5 Symptoms of a Bad Air Filter in Your Car


The air filter is a part of the vehicle that should be self-explanatory. As you probably know, the internal combustion engine can only operate if it has the proper amount of air and fuel. The air that goes into the engine is supplied by the outdoors. However, the engine requires this to be clean air without any dirt or debris. That is where the air filter becomes important because it blocks all the harmful debris in the air from entering the engine. If you don’t have a good air filter to block these harmful airborne contaminants, then it will spell trouble for the performance of your engine.

Top 5 Bad Symptoms

If you regularly get tune-ups and oil changes on your vehicle at an auto servicing location, then the shop worker may automatically check your air filter to see if it needs to be replaced. Of course, you should not always rely on the shop worker to do this because they might skip this task just to finish their job faster. That is why you need to be aware of the symptoms of a bad air filter, so you will know when it is time to replace it.

Below are the top 5 symptoms of a bad air filter.

1) Bad Fuel Efficiency – The functioning engine needs a balance of air and fuel to be mixed together. This helps maximize the fuel efficiency of your vehicle so that you get the most miles per gallon possible. But if you have a bad air filter, it will either block air from entering the internal combustion chamber or it will send dirty air into there. This will interfere with the combustion process and cause the engine to use more fuel to compensate.

2) Bad Engine Performance – The engine depends on an adequate supply of clean air for its combustion process to satisfy your acceleration demands. In other words, if you have a bad air filter, then don’t be surprised if you have trouble accelerating as you step on the gas pedal. The engine will not respond well to dirty air in its chamber. This means it will have trouble generating enough power to accelerate the vehicle to the speed that you want.

3) Unusual Engine Sounds – There are different engine sounds that you will hear if you have a dirty or clogged air filter. These will be like coughing sounds which you do not normally hear. These sounds will occur the most when you step on the brake pedal and come to a stop. When the car is idle and then coughing sounds are heard, it means the engine is not getting enough good air inside of it.

4) Bad Spark Plugs – A dirty air filter can also cause the spark plugs to get clogged and dirty too. This will limit the performance of the spark plugs when it comes to igniting the air and fuel mixture inside the internal combustion chamber. Any problems with your engine performance will probably be connected to this. If you suspect that you have a dirty air filter, inspect your spark plugs to see if they are dirty too. If they are, then replace your spark plugs and air filter together.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of A Bad Spark Plug: Don’t Get It Worse!

5) Rough Idle – When you turn on your engine and just leave it idle, the number of revolutions it makes should be in the 900 to 1,100 range. This is considered normal for the RPM of an idle engine. This normal range is based on the proper amount of air and fuel being mixed together in the combustion chamber. Therefore, if you have a bad air filter which limits the amount of quality air in the chamber, then it will throw the RPM range out of order. If you notice the RPM going a lot higher or lower than 1,000, then it is a problem that must be addressed soon.


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