Monthly Archives: October 2018

Automotive air filters were simple to find

A quick wipe of the debris out of the bottom of the housing, and you could drop in the new filter, replace the lid and wing nut, and be on your way.

But now, with the trend toward smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient cars, the engine compartment has become smaller therefore reducing the manufactures options to place the air intake as well as the air filter which allows for clean, fresh, cool air to enter the engine for optimal performance.

According to Kevin O’Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications at MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters NA LLC, the result is that you’ll find some very creative sizes, shapes, and locations of engine air filters in today’s cars. This means that air filters are not where you are used to finding them. The good news is, once you know where they’re located, they’re almost always very simple to replace.

Where Do You Look?
In general, expect to find your air filter located somewhere in the (usually black plastic) duct work that runs from the grille area to the top area of the engine. Your clue is usually a series of 4-6 “flip clips” that unsnap to reveal your air filter after separating a piece of the housing formerly held in place by the flip clips. With the air filter element now exposed, you can simply lift it out, noting the orientation so you can install your new filter properly.

In some cases, you’ll need to scan the full length of the duct work to locate the filter housing, explains O’Dowd. The filter may be located as far front as right behind a headlight, somewhere in the middle, or right over top of the engine. And not all filter housings use flip clips. Some use Phillips-head screws to hold the housing in place. Other applications may use hex bolts and/or nuts.

What Can You Expect To Find?
Most of today’s air filters are of a flat panel design, which minimizes space requirements while offering the maximum surface area for optimal filtration with minimal restriction to air flow. And most, but not all, are square or rectangular in shape. But some are trapezoidal in order to make the best use of available space. Also, some are mounted vertically, some horizontally, and some at an angle. Some may even be found in a tray similar to the CD-ROM tray in a computer where you simply slide the tray out, replace the air filter element, and slide the tray back in.

Just to make things even more interesting, some air filter elements in newer cars are not of the flat panel type, but may be cylindrical or conical in shape. In nearly every instance this shape is dictated by the car maker in consideration of the space available under the hood, however the replacement procedure is usually straightforward.

Once you’ve located and gained access to the old air filter, the actual replacement couldn’t be simpler, says our Purolator spokesman. Just lift out the old filter, noting the orientation (top and bottom, front and back) to facilitate installation of the new filter. Then wipe out the housing with a clean, damp rag, properly orient the new filter, and replace the housing and retaining clips or hardware.

“The cost of a new air filter is modest,” explains O’Dowd, “so we find that most professionals and DIYers opt for our premium PureONE air filter which is 99.5 percent efficient and has twice the capacity of conventional air filters. Obviously the labor is no more complex to install a premium filter, and the job is well within the capability of nearly every do-it-yourselfer, so there’s little reason to install anything less than the best filter available.”

“Plus, there’s much help available,” continues O’Dowd. “Your local repair shop technician can quickly and easily point out the location and procedure for replacing your air filter, as will the parts professional at your local auto parts store.”

Six key systems before the temperatures start to drop

The Car Care Council strongly recommends that all vehicle owners check six key systems before the temperatures start to drop.

  • Battery -Keep the battery connections clean, tight and corrosion-free. Cold weather is hard on batteries – your local mechanic can check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail completely so it’s wise to replace batteries that are more than three years old.
  • Antifreeze – Antifreeze (coolant) should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. As a reminder, do not add 100 percent antifreeze as full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when mixed with water.
  • Brakes – Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item and is key while driving on icy or snow-covered roads.
  • Tires – Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires will lose pressure when temperatures drop.
  • Oil – Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to low-viscosity oil in winter, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold. Drivers in sub-zero driving temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
  • Wiper Blades – Cold weather can affect the life of windshield wipers. Freezing temperatures can make the rubber hard and brittle and increase the potential for cracks. Wiper blades that are cracked or torn, or that chatter, streak and don’t properly clean your windshield, should be changed. Some manufacturers offer special winter blades that have a rubber boot covering the arm assembly to keep snow and ice out. When changing the blades, have the windshield wiper system nozzles cleaned and adjusted if necessary, and check the windshield washer reservoir in case it needs fluid.

“Checking these six key systems in your vehicle ahead of time will give you confidence when you’re driving in brutal winter conditions,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Vehicle maintenance is always more convenient when you’re doing it on your schedule, and a few easy preventive measures can save you the headaches and cost of an emergency breakdown.”

During the winter, the Car Care Council recommends keeping your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full as that decreases the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Finally, if you’re due for a tune-up, consider having it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.

Take Better Care of Your Car

Most people make new year’s resolutions. Resolving to lose weight and exercise can be tough ones to keep, but resolving to take better care of your car has never been easier with the free online custom service schedule from the non-profit Car Care Council.

“Signing up for our free customized service schedule and e-mail reminder service is a simple way to help you take better care of your vehicle throughout the year,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “It is an easy-to-use resource designed to help you drive smart, save money and make informed decisions about preventative vehicle maintenance.”

The Car Care Council’s personalized online schedule and e-mail reminder service, powered by DriverSide.com, is free of charge and can be customized by motorists to help make vehicle ownership more enjoyable, economical and convenient.

“Whether you do it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, following a preventative maintenance schedule will help keep your vehicle safe, dependable and on the road longer,” said White.

To help consumers become more comfortable with the auto service and repair process, the Car Care Council produced a video entitled “Auto Service and Repair: What to Expect,” which provides a wealth of information on such topics as finding the right auto repair facility, what to expect at the shop and what questions to ask.