Engine Maintenance

How to Clean an Air Filter


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A clean air filter is one of the essential components to the fine running of your vehicle. Good air circulation is vital to the good health of any car or truck and you should check your air filter on a regular basis. Some air filters are now manufactured to be lifetime air filters. Therefore, they will not need to be replaced as the old paper ones were. If taken proper care of, your air filter should effectively last you the life of your vehicle.

What You Need

You will require two large buckets of hot water, one for cleaning and one for rinsing. You will also need a firm bristled brush, dish washer soap a small sponge, a dry clean lint free cloth, a vacuum cleaner with a small crevice nozzle and some good lubricant spray.

Location of the Filter

You need to locate the air filter compartment under your hood. Depending on the size of your filter, this compartment will either be long and rectangular or smaller and square. Some filters are round. The compartment will usually unclip, so you do not need any special tools to access it. Unclip the compartment lid and remove the air filter.

The Compartment

As well as cleaning the air filter, you should also pay some attention to its compartment. The compartment accumulate dust and dirt, so don’t forget to clean the compartment too. Wipe it out with a sponge but make sure you squeeze the sponge completely out before using it. Don’t fill the compartment with water. Clean it thoroughly and wipe it dry with the clean cloth.

The Filter

Air filter cleaning is not a difficult job and will only take you about fifteen minutes. If your filter is a life time filter it will be durable and water proof. Once you have removed it, use the vacuum cleaner to suck off any dust and surface dirt. Add some dish washer detergent to the hot water in one bucket and put your filter in the bucket. Let it soak for about five minutes and then swish is quite roughly to agitate the water and soap. Don’t use dish liquid because that will bubble up for too much. The dishwasher soap is not as bubbly, so when you agitate the filter it won’t cause an explosion of foam. Make sure that the water and detergent get into all the creases of the filter. The pleated crevices need to allow the water inside so they can also be cleaned properly. Pull the filter from the bucket of water and use the firm bristled brush to scrub the gunk off the filter. Get as far into the creviced pleats are you can. You can even use a tooth brush or small wire brush to get into the deeper parts.

Rinsing

Put the filter into the bucket containing the clean water and again, agitate for a few minutes to make sure it is completely rinsed. You will need to allow the filter to dry properly but you can set it down in a warm place to speed up the process.

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