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J&B Auto Tool News

What Is an Engine Air FIlter? Here's What You Should Know

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Contrary to what some people believe, cars don't contain just one air filter. Rather, most modern cars have two air filters: one for the cabin air and another for the engine air. The cabin air filter is designed to remove dirt, dust and other impurities from the air as it enters your car's cabin, allowing you and your passengers to breathe a little more clearly. So, what's the purpose of the engine air filter?

Engine Air Filter Explained

Typically found between the air resonator box and your car's engine, the engine air filter is a paper or metal filter that's designed to remove dirt, dust and other impurities from the air as it enters the engine's combustion chamber. Air flows into the resonator box before entering a separate compartment, known as an air intake box, in which a filter is housed. As the air flows through the filter, the filter catches micro-sized particulate matter, preventing those impurities from entering your engine's combustion chamber.

All combustion gas engines need three things to function: fuel, spark and air. Fuel is fed to the engine via a fuel pump that pulls it from your car's tank. Spark is generated by the spark plugs residing in the cylinder head. And air is provided by the air resonator and intake boxes, the latter of which contains a filter to clean the air before it enters your engine's combustion chamber.

Signs You Need to Change Your Engine Air Filter

It's recommended that you replace your car's engine filter according to your owner's manual. Depending on the type of car you drive, the manufacturer may recommend changing your engine air filter every 20,000 to 50,000 miles under normal driving conditions. If you frequently drive on dirt roads or other areas with high levels of airborne particulate matter, though, you should change your engine air filter more frequently.

If your car's engine air filter is overdue for changing, you may notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Poor gas mileage
  • Check engine light (CEL)
  • Engine misfiring
  • Black exhaust smoke
  • Lower horsepower
  • Strong odor of gasoline
  • Failing catalytic converter

If you discover any of these symptoms, consider replacing your car's engine air filter. It's an inexpensive component that most drivers can replace themselves. Of course, you can also take your car to a professional mechanic to have the engine air filter changed. Either way, it's important to maintain a clean engine air filter so that dirt, dust and other impurities don't make their way into your engine's combustion chamber.

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How Coolant-Regulating Thermostats Fail (And What You Should Do About It)

Located between the radiator and engine, the thermostat plays an important role in regulating the flow of coolant. During startup, the thermostat will remain closed, thereby restricting the flow of coolant to your car's engine. As the coolant heats up, however, the thermostat will open (usually around 200 degrees Fahrenheit), allowing coolant to flow into [...]

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The Beginner's Guide to Engine Mounts

Also known as motor mounts, engine mounts play an important role in the function of modern-day automotive engines. Regardless of what type of vehicle you drive, it probably has motor mounts. The purpose of these small metal and rubber pieces is to absorb vibrations created by the engine, thereby allowing for a smoother and more [...]

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6 Signs Your Car Needs New Shocks or Struts

Your car's shocks or struts are an essential component of its suspension system. Found between the wheels and the chassis, they are designed to absorb bumps to create a smoother, safer driving experience. Neither shocks nor struts will last forever, though. Most cars require new shocks or struts about once every five years. So, how [...]

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How to Protect Your Car's Paint From Fading

Over time, your car's paint paint may fade to a lighter tone. This is phenomenon is primarily the result of oxidation causes by oxygen, moisture and sunlight. As these elements come into contact with your car, they cause the paint to break down and degrade, resulting in a lighter tone. While you can't control the [...]

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The Importance of a Pressurized Cooling System: What You Should Know

Most cars, trucks and SUVs manufactured within the past 20 years have a pressurized cooling system. Consisting of a radiator, radiator cap, hoses, fans and a water pump, it's responsible for transferring heat away from the engine and out through the front of the radiator via the fans. Modern automotive cooling systems contain coolant that [...]

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5 Tips to Prevent Your Car Windows From Fogging Up

Maintaining clear, clean windows is important when driving. If your car's windows fog up, it may lower your visibility and increase your risk of getting into an accident. While you can't control the humidity, there are ways to prevent your car's windows from fogging up, beginning with the five tips listed here.#1) Don't Recirculate AirMost [...]

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The 3 Leading Causes of Engine Backfiring

Engine backfiring is a common problem that millions of car owners have encountered while driving. Defined as the combustion of fuel and air outside the engine -- typically in the air intake or exhaust -- it creates a loud popping sound that's often accompanied with black smoke out the tailpipe. If you've noticed these signs [...]

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Why Does My Car's Steering Wheel Wobble?

Does your car's steering wheel wobble? Some level of play is normal, especially when driving on bumpy or otherwise uneven roads. But if you discover your car's steering wheel wobbling more than 1 inch to the left and right sides, there's usually an underlying problem to blame. The first step to fixing this handling issue [...]

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5 Signs You Need to Replace Your Vehicle's Control Arms

Control arms are an important component of your vehicle's suspension. Typically featuring an A-shaped design, they connect the chassis of your vehicle to its suspension. Whether your vehicle has struts or shocks, it uses control arms to connect the suspension to the chassis. Over time, however, the bushings, joints and other parts of the control [...]

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