Air Filter Tips
Check and/or change your Air Filter every 6 months to improve fuel economy and keep your engine running smoothly.
It's hard to give a specific time or mileage figure because the life of the filter depends on how much dirt is captured by your intake. A filter that lasts 20,000 or even 30,000 kms on a vehicle that's driven mostly on highways may last only a few months in a rural setting where the vehicle is driven frequently on gravel roads. Changing it annually or every 25,000 km for preventative maintenance may be a good recommendation for the city driver.
Regardless of the mileage or time, a filter should be replaced before it reaches the point where it creates a significant restriction to airflow.
A slightly dirty filter actually cleans more efficiently than a brand new filter. That's because the debris trapped by the filter element helps screen out smaller particles that try to get through. But eventually every filter reaches the point where it causes enough of a pressure drop to restrict airflow. Fuel economy, performance and emissions begin to deteriorate and get progressively worse until the dirty filter is replaced.
Many heavy-duty trucks have a "restriction" meter on the air filter housing that signals when the filter is dirty enough to need replacing. But for your car, regular inspection is the best way to determine replacement.
Removing the filter and holding it up to a light will show you how dirty it is. If it's really caked with dirt, it obviously needs to be replaced. Trying to shake or blow the dirt out is a waste of time because too much of it will be embedded in the filter fibers.