Comprehensive preventive maintenance and repairing defects early on helps to control your maintenance costs. When it comes to your preventive maintenance routine, one important area not to be overlooked is your engine air filter.
Failure to identify when your air filter needs to be replaced can mean having to replace a $50,000 engine down the line. This makes knowing when and how to replace your air filter essential to protecting your equipment.
Air Filters Help Your Engine Breathe
The most important function of the engine air filter is to protect your entire engine against debris and contaminants. When your filter becomes too filthy, it can no longer do its job, and ends up becoming a debris of its own.
Clean air filters are also key to fuel efficiency. Air is one of the main elements that puts your wheels in motion. Precise amounts of air combined with diesel fuel create the energy that makes your ride move. Therefore, when clean air and fuel mix, you can expect more miles per gallon from your vehicle.
On the flip side, contaminated air makes that process more difficult. A dusty, debris-filled filter will result in air restriction, limiting the amount of air that can flow into the engine. To compensate for this, the engine works harder and as a result, consumes more fuel along the way, lowering your miles per gallon. This alone shows the benefits of a clean air filter, but it’s not the only reason you should keep yours clean.
A blocked air filter is also a common cause of reduced power output. As mentioned before, clogged filters make it harder for engines to draw in air. This breathing difficulty chokes up your engine, so to speak. This then drains the power out of your engine, resulting in power loss.
When to Replace Your Diesel Engine Air Filter
As a general rule of thumb, you should change your air filter after every 100,000 miles. Keep in mind, this also depends on where your route takes you. You should check it more often if you drive a short-haul operation or in salty, dusty or polluted areas.
A restriction gauge and tracking sheet can also help you decide when to replace this filter. Every time you service your vehicle, document the restriction reading and the truck. Use logic to determine if the restriction on the gauge is realistic or just a false high reading. A false high reading, for example, can be caused when your truck is running through an abundance of rain.
Reset the gauge, run another trip and then recheck it. If it goes past 18 to 20 inches of restriction or hits the red scale, you need to replace the filter.
If you decide to service your own air filter, remember to NEVER remove it unless you intend to replace it. The inner seal on an air filter compresses slightly when installed. If removed and reinstalled in the air filter housing, the seal will not spring back enough to prevent the engine from pulling dirt and debris around the seal and into the engine.
If you prefer to leave it up to professionals, find a TA Truck Service near you and let our expert technicians do the work.
Don’t wait until you experience engine issues to check your air filter. Schedule your preventive maintenance and replace clogged filters early on to help control your running costs and keep you on the road.