How Often Should You Change the Engine Air Filter?


Vehicle maintenance schedules vary on how often the air filter should be changed. On most Chevrolet engines, for example, the recommended interval is every 45,000 miles, but Ford says it should be done every 30,000 miles on many of its engines. Hyundai also says every 30,000 miles but shortens it to 15,000 for "severe" driving conditions, which includes heavy traffic in hot weather and frequent driving on unpaved roads or dusty conditions.

You might be able to tell by looking when a filter needs replacing, such as finding black areas on the section through which outside air enters. Air filters on most engines are fairly easy to access, and you can check the location in your owner's manual if you need help.

If you can't tell by looking, but it's been more than three years or 30,000 miles, you probably should get a new one (especially if you can save money by doing it yourself). However, you should be leery if every time you get an oil change the repair shop says you also need a new air filter. We would expect most drivers can go more than a year, at least, and probably more than two years.

A clogged air filter won't significantly affect fuel economy, according to a 2009 study conducted for the U.S. Department of Energy, but it can hurt acceleration by 6% to 11%. Acceleration is harder to measure than fuel economy, so you may not notice a gradual performance loss. For that reason, it's a good idea to periodically visually check the engine air filter.

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By Rick Popely | July 29, 2013 | Comments (11)



"Hyundai also says every 30,000 miles but shortens it to 15,000 for "severe" driving conditions, which includes heavy traffic in hot weather and frequent driving on unpaved roads or dusty conditions."

I have a 2012 Mazda Miata MX-5 and a 2003 Toyota Tundra. I change both of their air filters every 15,000 miles because of the severe driving conditions described in the Hyundai recommendation.

Of course one could opt for a K&N filter and just clean and re-oil it per the instructions.


Or, you can inspect it once in a while and see yourself if it needs to be changed

Anonymous Coward

Agree with Tony that you should inspect it first. The last one I changed at 30,000 miles looked very clean, but I went ahead and changed it since I had already bought a replacement.


Just by a K & N and not worry about it. I believe it is worth the extra cost!


Next you should focus on the importance of servicing the battery terminals and cables. I can see some corrosion build up on that battery. It looks like a Honda, which are famous for needing expensive battery cables due to lack of maintenance.

Tammy McMurry

Should I let the people who change the oil wash the air filter out? Is this common?

I've found great ideas here but I'm thanking to for I've saved 75% on my replacement for my engine air filter.

How much have you been paying to the dealerships or mechanics to have your Engine Air Filter replaced?

$40? $50? $100? …or more than that?


Save that money now!!!

What's your car model?
Contact me, I can help you.

Thanks, good advice. My Hyundai only has 20k miles, and the last time I took it to the dealership for maintenance with only 15k mi., the service guy insisted in changing it, but it is clear that it wasn't necessary. I told him, no, maybe next time.


Can I just replace the air filter without cleaning the housing(the filter is placed in). Without damaging the engine?

Matthew Satcher

To the people who haven't messed up your vehicle with a K&N type filter, my words in retrospect would be to not do it...I religiously cleaned and oiled it every 15k. It let in contaminates that ended scratching up my engine and lowering my compression AND the filter fouled a few sensors along the way-- you've been warned! OEM had it right all along, besides paper is cheaper, easier to change, and doesn't make the same amount of mess during cleaning re-oiling.

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