Coughing/Spitting Noises from Engine
If you notice coughing or spitting type noise when your car is stopped in traffic, this is a good sign that your car's engine is not receiving adequate airflow and that the air filter needs to be changed.
Other symptoms are potential ignition problems caused by fouled spark plugs. A dirty air filter prevents the necessary volume of clean air form reaching the engine which affects the emission control systems of the car; reducing air flow and causing a too rich air-fuel mixture which can foul the spark plugs. Fouled spark plugs can create an engine miss, rough idle and even starting problems. In addition, a too rich fuel mixture increases engine deposits which may even cause the Service Engine Soon light
How to Check
A brand new air filter will generally appear white to off white. A visual inspection of an air filter may reveal that the air filter has become darkened or full of debris/ A visual inspection of an air filter may reveal that the air filter has become darkened or full of debris. However, an air filter can become clogged with dust and even pollen that may not be easily seen. Therefore, most car manufacturers recommend replacement every 12,000 to 15,000 miles regardless of whether or not the air filter appears to be clean. Cars driven in dusty or frequent stop and go conditions will require a more frequent check and replacement of the air filter.
Pay attention to the average gas mileage your vehicle is getting. A common sign of a dirty/bad air filter is a decrease in gas mileage. By keeping a clean, effective air filter, you are able to save on fuel expenses.
Most car manufacturers recommend replacement every 12,000 to 15,000 miles regardless of whether or not the air filter appears to be clean.
How to Install
Changing on air filter is relatively easy and inexpensive. The air filter is located near the top driver's side of the engine in a rectangular shaped plastic housing that either snaps or screws shut on most new cars. Older cars with carburetors usually have a circular shaped air filter located in a metal housing on top of the engine that fastens with a wing nut. Make certain to use the correct air filter replacement for your make and model of car.
In some situations, a clean air filter will improve gas mileage by as much as 14% and may increase acceleration by up to 11% depending on the make and model of car. This translates to a potential per gallon fuel savings of up to 15 cents. Learning how to tell if your car air filter needs changing will help you keep your car running properly and ultimately save money on gas and repairs.
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein.