Any automobile relies on several filters to manage particulates and contaminants in various fluids. These fluids include everything from oil to engine coolant to air, and leaving your old filters in place for too long can have surprising consequences. If you typically defer your automotive maintenance until problems start to show up here, you may want to reconsider this and take a look at these three essential filters.
1. Engine Air Filter
When you think about what keeps your engine going, you probably think that gasoline is the key ingredient. While you won't be generating any power without gas, oxygen is equally important to the combustion process. In fact, that internal combustion engines are primarily giant air pumps.
For a gasoline engine, your throttle essentially controls the amount of air the engine receives. Components such as turbochargers also work to pump more air into the engine. Unsurprisingly, your air filter must keep dangerous particulates out of the combustion chamber while allowing your engine to breathe as freely as possible.
Leaving an old air filter in place for too long will inevitably restrict airflow to your engine, reducing efficiency. If the problem becomes severe enough, your engine may begin to run "rich," meaning that there's too much fuel in the air/fuel mixture. This situation can cause many problems and potentially damage expensive parts of your vehicle.
2. Motor Oil Filter
Have you ever thought you could save a few bucks on an oil change by replacing the oil and leaving the filter in place? Unfortunately, this straightforward cost-saving measure will most likely end in disaster. Like your air filter, your motor oil filter keeps harmful contaminants out of your oil. This role ensures maximum lubrication for your oil and prevents particulates from wearing out internal components.
Even with a relatively young and well-maintained engine, your oil filter will pick up plenty of debris and sludge. In other words, the oil filter will become more restrictive over time. Running the same filter through multiple oil changes can drastically impact your car's oil pressure. In a severe case, a dirty filter can starve your engine of oil and result in catastrophic internal failure.
3. Cabin Air Filter
If there's one filter many people ignore on their vehicles, it's the cabin air filter. This filter serves the same role as the HVAC filter in your home. Like your home's HVAC filter, the primary role of the cabin filter is to protect HVAC components, such as the evaporator coil and heater core, from excessive dust or debris buildup.
As with your home's HVAC system, a new filter can improve air quality, but that's not its primary role. Instead, a dirty filter can restrict airflow over these components, potentially reducing your car's heating and cooling efficiency. Leaving a clogged filter in place for too long can even overwork your car's air conditioning compressor, potentially causing serious and expensive damage.
For more information about car filters, contact a local company.