How Long Should an Air Filter Last in a Car?

Learn how often you should change your car's air filter and what signs indicate that it needs replacing.

How Long Should an Air Filter Last in a Car?

As a general rule, most drivers should be able to go a year or two before needing to replace their car's air filter. The average recommended length of service is 10,000 to 15,000 miles, which for most people is approximately every year. However, this is just a recommendation and doesn't take into account individual driving situations. To keep your car running smoothly, it's important to stay on top of preventive maintenance.

Access all the information you need about your vehicle on your mobile device and get quick service quotes, find service recommendations, and access current and previous services for your vehicle. Let the team at your local Jiffy Lube provide preventive and routine maintenance to help your car, SUV, minivan, or truck perform as designed. This way, small problems can be corrected before they become expensive repairs. In addition to blog posts, Tips in a Jiffy has videos with tips for car care.

Here are some tips on how often to change the car air filter: the air filter should be changed approximately every 6,000 to 10,000 miles, and ideally at the same time as changing the oil. At a minimum, you should have it inspected. A clean air filter will help the engine run better; in newer cars, it can increase acceleration by up to 11% and in older cars it can improve mileage by up to 14%. If you drive with a lot of traffic on a regular basis or if you drive around town a lot and spend a lot of time exploring dirt roads, you may need to change your air filter more often than someone who drives infrequently and usually on the sidewalk.

A good sign that the air filter needs to be replaced is the presence of black smoke that comes out of the exhaust pipes when the engine is started. When you take your car to the mechanic, they can do a quick scan to see what's causing the problem and they'll tell you if it's an air filter problem. Over time, as dust and dirt build up, the air filter will darken and dirt will become noticeable. Regardless of these guidelines, since air filters can wear out at different speeds, you should be aware of symptoms that indicate that the air filter is reaching the end of its useful life.

If you're coughing or crackling, or if you vibrate excessively when you turn the engine, you'll most likely need to order a new air filter. Technicians love this kind of thing and will be happy to help you first decide how often to change your car's air filter and then replace it with a new filter based on the manufacturer's recommendations. By providing a clean air flow to the engine, an air filter ensures that the engine receives the correct amount of air needed to operate at its maximum level. Other signs that the air filter is affecting the performance of your car are a sudden movement when accelerating or because it doesn't respond as well as it should. Keep in mind that if you're driving in a sandy or dusty area, you may need to change the filter more often than recommended for your vehicle.

You're going to have to drive a lot with stops and starts which places more demands on your car and will also cause the air filter to get dirty faster. If you've recently noticed that you have to fill your gas tank more often than usual, it's probably time to check your air filter.

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