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How do I change my car's air filter?
If you're sure you're having air filter problems, buy a new air filter element (that is, the actual filter of the filter's assembly--available from the dealer or at most automobile supply stores). Next, you need to find the existing air filter element in your car. In a fuel injected car, the filter element is typically located in a rectangular box called the air cleaner housing (use your manual to help locate it). The element can be removed by unlatching a series of clamps or removing a series of screws.

If your car has a regular carburetor or throttle body fuel injection, it'll often have a large round air cleaner housing mounted on top of the carburetor (again, use your manual to find it). The filter element is located inside the housing. To get at it, you'll usually have to remove the top of the housing by taking off a single wing nut located there.

Finally, inspect and change the air filter element. Here's how:

  1. First loosen and remove the latches, screws, or wing nut. Remove the cover and then take out the air filter element.

  2. Carefully inspect the air filter element. You'll probably find dirt and oil on one side of it--buildup trapped by the filter material. Any dirt and oil buildup on the filter means it should be changed.

  3. Compare the new filter element you bought with the old one. Both must have the same dimensions, with any gaskets on the top and the bottom of the filter elements exactly the same size.

  4. If it matches, place the new air filter element in the air filter housing. Make sure the gaskets are properly aligned on the top and bottom.

  5. Replace the cover and tighten the latches, screws, or wing nut until snug. The air filter gasket must fit correctly and seal properly.

  6. Start up your car and make sure everything feels and sounds right.

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