Filters play an important role in the maintenance of your vehicle, hence it is important to know the types of filters in a car and why you need to change them?
Just like us humans, a car needs uncontaminated air and liquids to operate correctly. The engine is kept clean and in good working condition by filters that help keep out contaminants while letting clean air and liquids pass through some of its essential components.
When one of these filters gets overly dirty or clogged, it can cause problems and affect performance. Although they are one of the cheapest parts of a car, they play such a significant role in keeping them going, so it is vital to keep on top of them.
There are five primary filters in every car. They are;
- Oil filter
- Air filter
- Cabin filter
- Fuel filter
- Transmission filter
Knowing what these filters are and what they do will help you make sure they are in good working order, so let's dig in because we all want to have an efficient running car.
1. Oil Filter
The oil filter helps maintain continuous engine oil flow while removing dirt, oxidized oil and metallic particles that may appear in engine oil due to engine wear. It basically purifies the engine oil so that it can lubricate the engine parts efficiently.
An oil filter is not a lifetime item and only has enough filtration power until the following oil change. An old oil filter will most likely be clogged and will allow impurities to pass through it. This will damage the engine as it cannot filter out harmful particles and metal shavings. A clogged filter will also slow down the flow of oil, leading to premature engine wear, poor performance, or even engine failure.
2. Air Filter
An air filter is an essential component in the air intake that helps to keep the air going into the engine clean of contaminants. The filter keeps road grime, dirt, bugs and everything else that blows into your vehicle's grill from entering the engine. The air filter is one of the most accessible filters to change in a car and should be changed every couple of years. If you live and drive in dusty areas, it's best to change them yearly.
A clean air filter lets clean air into the engine and gives the car good performance. Unfortunately, many car owners forget about the air filter, so if you've bought a used car, it's best to check this part as it tells you a lot about the car's previous owner and how well the vehicle has been taken care of. A good indication of a bad air filter is higher than regular fuel consumption and black smoke from the exhaust as the fuel combustion is incomplete and leads to dirty exhaust smoke.
3. Fuel Filter
A fuel filter removes impurities like dust, rust and grit contained in the fuel. They usually pick these impurities as they transfer from the refinery to the transporter and the petrol station. By filtering out these contaminants, the fuel filter protects your fuel injectors and pumps from being clogged and plays a crucial role in maintaining the performance and longevity of your car's engine.
If your fuel filter is clogged, it can reduce fuel flow and cause the engine to stall as it has difficulties drawing fuel. Also, with a clogged filter, the fuel pump works much harder, and you may have problems starting the car or notice poor acceleration.
4. Cabin Filter
The cabin air filter keeps the air clean in your cabin. It filters out dust and other air pollutants out of the air so you can breathe clean air while driving. While this doesn't affect the car, it will affect the driver and is a crucial part of the cabin ventilation system.
Also, having a clean cabin filter will maximize airflow, which can help your air conditioning system blow colder air. The cabin air filter will also help filter exhaust fumes that are hazardous to your health. The cabin air filter is relatively easy to replace and you can probably do it yourself.
5. Automatic Transmission Oil Filter
Like an engine oil filter, the automatic transmission oil filter removes dirt, oxidized oil and metallic particles that may appear in the transmission due to transmission wear. While some consider this a non-essential replacement, automatic transmissions rely heavily on hydraulics, which is basically pressurising fluid and using it to move things, so wouldn't you want the liquid to be clean?
The transmission filter is usually located at the transmission itself, so it is a bit more costly to replace. If you ever feel like your transmission is not shifting crisply or just seems to hold on to gears for a long time, then perhaps a transmission service of oil and filter is needed.
As you can read above, filters play an important role in a car, so next time you're due for a service get your mechanic to check and replace them, especially if you have never done it before.