Changing your vehicle’s air filter is an extremely easy way to save $30 or so per year versus having a mechanic or auto dealership do the same thing. And the great thing is, it literally takes about 5 minutes to do. I have been quoted between $35-40 for the parts (an air filter) and the labor from an auto shop to replace the air filter in my car.
That doesn’t sound bad on the surface, and if you’re not a DIYer or scared of opening your car’s hood, you might jump at something like that. Don’t! I was able to purchase the exact same air filter at a local auto parts store for $7 and replace it in minutes.
I’ll show you how to replace your air filter.
Steps to Replace an Air Filter in a Vehicle
- Find the air filter housing. It is shaped like a round pan in older vehicles or a square box in newer ones (your manual will show you what it looks like if you’re not sure). You’ll have to un-screw or un-latch the housing to open it.
- Pull out the old filter. Look for dirt. If it’s a brown or dark grey color, it probably needs to be replaced. If it’s white a light grey or yellow, it probably still has some life left in it.
- Vacuum or wipe out the filter housing. To remove any dirt/debri and allow for air flow.
- Pop the new air filter in and re-latch the housing.
You’re done! If you do it once, it shouldn’t take more than a minute or two to be able to do it again.
How Often Should you Change an Air Filter?
It’s usually recommended that you change the air filter every 12-15 months. I put a recurring calendar reminder to do it every year.
Why Do you Need to Change the Air Filter?
The auto’s engine breathes through the air filter, which filters out dirt and other nasty stuff so that it can’t reach the engine. Replacing it can result in improved gas mileage and quicker acceleration.
How to Change Air Filter Video
Here’s a very simple and easy to follow video on how to change your car’s air filter:
Auto Maintenance Discussion:
- Have you changed your car’s air filter before?
- Did it surprise you how easy it was?
- What other auto maintenance do you do on your own?
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I changed my own air filter once. It was going okay except the lid to the housing was very hard to replace. Fortunately, when you’re a cute girl in the parking lot of an AutoZone, it’s easy to get someone to give you a hand. I’ll give it another try one of these days, but only if there are people around.
When you are in there spend an extra couple bucks for a high quality filter. The paper type restrict airflow and kill gas mileage. A good dry flow filter can be had for a about $50 bucks but never needs to be replaced, just cleaned. You will easily make up the extra $$ by increased gas mileage as well.
People tend to over think cars.
Air filter, spark plugs, and oil are all easy enough that we should do on our own (oil can be tough if you don’t have a place to do it).
Even brakes are pretty darn easy!
I buy my filters from Auto Zone or O’Relley’s and the employees always help me out by doing it for me…sometimes being a girl kicks butt. And I’m just a friendly, overweight married lady…those guys are just really nice.
Umm I don’t know if the air filter has EVER been replaced in my car. Oops!
Air filters are quite easy to change. Once you know how to do it, you don’t have to pay a mechanic to do it. Besides, these filters are also available cheaply. A good way to maintain your car is to replace it every 15,000 miles. And do not, at any cost, use wrong sized filer. Efficiency of your engine would drop considerably. A very good article Miller.
Very helpful post – especially with the video. I am going to see if I can do this in my car. I’m interested in learning more about DIY car items (that are pretty easy) since that is an easy way to save $$. I definitely would rather spend the $35-40 on something else.
Perfect timing! I think it’s about time I change mine and I was planning on taking it this weekend but I guess if I could just learn from here that save me some $!
Yeah, this is a great tip. People say changing your own oil can save you lots of money instead of taking them to places like Jiffy Lube. Yet this statement is true, changing your own oil is not as easy as you think if you don’t have the right equipment and an easy to use lift or jack. But in the case with air filter, I believe anyone can do this, even if you have no experience with tools whatsoever. I always replace my own air filter and it’s the easiest thing in the world. Great article and a great reminder.
Try going to your local military base. They have jacks and lifts that you can rent by the hour or 1/2 hour.
@ I have a hard time seeing the cost savings of changing your own oil. When you price out 5 quarts, a filter, and the tools needed to do it, it actually ends up being close to or more than having a local mechanic do it for $20 or so. Not to mention the time involved in doing it.
Thanks for the article-I forgot about that.It’s definatly time to change it-because I’ve owned the van for 1 year & 3 months now & it’s never been changed since I bought it.
The job of the air filter is to deliver 10000 gallons of clean air to the engine for every gallon of gas burned to enter the engine. When outside air flows through it, it becomes filled with pollen, dust and debris. A clean air air filter filters the dust particles from the air and allows the clean air to flow through the engine. But over the time the filtering capacity reduces and a clogged air filter won’t allow enough air to enter the engine and this can affect the overall performance of car. Here your blog tell the way to replace the car air filter by own. Still I can say that if someone is not sure enough to do the task then he should take the help of an expert for doing the same task because a clean air filter not only boosts the engine performance but also prolongs the life span of car engine. Thank you.
Thanks for highlighting the factors which should be taken into consideration while changing the air filter in the car. Different types of filters used in the vehicle including the air filter should be subjected to inspection and any signs which indicates that the air filter is clogged or damaged should not be ignored. The condition of different types of filters should be inspected regularly and clogged and damaged filters need to be replaced in time.