Keep Your Car Breathing Well: Change the Air Filters
You need clean air to breathe and so does your car, and a vehicle’s air filters make that possible. The non-profit Car Care Council reminds car owners to have the engine and cabin air filters inspected and changed regularly to ensure vehicle longevity and interior comfort.
“Air filters are your vehicle’s first line of defense against contaminants that reduce cabin air quality and negatively impact engine performance,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.
“Community car care events held throughout the country reveal that nearly one out of five vehicles is in need of air filter replacement, so it’s evident that motorists often overlook this simple, yet important service.”
The vehicle’s engine air filter traps dirt particles that can cause damage to engine cylinders, cylinder walls, pistons, piston rings and bearings, leading to the engine losing power. The air filter also plays a critical role in keeping pollutants from contaminating the airflow sensor on fuel-injected cars. A normal wear item that requires regular checks and replacement, air filters should be inspected at each oil change and replaced annually or when showing other signs of contamination.
The cabin air filter is responsible for cleaning the air entering the passenger compartment. Under normal circumstances, it helps trap pollen, bacteria, dust and exhaust gases that may find their way into a vehicle’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, compromising interior air quality and damaging the system.
A cabin air filter should not be cleaned and reinstalled. Instead, it should be replaced every 12,000 to 15,000 miles or per the owner’s manual.
When does a car battery need to be replaced?
The main function of a car battery is to start your car. Today, most cars have a single maintenance-free 12-volt acid battery. The car battery is rechargeable. It uses its charge to power the vehicle systems while it's parked and to turn over the engine when you want to start it.
Once you start the car, the alternator generates additional electric power to recharge the battery.
Over time, the battery loses its capacity or ability to hold charge. One day, a weak battery will not be able to start your car. Often, this happens when the weather gets hot. Most consumers believe the cold is the enemy of the battery but heat is the real enemy. More batteries fail in the heat than in the cold.
When the battery is too weak to turn over the engine, the car will need to be boosted to start the vehicle. To avoid this situation, the battery should be replaced before its capacity drops to a critical level.
On average, a car battery lasts from 3 to 4 years. The battery lasts longer if the vehicle is driven daily and the battery is kept fully charged. When the vehicle is parked for extended periods of time, the battery deteriorates sooner.
How can you tell that the battery capacity is getting low? Are there any signs that a car battery is failing? Yes. When the battery is weak, you might notice that the engine turns over slower than usual and the dash lights flicker or dim when you are starting your car.
We recommend you have your battery tested by a qualified technician at least once a year after it is 2 years old.
Can a problem with battery terminals cause the vehicle not to start? Yes.
If one of the battery terminals is loose or corroded see picture, it may cause many problems including a no-start.
Many reputable repair shops visually inspect the battery terminals during regular oil changes. Your mechanic may recommend servicing battery terminals if they are corroded.