Have you noticed some issues with your Toyota lately? Are you stopping for gas more often? Is the engine sputtering? Perhaps you’ve recently noticed dark smoke coming from the exhaust. Any of these could be signs of a bad air filter.
In simple terms, cars are built with a combustion chamber where air and fuel combine to ignite an engine. One of the components of a car is the air filter. This ensures that clean and uncontaminated air flows through the engine.
Air filters have a central function and they get dirty very quickly. When this happens, they become faulty and restrict airflow which can impact car performance. An air filter keeps dirt, contaminants, and even bugs from going inside the engine. If the air supply to the combustion chamber is not clean or if it is clogged up, then you’ll be burning more fuel, and stopping at gas stations more often. Below are several tips on how to identify a bad air filter in your vehicle.
Unusual Engine Noises
When the engine is idling, you should typically hear a hum. If the air filter is clogged and there’s bad airflow, then you may hear a popping or sputtering sound. It may even sound like the engine is “coughing.”
Also, you might hear a whistling sound because the build up on the filter screen has restricted the airflow. Basically, there will be various unusual engine sounds that just do not sound healthy. This is a sign you should check your air filter.
Lack of Power
If you’re noticing that your vehicle isn’t running as efficiently as it used to, then it could be an issue with the air filter. Lack of proper air supply to the engine can result in poor acceleration, and an overall slower and more sluggish feel. You’ll notice the drive isn’t as smooth as it was before. To fix this, you might only need to do something as simple as replace the air filter.
Check Engine Light is Illuminated
Is your check engine light on? The combustion chamber of your vehicle has carbon deposits. These can clog the air filter which restricts airflow into the engine. Less air supply leads to inefficient burning of the fuel, and this may trigger the check engine light.
Visually Dark and Dirty Air Filter
Air filters are usually a white or off-white color. This will darken over time as debris and dust accumulate on the screen. When it becomes visibly dirty, it’s time to replace the filter.
Reduction in Fuel Economy
We already mentioned this before, but it should be emphasized. Fuel and air are needed for an engine. When a dirty air filter restricts air flow, more fuel is used to compensate. If you notice reduced mileage and increase stops for gas, then it could be due to a clogged up air filter.
Misfiring of the Engine
If you have noticed rough jerks when you’re idling or accelerating, this could be due to restricted air flow. It means that there is more inefficiently burned fuel and soot residue. This clogs up the spark plug tip, which can result in improper spark for igniting combustions. Thus, the engine of your vehicle can have misfires or fail.
Exhaust Fumes and Gasoline Smell
The incomplete fuel burning leaves the exhaust as dark gray or black smoke. Sometimes there will even be flames or sparks as the unburned fuel mixes with heat from the exhaust system. Also, you may notice a strong smell of gasoline emitting from your vehicle, which is dangerous to you and your passengers.
Franklin Automotive for your Air Filter Issues
If you notice any of these signs, visit Franklin Automotive and let our skilled technicians inspect your Toyota. We are easily reachable for our clients in Hoover, Homewood, Vestavia, Mountain Brook, Inverness, Cahaba Heights, Greystone, and Birmingham.
Our experienced mechanics are experts in air filters and engine issues. We will run a diagnostic check and advise you of the findings so you can choose what to do next. If the issue is the air filter, we will replace it for you quickly and affordably.
Don’t take a chance and keep driving with a dirty air filter. Let us take a look so you can have peace of mind. Call or visit us at Franklin Automotive today.