How to Change an Automobile Air Filter
Saving money is a large part of the way many Americans are being forced to live in today’s economy. Taking care of your car is not an easy task if you do not have the experience or tools required for maintenance although it is necessary to keep your car running well and on the road. Most of us rely on quick oil change places such as Valvoline Instant Oil Change or our dealerships to care for our vehicles. The cost of these services has increased over the last ten years and it is making it more difficult and costly to take your vehicle in for minor maintenance.
Taking control of maintenance not requiring special tools or skills can help reduce the overall cost of required maintenance for a vehicle. The following will show you the steps of replacing an air filter on a car. Not all air filters will be the same and some may require a screwdriver, wrench, or pliers, but for the most part this is a simple, yet essential, procedure you can do to improve the performance of your vehicle and keep it running longer. Check your owner’s manual for the specifics on your vehicles maintenance requirements.
Changing the Air Filter on a Ford Taurus
NOTE: Parts books are available at most locations where air filters are sold. Be prepared to look up the make (Ford, Chevy, etc.), model (Taurus, Cavalier, etc.), and year of your vehicle in one of the parts books at the store. Or you can take your old filter with you to the store to find a match.
Step 2: Once at home, park your car and pop the hood. Allow your engine to cool before changing the air filter. This will help reduce the risk of injury to the person performing the maintenance especially if they are not as experienced.
Step 3: Locate your air filter. It will be non-metallic and located near the top of the engine. In a Taurus it is located slightly off to the right on the top of the engine.
NOTE: Some older vehicles such as an American made truck may have a round air filter (shaped like a huge doughnut) and is held on with a wing nut. Other vehicles may require you to remove long screws that hold the air filter box closed.
Step 4: Once the air filter box is located you will need to determine if you require any tools. A flat head screw driver, pliers, or a Phillips head screw driver may be needed to open the box. On many models the box is held closed with self-releasing clamps. Simply open the latch and the box will begin to open. On a Taurus the air filter box is held closed with two clamps and can be opened without any tools.
Step 5: Remove the old air filter. It should be covered with dirt and grime. Properly dispose of the filter in the garbage.
Step 6: Clean out any debris in the air filter box. Larger pieces sucked into the air intake such as leaves and litter will be caught here.
Step 7: Remove the new filter from the packaging material.
NOTE: Higher end filters may be coated with oil or some other substance to help trap dust and particles more efficiently. You may want to wear gloves while handling an oil coated air filter.
Step 8: Insert the new filter in the air filter container making sure the filter fits securely in place.
Step 9: Replace the lid and close the latch (or replace the screws) as necessary.
The job is complete. Make sure to change your air filter about every 12,000 miles or 12 months or as often as recommended by the manufacture. A clean air filter will help your vehicle run more efficiently and last longer.
Replacing the filter on your own can save you more than double your money. Next time the mechanic says you need an new air filter, simply say “Thanks! I’ll look into that later.” Changing a vehicle’s air filter is like changing the windshield wipers: simple to do and will save you some money when you do it on your own.
Do you have any car care tips? Feel free to post suggestions on how to improve your vehicles performance without spending a lot of money.