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How to Test Car Air Filters

By Edited Jun 26, 2015 0 0
Car Air Filter
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dirty-air-filter.jpg

The air filter in your car is meant to remove the dirt, dust and debris from the air which the car's engine needs in order to burn fuel. Without this device, the mass air flow sensor would no sooner become contaminated, resulting in a malfunction. The unfiltered air would subsequently go on to contaminate the combustion chamber which will quickly lead to an untimely break down of your car's engine. While many may think replacing air filters on regular bases is unnecessary, the few dollars spent on them can actually save you a bundle in the long run.

The Materials You Will Need

  1. Replacement filter
  2. Basic tool kit 
  3. Flashlight

Instructions For Gas Engines

  1. Raise the hood and open your vehicle's air filter housing. You may find that some can be held closed with small tabs that you can pop open by hand, while some others are held in place with the aid of screws or small bolts. Depending on which type that you have, you may need to make use of some hand tools in order to access and remove the filter.
  2. Take out the filter and position the flashlight on the opposite side of the filter medium (the paper area) from your line of sight.
  3. Switch on the flashlight and observe the light. If you are able to clearly see light shine through the filter medium from the flashlight, then it still has some life left in it. In case that the light is very dim, you may consider doing a replacement now or sometime quite soon. But if the light does not shine through at all, you should change the filter straightaway.

Instructions For Diesel Engines

  1. Raise the hood and take out the air filter housing from the vehicle, with the aid of the hand tools. Most diesel air-filter housings come with fasteners responsible for holding them in place at both ends of the assembly, as well as bands that hold them in place to the air intake tubes at either end. These fasteners and bands will need to be taken out before you can be able to lift the air filter housing out of the engine well.
  2. Open the housing and take out the air-filter. Since diesel engines by their nature draw in nearly 10 times the air that a gasoline engine requires, the filter is designed to be much larger and has the capacity to hold much more dirt, dust and debris than that of a gasoline engine.
  3. Now, drop the diesel air-filter onto the ground from a height of about 1 foot in the air. In the event that dirt or dust comes out of it and leaves behind any accumulation on the ground whatsoever, change the filter.

Tips and Warnings

The practice of cleaning an air filter by blasting compressed air through it, taping it on a hard surface so as to knock out the dirt of it or any other method of cleaning is more of a temporary stop gap. If you actually succeed in removing any amount of dust or dirt with these methods, it is more of an indication that the filter should be changed as soon as possible.


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