how often to change air filter in car
Vehicle maintenance

How Often To Change the Air Filter In Car And Its Benefits

People often overlook replacing air filters in their cars. However, a dirty filter can have tons of negative effects on your vehicle and its performance. Knowing when to change the air filter can be quite tricky as well. We’ve crafted a straightforward guide to show you how often to change the air filter in your car. 

On top of that, we’ll also go over the benefits of getting a new air filter for your car. These benefits are often overlooked, but changing the air filter can increase your car’s longevity and enhance fuel efficiency. Mind you we are not talking about your car’s Cabin Air Filter in this article. With that said, let’s dive right in and take a look at how often to change the air filter in your car. 

How Often To Change the Air Filter In Car

You should change your air filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles depending on the environment you live in. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. There are a few other guidelines to follow that can tell you exactly when you should change the air filter. These guidelines will help you to maintain your vehicle properly. Let’s take a look at them below.

Vehicle Model

Various car companies recommend different mileages for changing air filters depending on the model of your car. This can usually be found in the car’s manual. Chevrolet suggests that people change their filters after every 45,000 miles, while Ford recommends a filter change after 15,000 to 30,000 miles. 

If you are driving in severe conditions, companies often recommend that you half the normal amount that they suggest. Severe conditions can include driving frequently in heavy traffic, on unpaved roads, or in hot weather. Driving in these conditions requires your air filter to be changed earlier than usual.

If you have some experience with cars, you might be able to tell if your air filter needs to be changed just by looking at it. Otherwise, you’ll have to go to a certified professional to get it checked. 

Driving Frequency

Like we said, every brand of vehicle has varying mileages at which you have to change the engine air filter. However, if you drive your car regularly through either the city or for long distances, you’ll have to change the filter earlier. If you often drive on dusty roads, your filter will be filled with debris quickly. 

As a general rule of thumb, changing the filter after every 30,000 miles is completely fine.

If you do not drive your car regularly, the filter can still get damaged and have debris stick in it over time. In that case, we suggest that you change the filter once at least every three years. Waiting any longer than that can cause problems for the performance of your car. 

Check It Manually

You should regularly check all components of your car to make sure everything is alright. Not paying attention to them will cause your car’s performance to decrease. A new filter should be white in color. If you notice that the color is gray, it means that the filter is dirty.

However, some materials are small, so they can’t be seen visually. In that case, you should continue using your current engine air filter until you either reach the recommended amount of mileage or the filter is visibly dirty.   

how often to change air filter in car

Downsides of a Dirty Air Filter

Now that we’ve discussed how often you should change a dirty air filter, let’s take a look at the downsides of leaving a dirty filter in your car for too long. While people often overlook a dirty filter, it actually impacts your car a lot. Everything from small things like emitting polluted smoke to larger problems like your car jerking while idle can leave lasting damage on your vehicle. 

Reduced Mileage

One of the biggest things that you’ll notice with a dirty air filter is that your car will give you a reduced mileage. If you keep track of your mileage, and you should, you’ll notice that your car will eventually provide less mileage than usual. This is a big sign that you need to change the filter immediately. 

The reason why this happens is that the engine requires steady airflow to work well. However, due to a dirty filter, the air cannot get in properly. Keep in mind that this is a slow process, so you won’t notice a decrease in mileage immediately. The longer you don’t replace the filter, the more it’ll affect your car.

Issues With Ignition

Like we said, a dirty engine filter will reduce the airflow in your engine. This will not only give you reduced mileage, but it will also cause issues with the ignition. Additionally, your spark plugs will become clogged and have a lack of power due to poor air quality. Plus, your engine light will turn on shortly after. 

If you are facing this issue, then chances are that your air filter needs changing.

Black Smoke Will Come Out of Your Exhaust

As you might have guessed, a dirty filter will cause the fuel to leave a dark residue. This residue emits dark and thick smoke from your exhaust. The smoke causes a lot of air pollution, so we highly suggest that you don’t let your car reach this state.

Black smoke usually means that the engine isn’t receiving the right amount of air and oxygen. 

How To Change an Air Filter

Changing an air filter is not a difficult task. Even if you are someone who isn’t knowledgeable about cars, don’t worry. 

All you need to do is to open up the hood of your car and look for the filter box. Inside it is the air filter. Some of the filters can be removed just by pulling them out. However, there are some models that require you to use a screwdriver to open the box. 

In any case, discard the previous filters after taking them out and insert the new ones in the filter box. Make sure that you get a filter that fits your box’s measurements. 

If you are not sure how to replace the filter yourself, then we suggest that you take your car to a workshop or a certified mechanic. Getting it replaced by someone who knows what they are doing will get the job done easily. 

Benefits of a Clean Air Filter 

Now that you have a clean filter, it’s time to take a look at its advantages. First of all, a clean filter gives your engine optimal airflow. Plus, it improves the engine performance and the overall performance of your car as well. Let’s take a look at some more in-depth benefits.

Enhanced Fuel Efficiency

Due to the steady flow of air, a clean air filter enhances your car’s efficiency by delivering proper fuel combustion. As such, you will have to spend less money on fuel and even less on vehicle maintenance. Having good gas mileage can save both you and your wallet a lot of hassle. 

Increased Engine Life

Thanks to clean air, not only will your fuel economy increase, but your engine’s lifespan will also go up. Having a good and strong engine is every vehicle owner’s dream. A dirty filter will damage the inside of your engine. Eventually, it can cause irreversible damage and even engine failure.

No More Black Smoke

As we mentioned earlier, a dirty filter will cause your exhaust to emit dark and black smoke. This causes a lot of pollution in the air. However, a clean filter will ensure that there are reduced emissions thanks to proper airflow. This not only stops your car from polluting your surroundings but also increases its effectiveness.

When you replace your air filter, you will notice a visible improvement in the performance of your car in overall sound, air conditioning, and effectiveness. You’ll feel that your car is smoother after a successful filter change. 


That’s everything you need to know about how often to change the air filter in your car. Usually, it comes down to how dirty your filter is and how frequently you drive your car. However, if you want a fixed number, then changing the air filter at around 30,000 miles is recommended. 

Make sure that you perform regular maintenance of your car to find any telltale signs of the filter needing to be changed. Checking your car on a regular basis will stop it from breaking down and facing common issues.