There are several types of car filters that keep your vehicle running smoothly. Filters are important because they keep dirt and other debris that’s on the road and in the air away from crucial engine components. Ever wondered how many filters your car has? Here’s a list of the filters in your car and what they do to keep your engine running.
Oil is a lubricant that travels through your engine, ensuring parts move smoothly. It starts off clean, but over time it picks up dirt and debris and becomes dark and thick, which is why it must be periodically changed. The oil filter helps slow this process by keeping dirt out of your oil and it should be changed whenever you change your engine oil.
Just like the oil, the fuel in your car needs to be clean for the engine to work properly. It might not seem like dirt should be able to get into your fuel, but corrosion and dirt in your tank can be an issue. A fuel filter makes sure that debris doesn’t end up in your engine where it can cause serious damage. Generally, a fuel filter doesn’t need to be changed unless there’s a problem, like reduced performance or hesitant acceleration.
Engine Air Filter
Your engine needs air to run and it runs best when that air is clean. No matter how clean the air looks, there are unseen dust and dirt particles floating around. The engine air filter captures those particles, so they don’t end up in your engine. This helps keep your engine running at peak performance and reduces the risk of engine damage. Here’s how to change an engine air filter:
Cabin Air Filter
This one isn’t so much for your car as it is for you and your passengers. The cabin air filter helps keep the air in the cabin clean by removing dust, debris and odors that you’d otherwise be breathing. Especially for those with allergies, asthma or health issues, a cabin air filter is a crucial component of your car.
A transmission filter isn’t found on every car, so don’t be shocked if your car doesn’t have one. If it does, this filter catches any debris in the fluids of your gearbox to keep it clean. This doesn’t need to be changed often and has a much longer lifespan than some of the other filters on your car.
Emission (PCV) Valve and Filter
The emission PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve and filter are something of a matched set. Together they send engine fumes back into the combustion chambers. Once there, those fumes can be re-burned to improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollution.
The valve makes sure the airflow is correct while the filter removes oil vapor. If these parts fail, then you may notice a rough idle, possible stalling and see increased oil consumption.
Understanding the types of car filters in your vehicle is important for regular maintenance. They might seem like simple parts designed to keep things clean, but that’s an important job in an engine. Dust, dirt and debris can cause a multitude of problems in your car, and filters help keep these harmful contaminants out of crucial components.
Check out all the filters
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.