How a Dirty Air Filter Affects Performance

The air filter in your vehicle is the part that protects your engine from containments in the air. Your air filter cleans the air of dust, leaves, dirt, and other contaminants before the air enters your engine. Unfortunately, with regular use and time, your air filter gets dirty. As it gets dirty, the air filter is less able to clean the air entering your engine. A dirty air filter causes many problems for your vehicle, and it is essential to change it based on the manufacturer’s recommendation. You can take your car to Webb Toyota and have a technician inspect your air filter. Continue reading to find out some warning signs that your air filter may be dirty and need to be replaced.

Poor Acceleration

When your air filter is dirty, it often limits the amount of clean air that goes to your engine. When there is not enough air going to your engine, it reduces the power of your vehicle as well as its performance. For example, you may notice that your car is slow to respond when you push the accelerator. A clean air filter can improve acceleration.

Poor Performing Engine

You may begin to notice your engine having hard starts, misfiring, or rough idling. All of these symptoms may indicate that you have a clogged or dirty air filter. Your engine requires a balance of air and fuel to require it to start properly. When there is not enough air in the engine, there is excess fuel. The excess fuel that does not burn causes soot to reside to form a layer on the spark plugs. This soot causes problems with the spark plugs and reduces their ability to create the spark needed for combustion. Once you change the air filters, your engine should return to its peak performance.

Different and Strange Noises

Over time, as you drive your car, you learn the normal sounds your vehicle makes. You begin to understand that sounds are normal for your engine. If you begin to hear noises such as popping or coughing coming from the engine, it is a sign that your filter is dirty. Another symptom could be if you begin to feel your vehicle vibrate. This could also be a sign that your air filter is damaging your spark plugs. It is essential to change your air filter before you cause damage to your spark plugs.

Check Engine Light

While a dirty air filter may not be the only thing that causes your check engine light to come one, it is one reason why it might. When you do not get enough air to your engine, it causes carbon deposits to build up.

Tailpipe Smoke

When flames or black smoke is coming from your exhaust pipe, it can be a result of a dirty air filter. When there is not enough clean air in the engine, the gas does not burn entirely during combustion. The fuel that is left and not burnt leaves through the tailpipe. The fuel looks like a black and sooty smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe.

Poor Gas Mileage

When the vehicle you drive has a carburetor, and you see your fuel economy decreasing, it is a sign that your air filter is dirty. A carburetor mixes the fuel and air to the proper amount to complete the combustion process. When there is not enough clean air in the engine, it typically compensates by pulling in more gas to create the power it needs to work. When you replace your air filter, it can improve your gas mileage. A new vehicle has a fuel injector that uses a computer to allow for the ideal mix of fuel and air. It adjusts the amount of fuel in the engine to create balance.

In addition to the symptoms listed above, you can do a visual check of your air filter to check its status. For example, you can see that the filter is clogged with dirt. A new air filter is white while a dirty air filter looks dark, and often dirt can be seen.