Everything You Need To Know About Replacing Your Car Filters

Filters tend to fly under the radar of DIY car maintenance, but changing them is vitally important to your car’s smooth running. If you leave your filters for too long, your car can accumulate all sorts of dirt and toxic particles that can severely damage your car parts.

To help you along, we’ve teamed up with VW Motor Parts, the UK’s leading suppliers of genuine Volkswagen parts, and have put together a guide on everything you need to know about replacing your car filters so that the process can be as quick and painless as possible.

Air Filters

Air filters are a piece of (usually) paper or foam that slot into your car’s air duct to filter out pesky particles such as dirt, dust, and foliage. They’re fairly inexpensive to buy, with most falling between the price range of £20 – 30, depending on your car – you can buy your new air filter online from websites such as Demon Tweeks.

You should replace your air filters because, when in optimum conditions, they prevent the car’s engine from clogging and can fall hand in hand with better mileage per gallon.

In terms of when you should replace your car filters, your owner’s manual should provide you with some guidelines. Usually, you should replace your car’s air filters every 30,000 miles, or approximately once per year.

To change your car filters, you can go to a garage or do it yourself with these six simple steps:

  1. Make sure your car’s ignition is off and the handbrake is on. This ensures that your car isn’t going anywhere whilst you change your filter!
  1. Open and prop up your bonnet. Find the air filter housing, which is usually near the engine on old cars and should have a bulky exterior. On newer cars, the air duct should be found between the front grill and the engine, and tend to be lightweight and rectangular.
  1. Once you have found the filter housing, remove the filter by undoing all of the necessary screws, bolts, or clamps keeping it in the housing. Do not discard these screws and bolts, put them in a safe place for later.
  1. Clean the housing with a vacuum cleaner.
  1. Put in the new car filter with the rim facing upwards.
  1. Replace the cover and put down the bonnet.

Fuel Filters

Fuel filters, which are usually made out of filter paper, are a monumental part of a car’s operation because they filter out dirt and rust from fuel.

If you’re unsure about when you should change your petrol filters, check your owner’s manual for the guidelines. Roughly, you should be changing your fuel filter every 20,000 miles to ensure optimum working conditions.

It’s probably best to get your petrol filter changed at the garage if you’re not confident, but if you do decide to do it yourself, here’s how:

  1. Make sure your car is parked on a level surface with the ignition off and the handbrake on. Before you turn on the engine, disable the electric fuel pump.
  1. Remove the screws, bolts or clamps that are holding your fuel filter in place, but don’t discard them – keep them in a safe place for later. Then, remove your fuel filter.
  1. Take your new filter and make sure it’s the right way around. There should be an arrow printed on the filter to show you which way around it needs to be attached.
  1. Put your new filter in and secure it with whichever bolts, screws or clamps necessary.
  1. Replace the fuse for the fuel pump.
  1. Turn on the ignition and check for any fuel leaks around the filter area.

Engine Oil Filters

Over time, the oil that cleans your engine can become dirty and contaminated and those particles are filtered out by your engine oil filter. So, if you don’t change your engine oil filters, hard particles can build up and cause damage to the surface of your engine.

In order to find out how often you should change your engine oil filter, check your car owner’s manual, but you will usually be required to change your filter at around every 10,000 miles.

You can get your oil filter changed at a garage, or you can do it yourself following these simple steps:

  1. Turn on the ignition for five minutes to warm the oil, then turn it off.
  1. Drive your car onto two ramps so that you can get to the engine with ease.
  1. Check your car owner’s manual to locate the oil drain plug. Then, with a receptacle beneath it, unscrew the cap and drain the oil. Be especially careful during this step because the oil is likely to be hot.
  1. Once the oil has drained completely, replace the drain plug. Then, using a wrench, loosen the oil filter. This may still contain hot oil, so be cautious.
  1. Coat the rubber seal of your new filter with oil as lubrication, then screw it into place.
  1. Fill the engine with fresh oil and turn on the ignition. Once the ignition is on, check for any oil leaks.

For more information on changing your engine oil filters, check out this article from Popular Mechanics.

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