# Car air filter question

1. Feb 23, 2013

After getting an oil change yesterday, the people there said my air filter was pretty dirty and it needed to be changed soon. They didn't have a replacement, but said the one I need is like 50$. I was wondering if you really need to replace the air filter, or if you can just clean it. If you can clean it, that means those people took out my air filter, saw how dirty it was, and then put it right back in. That seems kinda strange to me. That's like a doctor doing an operation on someone, and he checks everything else out while he's in there, sees there's a kidney stone in the kidney and leaves it there and tells you later that you should get a new kidney soon. 2. Feb 23, 2013 ### BobG I don't know what kind of exotic car you have to own a$50 air filter that needs replaced, unless....

For most cars, there's two different strategies for buying air filters:

1) Buy the cheap air filters and replace them when you change your oil (or perhaps every couple of oil changes, if it's not dirty, but air filters get dirty fairly quickly if you drive off-road a lot, as I do).

2) Buy the expensive air filter that you clean instead of replace. It's the last air filter you should need to buy for your car. Sounds like a great idea and I've done that ..... once. But then I went back to the cheap air filters because replacing them is a lot easier than cleaning them.

It's possible you have the expensive air filters that you're supposed to clean, but have gone so long without cleaning it that it seems like a lost cause. Otherwise, it's hard to imagine having to pay $50 to replace an air filter. 3. Feb 23, 2013 ### marcusl Yes, you should replace it regularly (yearly is "average," no longer than every 2 years for low mileage driving in "clean" locales, 6 months if you drive a truck on a farm), and no, you can't clean it.$50 sounds high, but you are paying for labor which might be worth the money since changing a filter can be difficult (it certainly is on my 2004 Highlander). You can always do it yourself for around $15-25 from your local auto parts store. 4. Feb 23, 2013 ### OmCheeto Thank you for reminding me that I need to replace my air filter. This will be the first time I've done this with my new truck. And look! An instructional video! Looks about as difficult as on my last 10 vehicles. Googling indicates that it will cost me between$12 and $56. ps. I have never cleaned an air filter, nor, to my knowledge, had a kidney stone. 5. Feb 23, 2013 ### zoobyshoe I didn't know there was such a thing. How do you clean them? 6. Feb 23, 2013 ### Ivan Seeking Staff Emeritus You can blow it off with an air line but particulates are embedded in the material itself. 7. Feb 23, 2013 ### Saladsamurai I had one of the K&N's once. You need a special oil and there is a procedure. To the OP: Just buy one at a parts store and do it yourself. They are usually quite simple (unless your car makes the air filter particularly difficult to access, but most cars are pretty straightforward). Probably shouldn't be more than$20 (USD) and an hour of your time (probably more like 15 minutes after you have done it a few times).

8. Feb 23, 2013

### leroyjenkens

Actually the price the lady gave me was just the price of the filter. I checked online and it was about right. I have a Mazda 2, so not only do I need an expensive oil, but I need an expensive air filter too. That's why I wanted to just clean it.

9. Feb 23, 2013

### OmCheeto

So you have a cleanable air filter installed?

I've never had one of those.

Press the button for my solution:
https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT2ieP1ZdYIgfpfVSJf3T6MW-kSyUBpmD5iQm6hda20a4zKDfDr [Broken]

~$10 for the cheap disposable ones. ps. I would never jeopardize the life of my$10,000+ investment by worrying about whether or not to pay $10-$50 annually to keep it properly maintained. But that's just me.
pps. I change my own oil and filters.
ppps. I am so glad I got rid of my Chrysler Ebola......

Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
10. Feb 23, 2013

### jim hardy

Near as i can tell, a Mazda 2 takes Fram CA9484 air filter, Should be twenty bucks or so at an auto parts store.. half that mail order but add shipping....

Learn to do simple maintenance yourself...

Not an endorsement, just a sample result of google search for your part ....

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=3071157

11. Feb 23, 2013

### AlephZero

That sounds about right compared with a "manufacturer's original part" - $20 for the filter, plus$30 for a fancy box with a Mazda logo on it.

12. Feb 23, 2013

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Oh, just stick a panty hose foot into a sock and place it over the intake.

13. Feb 23, 2013

### jim hardy

They load up with dirt in direction of airflow.
Knock the dust and leaves off incoming side with a soft brush.
If you have an air gun like in that video blow thru it backward.
Look at outgoing side - when it begins turning dark it's time to replace.

I grew up in S Florida where they last ten years because the seabreeze is clean air.
Since moved to midwest now they only go ~2 years, maybe 30 K miles...

14. Feb 23, 2013

### SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
If you can replace or rebuild your engine for less than $50, I wouldn't worry about it. 15. Feb 23, 2013 ### lisab Staff Emeritus 16. Feb 23, 2013 ### OmCheeto I paid$50 for my first car. I think it might have been the fact that the drivers door was missing that got me such a great deal.

That was in 1975.