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Do I need a new air filter?

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Your car’s engine air filter prevents dust and debris from being ingested into the engine, keeping wear to a minimum. A dirty air filter could affect your fuel economy, as well as your car’s performance. In fact, a 2009 study through the U.S. Department of Energy, found that a dirty air filter can reduce acceleration by 6 to 11 percent. Left long enough, it can deteriorate and even result in damage to your engine.

So, how do you know when it’s time to install a new one? It depends. According to Cars.com, Chevrolet recommends most of its engines need an air filter change every 45,000 miles, many Fords need a change every 30,000 miles, and Hyundai also recommends every 30,000 miles. Additionally, most auto manufacturers recommend replacing the air filter more frequently if you drive in severe conditions like heavy traffic or lots of hot weather and dusty roads.

You can visually inspect your air filter periodically, especially if you’ve encountered the above severe conditions recently. Since the filters are white, dirt and debris will show up as black areas. If it’s really gray or black, it’s time for a change. Most are easy to reach in your vehicle, adds Cars.com, which notes that if you can’t find it, just consult your owner’s manual.

Even if your aid filter looks okay, if it's been more than three years or 30,000 miles since it was last changed, change it anyway, just to be on the safe side, adds Cars.com. If you don’t want to change it yourself, it’s standard procedure for your mechanic to check it and change it, if necessary, when you get your oil changed. The average time span between changes is generally one or two years, adds Cars.com.

Douglas Automotive : 123 E. Virginia, Crystal Lake, IL 815.356.0440 : 417 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL : 847. 381.0454 : 416 Northwest Highway, Fox River Grove, IL : 847.639.4552 : www.douglasautomotive.com

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