Can You Clean Your Car’s Air Filter?


The air filter is an often overlooked component of a motor vehicle, yet it can make a tremendous difference in the comfort and quality of your ride. One recent study puts this in perspective with 95 percent of motorists admitting to issues with air quality in their vehicles but only 26 percent knowing whether they had an air filter.

In the following article, we will talk more about the air filter and whether they can be reused. Let’s begin!

The Short Answer Is Yes

Whether using a car or diesel air filter, you should be able to reuse them at least once provided there is no significant damage. That said, some, namely filter manufacturers, are likely to caution you against it. Nevertheless, you should be fine as long as you follow these five simple steps.

1. Locate

The car air filter location may vary depending on the make and model. It’s usually in the same basic area under the hood in a rectangular-shaped housing called the cold air collector box. Check your owner’s manual either online or in print to be certain.

2. Remove

Whether cleaning the existing filter or installing a new replacement air filter, you’ll need to remove the old one. This isn’t a particularly difficult thing to do, but you’ll want to do it when the engine is turned off and cold to keep from any potential burns or injuries.

The process involves loosening the housing, which will probably be in place with a clamp or screws. After these items are loosened, lift the box and pull out the filter.

3. Vacuum

One of the best ways to clean a car or truck air filter is to use a vacuum. You can purchase a hand vac specifically for this purpose or use the attachment on your household vacuum. Doing so will remove the larger pieces of dirt and grime and pave the way for the remainder of the cleaning process.

4. Soak by Hand or Invest

Another step to cleaning an air filter by hand is to soak it in water. You’ll want to do this after you’ve collected as much out of it as you can. Another solution you might wish to consider involves the use of a specifically designed air filter cleaner.

These cost a bit more, and they are designed for diesel engine air filters or any other canister-style filters. They’re usually worth the price for the number of times they allow you to clean and reuse an air filter.

5. Replace

Replace the air filter when you’re certain it’s dry. They’re not bolted down and just lay inside of the cold air collector box. Refasten the clamp or screws, and voila, you’re ready to roll again.

Your Car Air Filter Can Be Cleaned

A car, truck, or diesel air filter can be cleaned and reused with the right approach and the right tools for the task. Once you’ve completed the task, it will improve the quality of air that you are able to experience while using your automobile and may even help alleviate seasonal allergies and other health issues.

Try it for yourself and see! For more automotive tips and information, we encourage you to check out some of our additional posts!