Car air filters need to be changed every 15,000 miles but in order to stretch the performance and ensure your filter is working at optimum levels, you also need to clean it regularly. Read on for tips on how to clean your filter properly.

Image Credit

Dirt and dust in a car air filter accumulates gradually, resulting in the air supply to the engine getting less and less. This results in lower fuel economy and lower performance. Your car will always run more efficiently with a clean filter so it makes sense to clean it regularly between changes.

Finding the filter

Sometimes it can take a while to find the air filter on your car. It is usually quite easy to find and you can look in your handbook or ask your mechanic. You can usually get it out using the wing nut or clamps and it is normally housed inside a small canister. The filter will be easy to get out of the canister once you have located it and now it is ready to clean.

Types of filter

Your filter can be made from industrial quality paper or card, such as a panel filter from stockists like You can also get foam polyurethane, or cotton gauze high-performance material filters. The old filters used to use an oil bath filter which was very messy, but new filters use paper or another material.

Image Credit

Washing or vacuuming the filter

In order to clean your filter, you can wash it or you can vacuum it. It is possible to use a simple cleaning solution to wash the filter clean or you could use a car vacuum cleaner to carefully suck out the dust and dirt. If you wash the filter you have to get it totally dry before replacing, as a wet filter could damage your engine. Vacuuming won’t clean it as deeply but it is safer and easier. You could use a simple cordless vacuum cleaner, although some are more effective than others –

Once you have cleaned the filter you also need to clean the canister it is housed within. You can use a soft cloth or paper towel to clean this but make sure you always leave it totally dry before replacing the filter into the canister, as leaving a wet canister could also leave the engine damaged.