by Pat Goss
Much like modern cars, air filters have come a long way; they filter better and last longer. But, they still need to be serviced or you may be sorry.
Nearly every part on a modern car is different than it was on an old car, even the basic things. Take the air filter, for instance. Back in the day, if you had a dirty or clogged up air filter, well it meant that you were wasting gas because it choked the engine. Well, today that doesn’t apply, even if you have one like what we have here; this one has some rodent debris built up on the under side of it, pretty well clogged up. And that might affect performance, but it’s not going to affect fuel economy. Reason is, that once the air passes through the filter, it goes into this unit – right here is a mass air flow sensor. This unit has a piece down in the air flow and it senses the amount of air moving past it. Well, it takes a signal from that amount of moving air, sends it to the computer, the computer, in turn, matches the amount of fuel being delivered into the engine to the amount of air going into it. So as air flow is reduced by degree in the air filter, fuel is reduced by the mass air flow sensor. So you don’t waste fuel.
But, you should check your air filter on a regular basis; some of them get really bad like this. In a situation like what we have here, the car would have performance problems, and yeah, it might waste some fuel – it’s going to barely run. What we want to do is we want to check the air filter a couple times a year; this is a brand new one of course. We’re looking for debris down in the fleets of the filter, and once we start to see a noticeable build up, replace it.
Alright, there’s a second filter we have on cars that can cost us a lot of money; this is a cabin air filter. It filters all of the air that goes to the inside of the car. Now how does it cost us money? Well, once it gets clogged up, the heater or the air conditioner may not work properly and if this isn’t the first thing that’s checked, well you may spend money on unnecessary repairs.
So, if you have a heating or air conditioning problem, check the cabin air filter and replace it, if necessary. Now, they automatically have to be replaced every couple of years, and in some cases it might be as frequently as every six months. That’s dependent on how much dirt you have around the car. You could check it a couple times a year, replace as necessary. And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.