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What’s the harm in putting off replacing my engine air filter a little longer?

M&R Auto Repair Answer:

It is a fair question, because the harm takes a while to manifest. Whenever your head to your local quick oil change place, it seems like they always want to change the air filter. At M&R Auto Repair we won't do that. A licensed technician will inspect many areas of your vehicles when it is in, if the air filter is clogged, we will tell you. To understand it a little better, let's take a small step back and talk about what an engine air filter does. The air all around us contains dust, dirt, pollen, spores, etc. Some areas and times of the year have more contaminants in the air. The job of the air filter is to keep that stuff out of your engine. Now your engine uses a lot of air – like 12,000 litres of air for every litre of fuel – so the engine air filter has an important job to do. When the filter gets full and can’t hold any more dirt, all that air still has to get to the engine so dirt gets forced through the filter and heads on downstream. The air flows passes the mass air flow (MAF) sensor on its way to the engine. The MAF sensor tells the engine control computer how much air is coming so the computer can send the proper amount of fuel into the engine to maintain the correct air-to-fuel ratio. When dirty air is flowing passed the filter, harmful dirt starts to build up on the delicate MAF sensor elements causing incorrect air flow readings. The computer then sends the wrong amount of fuel to the engine. This can rob power from the engine. But the harm comes from unburned fuel passing out through the exhaust system and getting caught in the catalytic converter leading to pricey damage. A primary cause of catalytic converter failure is improper engine management, often triggered by a dirty MAF sensor which was contaminated because the engine air filter had not been replaced as recommended. Now motorists can buy several cases of engine air filters for what it would cost to replace a catalytic converter. So when it’s time to replace your engine filter keep in mind the potential long term effects of putting it off. Talk to your informative M&R Auto Repair tech. Give us a call M&R Auto Repair 342 Sidney Street Trenton, Ontario K8V 2V2 613-394-6618

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