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Car Guy Diary – 9/24/2013 – Cleaner Air Cleaner

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Routine maintenance will make your car or truck last longer…it’s a simple fact. Take care of it and it will take care of you.

One of the simplest maintenance tasks that nearly anybody can do on their vehicle is changing the air filter. It’s a fairly clean job that usually requires no specialized tools beyond your hands or a screwdriver.

A clean air filter is a lot more important than people may realize. While folks are well aware of how much fuel they put into their car, the amount of air it needs to burn that fuel is exponentially higher. Keeping that air clean and flowing smoothly goes a long way to improve efficiency and performance and extending the life of your engine.

Speaking of performance, there are specialty air filters that are designed to improve performance by allowing more air to pass through them and supply cleaner air to your engine. Companies like K&N and AEM offer replacement filters that flow better and offer improved filtration over standard replacement air filters. They also offer high-performance air intake systems that replace you vehicle’s restrictive factory intake system with one that will improve performance and efficiency. These performance intake systems are designed to bring cooler, denser outside air into the engine allowing it to make more power more easily than with the standard system which takes in hot air from under the hood.

Follow along as I change the air filter in my 2011 Chevrolet Aveo and if you get the impression that it is an easy task, you’d be right. Four Phillips head screws and about two minutes was all it took to get to the filter in my car. Some use screws, some use spring clips while others use luggage-style latches.

Whatever fasteners your car or truck uses, this is an easy job and doing yourself can save you money and keep your vehicle running right.

Old filter removal.
Old filter removal. Bart R. Orlans

Old filter removal.

Just a couple of Phillips head screws are all that is standing between me and my air filter. Lefty-losey and they are out. Lift up the lid and the air filter is right there.

Old and new oil filters
Old and new oil filters Bart R. Orlans

Old and new oil filters

As you can see, the old filter has had quite enough. Clearly it is doing its job, but as it traps more and more dirt, airflow is more and more restricted making it harder and harder for your engine to breathe.

Installing the new oil filter
Installing the new oil filter Bart R. Orlans

Installing the new oil filter

The new filter in my car can only go in one way so it's pretty hard to get it wrong. Generally, panel-type filters like these can go in two ways, but if it feels like you are forcing it, you are probably doing it wrong.

Closing it in
Closing it in Bart R. Orlans

Closing it in

Once the new filter is in, drop the lid back down and make sure it is in the proper position to lock it down. In my case, lining up the bolt holes was easy because like the filter, the lid only goes on one way too.

Finish the job
Finish the job Bart R. Orlans

Finish the job

Righty-tighty on the screws and my air filter change is done and my engine is breathing easy. If your air filter box is held shut with screws do yourself a favor and DON'T over tighten the screws. The plastic air box car break if you go Mighty Joe Young on them.

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