How to Change Air Filter

Updated: Feb. 15, 2023

Do this 10 minute job yourself and save $30

FH09JUN_AIRFIL_02-2 change air filterFamily Handyman
Replace your air filter in minutes. And vacuum out debris while you're at it.

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Replace your air filters

Photo 1: Vacuum the filter box

Remove the air filter and vacuum out any dirt.

Photo 2: Check the air filter

Hold the filter in front of a shop light. If dirt blocks more than 50 percent of the light, replace the filter.

When to Replace an Air Filter?

Told that your engine air filter needs replacing? It may be true. But testing your filter is easy and replacing it is a brainless task—so do it yourself. Replace the filter based on its actual condition rather than the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals. Checking its condition isn’t rocket science. Just pull it out and give it a look-see (photo 2). If it fails the back-light test, replace it. While the filter is out, vacuum out the crud in the air cleaner box.

Video: When to Change an Air Filter

A dirty air filter can decrease your gas mileage by almost 10%. Rick Muscoplat, an automotive expert at Family Handyman, will show you how to test and when to change an air filter and start getting better gas mileage.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Shop vacuum

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • New air filter