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4 Easy steps to clean your cars air filter

Modified On Mar 27, 2015 01:16 PM By Abhijeet

There are two most important things your car feeds on, fuel and air. The engine takes in fuel and air in the cylinders and burns them to create necessary power to get your car moving.  But what is most critical is that only air and fuel goes in the cylinders pulling along dust, grim and impurities that can be disastrous for critical engine components and you may end up paying massive bills. The car’s air filter is the one filtering dust and impurities from the air going into the engine through the intakes. A dirty and clogged air filter means your car is not getting enough air to burn along with fuel, which means inefficient burning in the chamber.

Imagine yourself walking steady, breathing slowly increases right. Now start taking longer strides and you observe that breathing too increases and you start inhaling and exhaling more vigorously than when you were walking. Finally start running and you notice that you need to open your mouth to breathe now. Ditto is what happens to your car. Similar breathing is needed when a car is sitting at ideal, been driven at normal city speeds and fast highway runs. The air filter on your vehicle does not instantly get dirty, but takes gradual time as you drive every day. Thus, it becomes imperative your car needs a clean free breathing air filter sucking in air to be delivered to the engine.

Cleaning an air filter is a very easy task indeed. And it is just not about getting your fingernails dirty, most of us are usually bored of such exercises. Trust us, you don’t even have to bend or kneel to clean an air filter as it conveniently sits on top of the engine. Sure you might think that it is just an object that will be replaced on the next service, but does it even need replacement? Regular commuters should be more concerned about the condition of their engine which they proudly use everyday boasting how fuel efficient it is. But remember, it may be more fuel efficient if you take care of it a bit more.

Know your car’s air filter

Firstly, you must know that many types of air filters, but the most normally found on regular everyday cars is the paper type air filter. Other filters are mostly aftermarket replacements as foam type, oil bath type and high performance filters. The word ‘paper’ in the paper type filters does not mean tissue paper in your bathroom, but is technically engineered pleated paper. The surface area on the filter is further increased, thus the jagged shape, to capture more dust in the folds.

1. Locate and Remove Your Air Filter:

Your car’s manual might come handy to exactly locate the air filter in your car. It usually sits inside a plastic air box on the top of the engine just underneath the bonnet. The filter is easy to access, by opening the air box either with a wing nut or a couple of clamps. The filter is a jagged paper mesh that you can simply pull out.

2. Cleaning:

You can either wash the air filter, or perhaps vacuum clean it if you have one. To wash the filter, take it out and place it in a bucket with soapy water solution. Slide, swivel and swish it around in the bucket and pull it out. Shake the filament to get as much water out as possible.

You can put it on a towel to dry it or set it outside in sunlight for some time to be sure it is absolutely dry. Be advised, putting even a slightly wet filter back in the engine might cause serious damage to critical components. If however, you plan to vacuum clean the filter filament, run the vacuum over it on both the sides. Look closely and clean as much dirt and dust off it as possible. The method of vacuuming might not pull out as many contaminants from the filament, but it is a quicker approach and you won't be doing any possible harm to the air filter.

3. Clean the air box:

Now it’s not just cleaning the air filter filament, but you also have to clean the air box in which the filament resides. Use a soft rag or paper towel to clean the box and leave absolutely nothing in the there at all. If you did use a wet towel, ensure the box is completely dry before putting the filter back in.

4.Reinstall filter:

Gently place back the air filter in the air canister and reverse the process you followed to open it. You can save some money by this simple process that can be done in 10 minutes at home. Ohh and if you do happen to replace the air filter, just follow this process again with the cleaning bit!

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