Does a Dirty Air Filter Affect Acceleration?

Learn how a dirty air filter can affect acceleration and fuel economy in your car. Find out how to replace an air filter and how often you should do it.

Does a Dirty Air Filter Affect Acceleration?

Decreased engine power is a telltale sign of a dirty air filter. When the air filter is clogged, it restricts air flow and reduces oxygen in the mixture, causing the engine to run less efficiently than it should. Poor acceleration and decreased fuel economy are two of the most common signs of a faulty or dirty air filter. To avoid this, it's recommended to change the air filter approximately every 12,000 miles, depending on driving habits.

When replacing an air filter, some people opt for non-standard aftermarket air filters to help improve the performance of their car. To do it yourself, first refer to the owner's manual for the location of the filter and refer to this step-by-step guide to removing the air filter. It's also a good idea to regularly check the condition of the air filter, remove it, and clean the air cleaner housing and piping to make sure it doesn't get clogged with leaves or dirt. A bad or dirty air filter can cause setbacks to the longevity of your car.

It can also take power away from the engine and reduce its efficiency. Unusual engine sounds are a sign that the engine is not receiving enough airflow, which means that the air filter needs to be replaced. A properly installed, clean air filter improves fuel economy, increases engine life, reduces emissions and increases acceleration. If you have problems with your car's engine, it's always worth checking the condition of the air filter.

As the air filter ages, its flow rate will decrease because the permeable material in its core becomes blocked with dirt.

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