Introduction: How to Replace an Air Filter

Video tutorial on how to replace the air filter on your vehicle. Having a dirty or plugged air filter can cause a variety of issues such as poor fuel mileage, decreased performance, and idling issues. Maintenance intervals depend on what vehicle manufacturers suggest, but as a generic specification it’s good to change your air filter at about 30,000km or about 20,000 miles. This will also be dependant on your driving conditions, if you’re located in an area with more or less dust or airborne contaminants. This particular tutorial was done on a 1998 Ford Ranger 2.5L 4 cylinder. The other vehicle I demonstrated in the video was a 1997 BMW 540i E39 4.4L V8 M62.

Tools/Supplies Needed:

  • screwdriver
  • socket and ratchet
  • new replacement air filter

Step 1: Accessing the Filter

Start by gaining access to your engine bay and locating the air box. Disconnect any sensors if needed and remove the intake hose using a screwdriver or socket and ratchet if needed. Open air box by either disconnecting clips or removing bolts, styles will vary depending on manufacturer. Move the top cover of the air box out of the way. The Ford Ranger shown in the photos, the mass air flow sensor, and intake hose needs to be disconnected. After depress the tangs and pull the top portion of the box upwards, then disconnect he tangs on the fender side.

Step 2: Accessing the Filter

For this particular air box found on a BMW 540i, use a standard screwdriver to pry away the metal clips, disconnect the air temperature sensor, and then pull the top portion of the box off to the side.

Step 3: Inspection and Cleaning

Now remove the air filter and inspect it to determine if it needs replacement. Hold it up to the light to see if you can see light through the filter or inspect how much dirt is in the filtration material. Regardless if you are replacing the filter or not, it is a good practice to clean the air box. The air box can be cleaned by using a vacuum or wiping it down, also ensure the drains aren't plugged if equipped.

Step 4: Install the Filter

Reinstall the old filter or install the new filter into the housing. Ensure it sits connectedly around the ledge as this can cause problems when closing the air box.

Step 5: All Done!

Close the air box and reinstallation of other parts in reverse.

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