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How often air filter is changed?

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Air filter as a name itself is self-explanatory; this particular part plays a vital role in your car’s engine performance and its life. And because of its seemingly ‘small’ existence in your car compared to other priority devices, it is often ignored. Giving a thrust to forget the air filter is its comparatively lower cost of replacement too.

But, if you know its ‘job profile’, you may start loving it. 

Your car engine needs air – Clean Oxygen to complete the combustion process, to power your vehicle. Given Dubai’s, UAE’s or other neighboring GCC countries humid and dusty condition, there is a challenge compared to European countries. And so the role of an air filter in GCC is much more important than say a car in Paris or in Zurich; the air has much more dust and debris, and the air filter of your car will have to be cleaned or changed at a frequency that is much more than is usually the norm. A clogged air filter will not only affect the fuel economy, but it can/will reduce performance in terms of acceleration. 

So, keep the following in mind:

  1. The frequency of changing the air filter definitely varies from car to car. While the norm is to change it after 20,000 to 40,000 kilometres, if you live in sandy areas like Ras al-Khaimah or Hatta, then its best to get the filter changed after 10,000 to 20,000 kilometres. If you live in places like Dubai or Abu Dhabi, then 20,000 to 40,000 kilometres is good enough. And if you go by time, then, if your car is older than two years, you probably should get a new one now. 
  2. An ideal rule of thumb is to change the air filter at least once a year. Also, it is a good practice to check the air filter from time to time, especially when checking the engine oil. Mainly because, the need for change of oil is driven by the same conditions as with the need for changing the filter – car periodic service.  
  3. You can check the condition of the air filter on your own. Car owner’s manual will help you locate the air filter’s location and ‘plucking’ it out of the car requires plain common sense. In most cars, it is made of pleated paper-like material with the rubber frame. Once out, rely on visual inspection. If the filter is white, no need to change. If it is slightly dirty, even then there is no need to change. In fact, it works more efficiently. If you see only a slight layer of dirt, you just have to clean it up by blowing air or tapping it few times on the floor. However if the air filter is ‘caked’ or turned completely black or choked with dirt then you definitely need to change it immediately.

Remember, if your mechanic tells you to change the air filter every time you visit him, it is time to change him and not the filter. Thankfully, in this part of the world, cars are well maintained and the service adviser usually checks the filter when you get the car serviced.

If you need more help, or need specific answer for any question then try the ‘Carnity Forum’ (http://carnity.com/)  or find car businesses near you with the Carnity ‘Business listing’ (http://carnity.com/business_listing) section.

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