Let’s talk about car filters. Did you know most vehicles have four different types of filters -cabin filter, oil filter, and fuel filter? Equipping yourself with knowledge on how these filters work, and when you should change them, is an important part of owning and maintaining your vehicle.
If your vehicle has dirty filters, you might find yourself with mechanical problems over time that are easily preventable with routine maintenance.
The air filter and cabin filter are the first line of defense for your vehicle, designed to keep your vehicle’s engine clean and your air fresh.
As you might have guessed, air filters clean the air. The filter keeps the air that moves through the engine clean of any dirt, debris, pollen, even bugs that could blow through the grill of your vehicle.
The air filter is pretty easy to change, too. Not sure if you’re due for a new filter? Hold your current air filter to the light. If you can’t see light through it, it is time to clean or replace it!
Like the air filter for your engine, the cabin air filter is designed to keep debris, dirt, pollen, and other air pollutants out of the air you breathe inside your vehicle, while the cabin air filter also prevents all those from clogging up the vehicle’s AC system.
It’s recommended that a cabin air filter be replaced every 12,000 miles, but if you noticed poor airflow from the vents, unusual odor, fog on the inside of your windshield, heating and cooling system issues, it may be time to change your cabin filter.
The oil filter is designed to keep dirt, debris, and grime out of the oil while the engine is running to keep your vehicle running smoothly and maintaining a long healthy engine life. Oil filters need to be replaced regularly. It’s recommended to have your oil filter changed with every oil change.
Fuel filters are there to keep the dirt and debris and water out of your gas. Gas can become contaminated during the distribution from the fuel refinery. Located in the fuel line, fuel filters are there to catch dirt and other debris in the fuel before it passes through to the fuel injector.
Most manufacturers recommend that you change the fuel filter every two years or 30,000 miles. If you notice your vehicle is running sluggish or suddenly misfiring for no reason, it may be time for a new fuel filter.
All four filters are designed to keep your vehicle operating smoothly, so your vehicle and run at its best and you can drive safe!
Your body filters itself in various ways: your kidneys, bladder, pancreas, and more. And just as your car’s engine is its heart, it usually gets the bulk of your attention.
But when those other organs act up, you start to notice. Previously unseen assistants start making themselves known in the worst way. Your cars filters can give you the same headaches, and it pays to replace them sooner rather than later! Here are the major filters on most cars, what they do, and how often they should be replaced.
Your air filter is your car’s mouth. As your engine breathes air to push through, the filter gets rid of pine needles, dead bugs, dust, and other fun stuff that could hamper that process. If it’s clogged, your engine will feel sluggish or even have trouble starting.
Air filter replacement guidelines vary, but a general rule is every 25,000 – 35,000 miles.
Oil lubricates all the moving parts of your engine. Since your engine spends most of its time moving, oil gets a lot of use. It also picks up certain byproducts of your engine: dirt, grime, even microscopic metal shavings. The filter keeps those nasties in their own little prison.
Your oil filter should be changed every time you change your oil. No exceptions.
Gasoline can be surprisingly nasty, even after being refined. Factor in one too many poorly-cleaned gas pumps, age, and an emergency fill from the gas can in the shed, and things can get even nastier.
Manufacturers put the fuel filter in all kinds of places. Most are on the line from your gas tank (in the back) to your engine (usually in the front.) These can and should be replaced a few times in your car’s life, especially on older vehicles. Some cars have the filter directly in the tank, and it may never need replacement.
Cabin Air Filter
Many cars actually don’t filter their most important air: what passengers breathe! However, cabin air filters for your AC/heat vents are becoming increasingly common. That air comes from the outside. All those construction zones, gravel roads, and rainstorms you drive through? Your cabin air filter protects you from them. Replace it around once per year.
Your car’s transmission connects your engine to your tires. It works hard, and the gears inside gradually wear down. Their very tiny metal shavings can gum up the works. Transmission fluid catches those and redirect them to your transmission filter.
Transmission filters vary widely between types of transmissions. Many stickshifts don’t need one. Conventional automatic transmissions almost always have one, and it should be changed every 30,000 – 40,000 miles with the fluid.
Some new cars, especially high-end ones, have fancy automated manual or dual-clutch transmissions. The filters in these are much more sensitive, and usually need changing every 40,000 – 60,000 miles.
Always consult your owner’s manual for proper filter change intervals. And next time you stop by Fast Lube Plus, have us check your filters! Your car will thank you for it.