Your engine also needs clean air to burn the fuel – and it needs a lot. In fact, a typical vehicle needs about 216,000 gallons of air for every tank of gas.
All that air passes through a filter that catches the dust and dirt. Eventually the filter gets completely full. Because the filter can only hold so much, dirt starts getting through. This dirty air passes through the mass airflow sensor and starts to accumulate on the delicate sensor element. The mass air flow sensor measures how much air is getting into your engine. When the airflow reading is incorrect, your engine doesn’t get the proper amount of fuel. It runs rough and doesn’t perform as well as it should.
Eventually, the sensor is so damaged it needs to be replaced – which is pricey. In fact, you could buy a case or two of air filters for the cost of a sensor replacement.
Of course, that dirty air keeps on going through to your engine where it’s burned along with the fuel, which dirties up your combustion chamber and increases harmful exhaust emissions.
When your service advisor brings out your dirty air filter and recommends a replacement, remember the cost and poor performance that can be waiting for you down the road if you neglect this simple service. Ask your service advisor if it’s time to replace your engine air filter.
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