How to check your car's air filter

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You may never think to check your car's air filter, but a dirty air filter will decrease your gas mileage. AAA's Allan Stanley shows how to locate, clean and properly replace your car's air filter.

How to check your car's air filter

Check your air filter every time you change your oil. A dirty air filter can lead to poor gas mileage.

  1. To get access to the filter element, you'll need to open the air filter housing. Some have simple clips, and others require a screwdriver to loosen the fasteners. Simply unsnap the clips — or unscrew the fasteners — on the housing, push it forward, and gain access to the air filter.
  2. Remove the air filter and inspect it. You're just looking for dirt or debris that was picked up from the road.
  3. If yours has just a little bit of dust, bang it out (gently) with the back of your hand. If it appears that your filter has an excess of dirt, run your hand across it, and if your hand comes up dirty, it's time to replace the air filter.
  4. Replace the filter right-side-up and close and secure its housing.
Transcript Hi, I’m Allan Stanley for howdini.com.  Today we’ll be checking the air filter.  This particular one has clips.  Some require a screwdriver to loosen and fasten.  Simply snap the clips on this housing, push it forward, and gain access to the air filter.  Remove the air filter and inspect it.  Basically you’re just looking for dirt or debris that’s been picked up alongside the road.  That’s the purpose of an air filter.  This one just has a little bit of dust so we’ll just bang it out with the back of our hand.  Now, if it appears your air filter has an excess of dirt, run your hand across it, and if your hand comes up dirty it is time to replace that air filter.  You want to check your air filter every time you change your oil.  
A dirty air filter can lead to poor gas mileage. I’m Allan Stanley for howdini.com.  
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  • Allan Stanley

    Allan Stanley Manager, Technical Training and Research, AAA Allan Stanley is the Manager of Technical Training and Research for AAA. Stanley is an Automotive Service Excellence, Master Certified Auto Technician and has extensive experience in many facets of the automotive repair industry. He serves as Vice President of the Automotive Managers Training Council. more about this expert »

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