How to Replace an Air Filter: NAPA KNOW HOW

People wonder how often they should change their engine air filter.  The simple answer is when it’s dirty.  That’s a function of how much air has passed through the filter, so your manufacturer will recommend a mileage interval for replacing the air filter.  But as you can imagine, how dirty the air is would affect how quickly the filter gets clogged. NAPA provides top quality engine air filters and the KNOW HOW to replace an air filter.

Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 15 minutes
How often: Every 15,000 miles

Changing the air filter should be part of any tune-up. Change it every 15,000 miles or once a year. If you live in an especially dusty or dirty area, change it more often.

Air filter test:

Shine a flashlight from the inside out of your air filter. If you can’t see any light or very little light, it needs to be replaced. Change the breather filter and check the PCV at the same time. On most cars, this is a fairly simple procedure.

Things you’ll need from your garage or your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store:

  • Flat-Head/Phillips screwdrivers
  • Adjustable or open-end wrench
  • Pliers
  • New air filter
  • New breather filter (if so equipped)

Step 1

Look under the hood and find the air filter housing.

It will likely be square (on fuel-injected engines) or round (on older carbureted engines) and about 12 in. (30 cm.) in diameter. On older vehicles, it will be in a large round housing on the top of the engine. On newer vehicles, it will be on the end of the large black intake hose opposite the engine mounted on one of the fender wells.

Step 2

Remove screws or clamps.

Use a screwdriver to remove the screws or clamps that hold on the top of the housing. If you have an older vehicle with the round air filter housing, remove the wing nut holding the air filter cover and any other clips.

Step 3

Remove the old air filter.

Take out the old air filter and clean any dirt and debris from the housing with a clean rag. Be careful that none falls into the carburetor or the intake. Remove the breather filter.

Step 4

Install the new air and breather filters.

Replace the air cleaner top. Reinstall the attaching hardware and air intake hose (if applicable).

Important Tips:

  • When the air filter is out, you should replace the PCV filter as well. It should only take 5 minutes.

about author

Nick Palermo

Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.

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