The LightHouse Automotive Guide to Vehicle Filters

Every vehicle has four primary types of filters that perform very simple, yet important functions. As the term implies, they filter out dirt, debris and impurities that can otherwise contaminate vital automotive components and hinder performance.

Here's what you need to know about your vehicle's different filters, according to the Colorado Springs auto repair experts at LightHouse Automotive:

1. Oil Filter

This is probably the filter that most car owners are most familiar with because it needs to be changed the most often. When a standard oil change is performed, the oil filter will be replaced along with any oil in the reservoir. This ensures that fresh oil is running through the engine components and providing the necessary lubrication and cooling properties. It's important to change the oil filter often because it easily gets blocked up with dirt an grime. When that happens, the oil in the engine won't be as clean and that can lead to problems.

2. Engine Air Filter

Most people are fairly familiar with this filter, as well, because it also has to be changed out somewhat often. How often depends on a lot of factors. The general rule of thumb is that when it gets too dirty, it's time to replace it. A good mechanic will be able to let you know when that time comes because it is usually checked during maintenance visits. The engine air filter is part of the intake system that pulls fresh oxygen into the engine combustion chamber. When the air filter is blocked up by dirt/debris or has any damage that is letting bad stuff through, it can hurt the performance of the engine and potentially lead to internal damage. That's why it is so important to replace it as needed.

3. Cabin Air Filter

Though it performs a similar function, the cabin air filter is very different than the engine air filter. It doesn't need to be replaced quite as often and it is more about keeping the air you breathe inside the car clean. Think about the air filter in your home's air conditioner or heating system that you should be replacing at least once or twice a year. The cabin filter is essentially the same thing. As air recirculates from the outside vents through the cabin and through the A/C system, this filter helps keep things fresher and cleaner. Again, a mechanic can tell you when it is time to replace it. Sometimes, you may just notice a musty/dirty smell that gets worse over time. That is usually your nose telling you to get your cabin air filter checked soon!

4. Fuel Filter

Last but certainly not least is the fuel filter. This is a vital part of the vehicle's fuel system because it filters out contaminants that may be in the fuel before it goes into the engine. Sometimes gasoline isn't 100% clean or rust/dirt can build up inside your gas tank. The fuel filter helps keep any impurities from going into the engine's combustion chamber. It's a good idea to get a routine fuel system service every so often, which will involve replacing the fuel filter (among other important preventative maintenance procedures).

If you are due to replace any of your vehicle's filters or want to get them inspected as part of a maintenance visit, call LightHouse Automotive today at (719) 465-0302 or schedule your service appointment online.

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