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Basic Maintenance

If you buy a used car from a dealer or from an individual, one of the first things you should do is replace the air filter. (If you know the symptoms of a dirty air filter, you may even get a better deal when you're negotiating the price if the car seems sluggish, boggy or rough.) 

By getting the oil changed, swapping the spark plugs and wires and swapping out the air filter you can keep track of your maintenance and you can ensure that your car is working at optimum performance. The simplest car parts can make the biggest difference in the performance of your vehicle.

Change Your Air Filter!

A car's engine is basically a great big gas powered air pump. 

Consider a basic four stroke engine, gas fired engine: 

• Air comes in through the air intake, and travels through the air cleaner. 

• Gas is added to the air and that mixture is compressed inside the cylinder; when the atomized mixture is at its densest, the spark plug is fired. 

• This ignites the mixture, and forces the piston down into the cylinder. 

When all the pistons fire as they should, the driveshaft turns, and your car goes vroom. This complicated process requires precise ratios of air to fuel to be at top efficiency, so a clean air filter is essential. Dirty air filters can choke an engine, decreasing gas mileage, and cause fuel deposits to form from a * too rich * fuel mixture. 

Air Filter Tip: Check your air filter every 12000 miles to ensure it is at its peak performance, and replace it when it becomes dirty. Your car and your wallet will thank you.

Washable Air Filters vs. Disposable Air Filters

Depending on your car and what you want to achieve, you need to consider the pros and cons of washable air filters vs. disposable air filters. 

If this is your daily driver, for the most part, a disposable air filter will serve your needs. They are cheap, easy to find and quick to install. 

If you are looking for a high performance boost from a higher end air filter, washable may be just what you are looking for. They are more expensive up front, but because they are washable, they have a longer life. 

What brand you ask? K&N air filters have a great reputation and a great warrantee (10 years). Now, the only issue with washable air filters is that they are harder to find. This is exactly the kind of car part that is perfect for buying online. You get a better price and you know you can find them

Replacing a dirty air filter is a fairly simple job, but is crucial to engine performance. Follow the step by step instructions below and you will have your car's air filter replaced in no time

Your car needs air just as much as it needs fuel; air filters keep the inside of the engine free of dust and insects. Replace or clean your air filter at the recommended interval to keep air flowing freely and your car running its best. Air filters are inexpensive and quick to replace, so you can do this routine maintenance yourself.

      Notice the discoloration in the filter on the right. being so dirty, air will not pass freely through the filter.

Obtain the correct replacement filter. It should be the same as the one you will replace. Consult your owner's manual or auto parts store if you need assistance finding the right part. You can find some great deals on filters here. 

Secure the vehicle. Park the car on level ground and apply the parking brake. Shift into first gear (manual transmission) or Park (automatic transmission), and turn off the ignition.

Locate the air filter unit. The air filter unit is usually situated on top of the engine

On older cars with carburettors the filter is usually under a bulky, round cover made of plastic or metal

Newer, fuel-injected cars tend to have a square or rectangular air filter housing can be found slightly off centre between the front grill and the engine.

Remove the air filter cover. Loosen the hose clamp that seals the air conduct. Undo all the screws holding the air filter cover. Some models have wing nuts; other air filters are just clamped on with a quick release system. Keep screws and other parts together and in a safe location so you can find them later. Pull the cover out of the air conduit and lift it up so it comes off the lower part of the housing. Consult a mechanic if you don't know how to lift the cover.

Take out the air filter. Now you can see a round or rectangular filter made of cotton, paper or gauze. Filters have a rubber rim that seals off the unit's interior. Simply lift the filter out of the housing.

Clean the air filter housing.Connect the air hose to the compressor and use the compressed air to blow out the dust, or use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any dirt.

                 Using compressed air to remove the dust.

Seal the air conduit with removable adhesive tape. It only takes a minute and that way you won't get any dirt into the engine whilst cleaning.

 Use tape to cover the opening to the engine so debris doesn't get in.

Replace the filter. Replace the old filter with a new one. Simply insert it into the housing with the rubber rim facing up. Make sure the edges are sealed by the rubber rim.

                       Most simply press into place

 Replace the cover. Carefully insert the cover back into the air conduit and then press the entire piece down onto the lower half of the air filter unit.

Check that air filter cover is  tight and secure; otherwise you could alter engine performance. Tighten all the screws or clamps and recheck that you have put everything firmly back together by rocking the unit gently with both hands. Shut the hood securely.

Check the air filter regularly to keep your car breathing at maximum efficiency by keeping the dust out.

Change the air filter every 15,000 km (9,320 miles), or about once a year. If you live in a dusty area, check up after 10,000 km (6,213 miles). Your owner's manual or periodic maintenance guide should have air filter replacement recommendations for your car.

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