What’s the Deal With Air Filters?

Picture a confused Jerry Seinfeld lamenting to his friends in a New York City apartment. That could be you the next time you take your car to the shop, ready to hand over the necessary cash for your six-month servicing, and being asked the same question:

“When was the last time you changed your air filters?”

A shudder. A gasp. Well, probably not—probably a shrug. Instead of looking like an air quality novice, let us break down the reasons your air filter is a necessary part of your car servicing.  Dirty air filters…

  1. …hurt acceleration.

Next time you need that extra burst of speed, think of the air filter that’s clogging up precious real estate in your automobile. According to a 2009 Department of Energy study, a clogged air filter can affect acceleration from 6 to 11 percent. Don’t push off that air filter notice! It might just stop you from going where you need to go.

  1. …keep you from running properly.

If you’re having trouble starting your car, idling, or anything of that ilk, your air filter may be to blame. You never know what can be weighed down by a sooty filter. Your spark plugs simply cannot “spark” without the help from their clean friends, your trusty air filter.

  1. …hurt your emissions ratings.

Many times, emissions tests are necessary not only for your car’s health, but for registration, insurance purposes, selling previous cars, et cetera. It’s during times like those that you’ll want your car operating in top shape. Why have something as simple as an air filter make the difference between a pass and a fail?

  1. …reduce overall vehicular power

Fuel needs air to burn efficiently. If your engine isn’t getting enough air through the air filter, you’re going to have less power while using more fuel.

  1. It hurts your dashboard aesthetics

We listed it last a for a reason, folks. For the overly organized group of us, having a “Maintenance Required” light constantly drawing your eye is a major inconvenience (especially when you were just at the shop!)

So it’s time to simplify and answer Jerry’s question. The deal with air filters is that they’re more important than we really know!