What Happens When Your Engine Air Filter Gets Dirty?

A dirty air filter can have a major impact on your car's performance. It decreases the amount of air supplied to the engine, resulting in an increase in unburned fuel that becomes soot residue. This soot can build up on the tips of the spark plugs, making them unable to produce a proper spark. As a result, the car may move abruptly, idle, and in some cases, the engine may fail.Engine misfires, rough idling, and hard starts can all be attributed to a clogged engine air filter.

The dirty air filter restricts air supply to the engine, causing unburned fuel to form a soot residue that accumulates in the spark plug. This fouls the spark plug(s) and decreases its ability to produce the spark needed for the combustion process. Changing the affected air filter and spark plugs will restore your engine's performance.Over time, the air filter becomes less effective in carrying out its work. All captured dust, grease and other contaminants eventually clog the filter so much that it blocks the flow of clean air to the engine.

A dirty filter reduces the air supply to your car's engine, resulting in unburned fuel. This fuel causes the formation of soot residues that accumulate at the tip of the spark plug.What has really happened to your engine is that the air filter has become dirty or clogged. This reduces airflow by changing the air-fuel mixture. The rich fuel mixture creates a black soot residue that covers the spark plugs.

The noise comes from the spark plugs not firing properly due to this residue. Dirty spark plugs can also cause problems when starting the car and failing.Most automotive companies recommend changing the air filter every 10,000 to 15,000 miles or every 12 months. However, if you normally drive in dusty or rural areas such as Scottsdale, Arizona or San Antonio, Texas, it's a good idea to have your mechanic check and change it more often - for example, every 6,000 miles. Driving in busy areas where there is a lot of traffic - including Los Angeles and Washington DC - making it stop and start more often also requires you to replace the air cleaner more often.

Most vehicles also have a cabin air filter that is used to clean the air entering the interior of the car, but it has a different maintenance program than an engine air filter.At worst, a faulty air filter can create slow driving performance in a modern car. If you have a clogged air filter, one of the symptoms you would experience is a reduction in engine performance. It is one of the telltale signs since the restriction in airflow forces the entire engine to run at low power to maintain the stoichiometric fuel ratio. Perhaps the worst thing a dirty air filter can do to your car is collapse.

If this happens, the air cleaner can come off its seals - or even disintegrate - spelling disaster for your engine. An unsealed air filter may not even be there as it allows unfiltered air to enter the engine. Debris in the air accelerates wear and fouling of injectors and sensors causing poor compression, oil leaks, oil burning, cylinder misfire or fuel adjustment problems causing check light to come on.Air entering into system tends to contain contaminants such as dirt, sand, worn tire particles, dust and pollen so it must pass through an air filter which traps these contaminants and allows clean air to pass into engine. A clogged air filter on an older model vehicle will essentially cause engine to work well since system has no mechanism to quantify amount of airflow resulting in cascade of events starting from rich condition reducing mileage causing failures of ignition and even causing possible damage to some components.

If you discover that your air filter needs change it is advisable also check condition of spark plugs to see if they have also suffered any damage. If you're still not sure if it needs be changed remove filter and observe it during day or use flashlight to see how clogged it is. Inadequate air supply can cause some of fuel not burn completely in combustion cycle.Replacing air filter before it becomes clogged ensures that you don't have change spark plugs. It looks same and basically performs same function trapping dirt dust contaminants and debris as air passes through inlet many mechanics or dealers will allow you purchase filter on your own and take with you for installation.

If your car is not responding properly or if you notice sudden movements when you step on accelerator this could indicate that your engine is not getting all air it needs run. If engine air cleaner is clogged correct amount of airflow will not be able reach combustion chamber and you may hear bursting sputtering or coughing noises often simply undoing couple clips on cartridge or air cleaner cover will allow you inspect it restricted air supply from dirty air filter causes unburned fuel leave engine as soot residue sometimes air filter may allow air pass through sporadically while other times may not supply air proportion fuel making trip rough and bumpy engines need air enter into air-fuel mixture which erupts combustion chamber generate power faulty air filter will not allow enough which turn mark engine control unit match fuel accordingly resulting delayed throttle response and overall weak engine performance one best and easiest improvements you can make vehicle buy reusable air filter such K&N filter.

Mildred Felts
Mildred Felts

Award-winning pizza lover. General burrito trailblazer. Freelance twitteraholic. Friendly coffee scholar. Unapologetic reader.

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