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How to Change Your Air Filter

To maximize gas mileage and minimize emissions, your air filter should be changed every six months or 15,000 miles. To optimize savings, change it yourself.


  • Step 1: Park level, turn off engine Park your car on a level surface in the shade. Turn off the engine and let it cool down.
  • Step 2: Locate air filter Open the hood and locate the air filter. In most cars, it's enclosed inside a round or rectangular plastic case at the top or front of the engine.
  • Step 3: Flip open clasps Flip open the metal clasps on either side of the case. If they're stuck, use the flathead screwdriver to pry them open. In some older cars, you may need to unscrew the cover.
  • Step 4: Pull out old filter Pull the old filter out of the case.
  • TIP: Hold the old filter up to the light—if you can see light through it, it's still in good shape and can be reinserted.
  • Step 5: Slide in clean filter Slide in the clean air filter.
  • Step 6: Close clasps Close the clasps on the case.
  • Step 7: Close hood Close the hood—and breath easy. Now your car can, too.
  • FACT: In the first episode of the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lieutenant Commander Geordi's VISOR was actually a car air filter.

You Will Need

  • A flat-head screwdriver
  • And a new air filter

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