Car Maintenance Guide - Your Car Air Filter

6 things you should know before changing your car air filter

All cars have a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system that allows you to have heating and air-conditioning in your car. In part of this system, there is an air filter that removes pollen, dust, and debris from the air before it’s released into your car’s cabin. This function is particularly helpful when you want to use your air conditioning in the summer and your heater in the winter. It’s a part of our cars we don’t think of too often and we need to make sure that we change our air filters when necessary in order for them to work effectively. We’ve put together a little list of things you might want to know about your car air filter and how to keep it maintained.

An Air Conditioning vent in a Car

The history of the car air filter

Before 2000, most vehicles didn’t have air filters in their heating system which resulted in dust and debris blowing through from time to time. Only expensive upmarket cars had them and they were considered to be a luxury, rather than a basic component of the car. Nowadays, most cars have air filters fitted as a standard requirement, so it has become more important to keep it maintained.

What are air filters made from?

Most car air filters are made from five layers of thick fleece like material as it allows the filter to absorb particles as small as 0.001 microns. For context, a single strand of hair is around 100 microns. This shows just how well air filters can catch debris and dust which results in clean air being let into your car’s cabin.

When should I change my car air filter?

Knowing the exact time to change your air filter will vary between different car manufacturers. For example, a 2016 Ford Focus family hatchback should be changed every 15,000 to 20,000 miles. Ford also suggest changing it more frequently than that if regular passengers or drivers of the car suffer from allergies. Another example is BMW who recommend changing their vehicles air filters whenever the engine oil is due to be changed. If you’re unsure about when to change it, then you can always check your car’s handbook. Alternatively, most garages will check it and change it if necessary during your regular service.

Where can I find the right air filter for my car?

Sourcing the right part for your car is fairly straightforward as it can be done online. You can use your registration plate number or your chassis number to see which air filter is the right size for your vehicle. If your local garage is changing your air filter for you, then they’ll make sure they get the right part for you.

How do I change my car’s air filter?

Changing your air filter can be easy or hard but it depends on your car manufacturer and where they’ve put it inside your car. Before you start you should refer to your car’s handbook to see where the air filter is located. Most air filters are located behind the glove box – you can access the air filter if you depress a couple of catches. This will drop the glove box out of the way and you should be able to access your air filter which is sometimes pulled out on a tray. You can then remove the older air filter and replace it with the new one. It’s really simple to do, but if you need any advice or help with changing your car air filter, then your local garage should be able to help.

What should I do if I can’t change the air filter myself?

Some air filters are located in the engine bay which requires more time, effort and equipment. If you’re unsure you should take your car to a local garage where a mechanic can replace the air filter for you.

At Busby Stoop Garage, we provide help, advice and guidance on all mechanical maintenance issues. If you’re unsure about your car air filter or any other component relating to your heating, air conditioning or any other system in your car, check out our blog for tips or book your car in for a free visual inspection or health check.