Air is the one thing your car needs more than fuel. But although it comes free of charge, it's not always clean. Air filters maintain the inside of the engine free of dust and insects. Replace or clean your air filter within the recommended time and your car will run at peak performance levels. You can to this routine maintenance yourself, as air filters are inexpensive and quick to replace.
1. Secure the vehicle. Park the car on level ground, apply the parking brake. Shift into first gear (manual transmission) or Park (automatic transmission), and turn off the ignition.
2. Open the bonnet. Release the bonnet with the lever inside the car. Move the exterior bonnet catch for final release. Lift the bonnet and secure it with the prop rod.
3. Locate the air filter unit. The air filter unit is usually situated on top of the engine. On older cars with carburettors the filter is usually under a bulky, round cover made of plastic or metal; fuel-injected cars tend to have a square or rectangular air filter housing can be found slightly off centre between the front grill and the engine.
4. Remove the air filter cover. Loosen the hose clamp that seals the air conduct. Undo all the screws holding the air filter cover. Some models have wing nuts, other air filters are just clamped on with a quick release system. Keep screws and other parts in a safe location so you can find them later. Pull the cover out of the air conduct and lift it up so it comes off the lower part of the housing. Consult a mechanic if you don't know how to lift the cover.
5. Take out the air filter. Now you can see a round or rectangular filter made of cotton, paper or gauze. In 4x 4 vehicles the more complex filter is usually a double unit consisting of both an oil soaked and a dry filter element. Filters have a rubber rim that seals off the unit's interior. Simply lift the filter out of the housing.
6. Clean the air filter housing. Seal the air conduct with adhesive tape. It only takes a minute and that way you won't get any dirt into the engine whilst cleaning. Connect the air hose to the compressor and use the compressed air to blow out the dust. Alternatively use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any dirt.
7. Replace the filter. Replace the old filter with a new one. Simply insert it into the housing with the rubber rim facing up. Make sure the edges are sealed by the rubber rim. You should change the filter every 15,000 km, about once a year. If you live in a dusty area check up after 10,000 km.
8. Replace the cover. Carefully insert the cover back into the air conduct and then press the entire piece down onto the lower half of the air filter unit. Make sure it's not askew as this would alter engine performance levels. Tighten all the screws or clamps and finally check that you have put everything firmly back together by slightly rocking the unit with both hands. Make sure the bonnet is properly shut. Perform this check regularly and you keep your car breathing at maximum efficiency by keeping the dust out.
* You can clean the old filter as long as the material isn't torn, cracked or oil stained. Use a light to check if it is oily inside. Hold a lamp behind it and see if the light gets blocked out by oil. Proceed if the light can be seen. Now blow out the dust with compressed air if you have it, or else vacuum it up. Turn the air filter around so you are cleaning both sides .
* You can put the filter back in this time. Buy yourself a new filter soon and change at the next check.