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How to Know if Your Engine Air Filter Needs to be Replaced

Like all filters, engine air filters will get clogged up sooner or later. It’s recommended to replace your air filter every 15K-30K miles. If you drive in dusty conditions on a regular basis, then you need to replace your engine air filter more frequently.

Checking your air filter is really easy to do. It’s highly recommended to check it at every oil change. Whether you’re experiencing symptoms of a clogged air filter or you have an oil change coming up, this guide will walk you through the process of checking your air filter.

The Signs of a Clogged Engine Air Filter

Replacing filter toyota

Here are the biggest telltale signs that you need to replace your engine air filter as soon as possible:

  • Reduced mileage
  • Misfires
  • Check engine light coming on
  • Reduced power

While these signs are reliable, the only way to be 100% sure is to visually inspect the engine air filter.

Finding the Engine Air Filter in Your Car

The location of the engine air filter depends on the Toyota model. The air filter is located inside a cold air collection box, which is usually a black plastic box located on top or on the side of the engine. You would usually just need basic tools like a 10mm socket, a ratchet, and an extension to access the engine air filter. On some vehicles, you don't need any tools at all. Here's a general overview on finding the air filter:

  1. Open the hood.
  2. Find the cold air collection box.
  3. Either un-do the latches, or unfasten the bolts holding it in place.
  4. Lift up the box cover and then pull out the engine air filter.

Once you have the air filter in your hands, it’s time to perform the light test.

The Light Test

To perform the light test, all you need is a bright light such as the sun or a bright lamp and a functioning set of eyes. Simply hold the air filter up to the bright light and see if any light shines through. If some of the light shines through, then the filter is still good. If there's no light shining through, then you need a new air filter. You could buy a little bit of time for the filter by gently tapping it to shake some of the dirt loose. Don't use an air compressor to blow through the backside of the filter because it may ruin the filter material.

Where to Find a Genuine OEM Replacement Air Filter

Filter toyota

Replacing the engine air filter is so easy that you don't need to bring your Toyota to a shop. In fact, you don't need to buy a replacement air filter from a shop. Replacement air filters, even OEM ones, are much cheaper online. You can save up to $10 on genuine OEM engine air filters on our website. We're an authorized seller of genuine OEM Toyota parts, and we offer same-day shipping. If you need assistance finding the right replacement engine air filter for your Toyota model, give us a shout!

Written by Jason Lancaster