollutants, causing any of the following symptoms:

  • Decreased Fuel Mileage
  • Engine Misfiring
  • Check Engine Light Illuminates
  • Poor Vehicle Performance
  • Black Smoke From Exhaust Pipe
  • Strong Smell of Gasoline/Fuel

Neglecting a bad engine air filter for too long can lead to many different problems. Your engine relies on good airflow to operate properly, and any restrictions can cause poor performance and rough acceleration. Replacing an air filter is an inexpensive way to keep your vehicle’s engine protected. For example, the average cost for an air filter replacement on a Toyota Camry is between $47 and $56, while a Chevy Tahoe would be looking at a cost falling between $70 and $92.

How to Change Your Car’s Air Filters

Changing your car’s air filters is a great way to keep up with routine vehicle maintenance and keep your car running at its best. And since a filter’s job is to block pollutants from entering your engine and cabin, they will need to be replaced as they will become dirty and clogged. 

If you like to DIY and save some money, follow the steps below to learn how you can change your car’s engine air filter and cabin air filter.

How to Change Your Cabin Air Filter

Changing a cabin air filter is relatively easy and usually requires minimal tools. Follow the steps below to learn how to do it yourself:

  1. Locate Your Cabin Air Filter Housing
  2. Open Up the Housing to Gain Access to the Old Cabin Air Filter
  3. Remove and Inspect the Old Filter
  4. Install Your New Cabin Air Filter & Reinstall Housing
  5. Turn On Your A/C System to Check for Proper Operation

How to Change an Engine Air Filter

Your engine air filter is a part that usually gets replaced during routine oil changes. It is a service most service centers provide for a small fee when doing routine vehicle maintenance. Whether you want to save some money or want to know how to change your engine air filter, you can use the following steps to get the job done:

  1. Locate Your Engine Air Filter Housing
  2. Open Up the Housing to Gain Access to the Old Engine Air Filter (May Require a Screwdriver)
  3. Remove and Inspect the Old Filter
  4. Install Your New Engine Air Filter & Reinstall Housing
  5. Turn On Your Vehicle to Check for Proper Operation.

Keep Up with Your Car’s Maintenance with Endurance

April is National Car Care Month, but you can treat every month in the same fashion to keep your used or new car running as long as possible. Staying up-to-date with regular maintenance services such as oil changes, tire pressure checks and changing air filters can ensure the best performance possible from your vehicle. Even getting a regular car wash can help you avoid potential issues such as rust or corrosion.

With the Advantage auto protection plan from Endurance, you can save up to $3,500 in yearly maintenance services and receive comprehensive breakdown protection. That means you can get vital services such as up to three oil and filter changes, engine diagnostic exams, tire rotations and more included—at no additional cost to you. You’ll even have the chance to enjoy several other special, one-time services like cooling system maintenance, a battery replacement or a front or rear windshield wiper replacement for even more coverage and savings.  

As a bonus, each Endurance auto protection plan also comes with a full year of Elite Benefits for just a small $20 activation fee, including perks and savings such as key fob replacements, up to two tire replacements or repairs, collision discounts and more. You’ll even be able to enjoy 24/7 roadside assistance, trip interruption coverage and rental car reimbursements for free, regardless of the Endurance plan you choose.

Request a free, no-obligation quote to learn more about how Endurance can help protect you and your vehicle from costly repairs and breakdowns. The Endurance blog can also be another great resource to find more informative articles on various topics such as expert auto tips, vehicle buyer’s guides, extended warranty coverage comparisons and much more.

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