Replacing an air filter in your car is an important part of regular maintenance. Depending on the manufacturer and driving conditions, the filter may need to be changed every 15,000 miles, every two years, or every 30,000 miles. To determine the recommended interval for your vehicle, consult the maintenance program section of the owner's manual. If you're looking for a quick fix, try brushing dirt off the surface and turning the filter 180 degrees to expose the cleaned area to the main airflow.
You can also head to your local auto parts store and look up the make, model and year of the vehicle in the air cleaner parts directory or ask for help. The easiest way to know for sure how often to change your engine air filter is to consult the manufacturer's recommended service interval. You can also stop by an auto parts store after work or pick up an air filter while shopping at a Super Walmart. If you drive most of the time in dusty or dirty environments, you may need to change your filter more frequently than recommended.
A dirty engine air filter will usually look dirty with dirt, dust, or stains visible within the folds. If a clogged filter reduces the amount of air entering, those controls reduce the amount of fuel accordingly to maintain the proper mix of driving, emissions, and other factors. This can lead to decreased fuel consumption. If venting the folds of the air filter by hand causes dirt to fly away and leaves your hand dirty, it's time to replace it.
Filters come in different sizes and shapes specific to certain vehicles, so there's no one size fits all. More expensive air filters will generally be reusable, which is great for the environment. A good indication that the air filter needs to be replaced is black smoke coming from the exhaust pipes when you start the engine. Replacing the cabin air filter regularly helps people with severe allergies in areas with a lot of trees.
So make sure you check your car's air filter regularly and replace it when necessary.