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How often should you replace your oil and air filters?

It’s incredible how the majority of people will commit time to going to the gym 3 times a week, yet take months before replacing their cars’ oil filters or air filters. While you don’t need to follow any definite rules pertaining to how often you must change your filters, it’s imperative that you do it regularly. The amount time between changes should depend on the number of miles you drive and your driving conditions. After all, just as you regularly require a good workout, haircut or shower, your car requires consistent maintenance to ensure optimum functionality.

Benefits of regularly replacing oil filters

The oil filter essentially protects your car’s engine from internal abrasion, as well as against the resulting wear and tear. This is achieved by removing solid contaminants, including carbon, dirt and metal particles from the oil, which would otherwise cause damage to the surfaces of the cylinders, journals and bearings within the engine. It is therefore imperative that you replace the filters at regular intervals, guaranteeing their effectiveness in trapping the aforementioned contaminants.

While most auto manufacturers believe that replacing the oil filter at every other oil change is sufficient, this is not always the case, especially with the modern vehicles. The modern vehicles are manufactured with downsized oil filters in an attempt to save cost, weight and space. Consequently, the quart-sized oil filters have been replaced by the pint-sized ones, which have significantly reduced filtering capacity. This makes it even more important to regularly replace the oil filter, essentially maintaining competent engine integrity.

Why you should regularly replace your air filters

The importance of changing your air filter regularly cannot be overstated. Weary air filters ultimately lead to air restriction, which can easily result into your engine’s failure, overheating or even a cracked block. Worse still, a reduction in airflow could lead to elevated consumption of fuel, necessitating more stops at the gas station. The life expectancy of your air filter largely depends on the amount of crud it collects. While a slightly dirty air filter has more cleaning efficiency as compared to its brand new counterpart, it will eventually reach its saturation point, resulting into apparent pressure drop that restricts airflow. In essence, until you replace that dirty air filter, your car will exhibit noticeable emissions erode and poor performance, as well as fuel overuse.

Ideally, you should consider changing your air filters more frequently if you often drive in poor air quality conditions like rural settings, and less so if you are mostly driving through freeways or city driving. This is because rural areas are commonly associated with dusty roads among other airborne contaminates. Regardless of your driving conditions, you should consider performing a visual inspection of your filter after every 10,000-12,500 miles. In the event that you discover that everything looks okay, consider checking it once again after hitting 20,000-30,000 miles.

Over time, your car’s engine filters are bound to collect debris, dirt or even bugs. Regularly changing your air filter will ensure that your car performs optimally, while minimizing maintenance costs. However, replacing filters prematurely is among the most common car repair scams; some less scrupulous mechanics might try to sell you filters even when you don’t really need them. It is therefore crucial that you constantly consult with a qualified mechanic to get invaluable advice on when to replace your air filters and oil filters.

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