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Everything You Need to Know About Your Car’s Air Filters

Your vehicle’s air filters must be changed regularly to avoid costly car problems. Thankfully, this is a quick, easy, and affordable maintenance service. Many customers have questions about air filter changes, and the mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire are here to answer them. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about air filters.

How Many Air Filters Does My Car Have?

Most cars have two air filters: an engine air filter and a cabin air filter. As the names suggest, your engine air filter cleans the air circulating your engine—protecting it from bugs, dirt, dust, and other potentially harmful contaminants. Meanwhile, your cabin air filter cleans the air circulating within your cabin each time you use your car’s AC or heater. You can read more about the difference between engine and cabin air filters here.

How Often Should I Change My Engine Air Filter?

So when should you change your engine air filter? Generally speaking, your engine air filter will need to be replaced every 12,000-15,000 miles. However, this will depend on a wide variety of factors, including:

  • Vehicle and filter type: Most vehicles have different air filter sizes, shapes, and thicknesses, which may lead to different replacement schedules. Additionally, the brand or type of filter you get could also impact your replacement needs. 
  • Road composition: Dirt roads will kick up dust and other contaminants, which are quickly captured by your engine air filter. If you frequently drive on dirt roads, you will need more frequent air filter changes. 
  • Air quality: The air quality in your area will impact the number of contaminants your engine air filter picks up daily. For example, when your air becomes thick with pollen each spring, it will cause a heightened contaminant level for your air filters. Conversely, driving in areas with excellent air quality may allow more time between filter replacements. 

You can find air filter replacement recommendations specific to your vehicle in your owner’s manual. You can also bring your vehicle by a mechanic for insight. Chapel Hill Tire offers free air filter checks during each oil change service

How Often Should I Change My Cabin Air Filter?

Most cabin air filters can go a little longer between replacements—averaging anywhere from 12,000 to 30,000 miles. Again, this will depend on your vehicle, the air quality in your area, your owner’s manual recommendations, and your filter quality. 

What Happens When You Don’t Change Your Car Air Filter?

Why do you have to change your car’s air filters? More importantly, what happens when you skip this routine air filter maintenance? Let’s take a look:

  • Engine Air Filter: When your engine air filter is clogged, it will restrict the airflow to your engine. This can lead to poor fuel economy, vehicle performance issues, and (in worst-case scenarios) severe engine damage. Because of the poor fuel economy, clogged air filters can also cause you to fail your NC emissions inspection.
  • Cabin Air Filter: Similarly, when your cabin air filter is clogged, it will restrict airflow to your car’s heating and cooling system—creating a great deal of stress. Clogged cabin air filters can lead to broken car air conditioners and heaters. 

This small vehicle service can save you hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars in repairs. 

Local Automotive Air Filter Replacement | Chapel Hill Tire

Chapel Hill Tire is here for all of your vehicle services, including air filter replacements. We proudly provide industry-leading service to drivers across the greater Triangle area through our 9 locations between Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Apex, and Carrboro. You can explore our coupons page or make your appointment here online to get started today!

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