Overland Park Auto Repair

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What are the Signs of a Dirty Air Filter?

The air filter is that component that allows the engine to receive as much clean air as possible to run effectively. It's the final barrier as air and gasoline come together to create the combustion needed to get the car going. Knowing when the air filter needs replacing can save you time and money on future repairs.

The Engine Misfires

Dirty air filters can cause soot and debris to accumulate in the engine, which collects on the spark plugs. When the engine needs to fire up, the spark plug is unable to connect the charge which means it misfires. While it's possible to just dust the spark plugs, the dirt will accumulate again if the air filter isn't changed.

Decreased Fuel Economy

Fuel injection does much to counter the effect a dirty air filter has on fuel economy. However, older models that still rely on carburetor engines require a decent amount of air intake to allow for combustion to take place. When the filter is dirty, the engine needs to compensate for the lack of oxygen by using more fuel.

The Filter Looks Dirty

A filter that's not white or cream-colored can be assumed to be dirty. Telltale signs include debris accumulating in between the filter sleeves, or a stained filter. Not all debris is visible, which is why regular servicing and replacement are important.

A Smelly Start

The smell of gasoline when you start the engine is a dead giveaway that the air filter is dirty. This is because oxygen is needed to burn up all the fuel in the engine. A dirty air filter prevents enough oxygen from coming in. The remaining fuel that's not burned up will leave the car through the exhaust system, which causes the gasoline smell.

Engine Noise

While engine noise can be caused by a number of things, a sound that resembles coughing usually indicates that the air filter needs to be changed. This coughing sound is often accompanied by a vibration in the engine bay and is noticeable when the car is idling.

If you need air filter replacement, give our auto repair shop a call today!