Filter buyer's guide

Did you know that your car uses several filters to keep external dirt, grime and water from entering vital systems?

Filters are vital bits of kit which keep everything working as it should, so damaged or blocked filters can become a big problem.

Over time, filters will naturally degrade and potentially become clogged up with all sorts of grime that need to be kept away from important areas, so they may need to be replaced. Here’s our guide to the filters in your vehicle and what to do if they need to be replaced.

What does each filter do?

Air filters

Air filters prevent dirt and grime from entering your car’s engine intake. The cleaner the air, the more efficiently your engine will burn fuel, so you’ll spend less on fuel and enjoy improved performance. If this filter becomes clogged, then your engine will need to burn more fuel, or may even stop working if the filter prevents any air from entering the engine intake.

As this filter is such a critical piece of kit, it needs to be checked regularly. It’ll get looked at during your interim or annual service, but it’s worth looking out for the signs that show the filter could be blocked. If the fan stays on longer, or your car suddenly feels sluggish, then the air filter may be the issue, so drop it into a Halfords garage where we’ll take a look for you.

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Cabin filter

Did you know that the air you breathe while you’re driving actually travels through a filter before it reaches the inside of the car? Air conditioning systems in modern cars draw air from outside the car, but irritants like pollen could cause driving to become a miserable experience.

These filters will also do a decent job of keeping other unwanted particles from entering the cabin (although not everything), so make sure they’re checked and potentially changed at least once a year.

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Oil filter

Oil is a vital car consumable, helping to lubricate moving parts and dissipate heat caused by friction. The key to a healthy car is to ensure not only that there’s enough oil, but also that the oil going into the system is as clean as it can possibly be.

Over time, oil degrades and becomes contaminated with various pollutants that can clog up the channels that take oil to vital parts and components. It can also be the case that new oil has impurities. Your oil filter does the important job of removing these impurities and ensuring the oil in your system is as clean as it can be.

If this filter stops working as it should, then you may see a significant drop in performance, or even damage to your car over time if the filter isn’t changed.

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Fuel filter

Similar to oil, the fuel you put into the tank can contain impurities that build up inside your engine and fuel intake systems over time. A fuel filter will clean the fuel before it enters the engine, meaning you’ll enjoy better acceleration and fuel economy. Again, this filter can become clogged over time, so it’ll need to be changed eventually.

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How to keep your filters in good condition?

The easiest way to ensure your filters remain in good shape is to ensure you have an annual and interim service each year. Having your car checked by a trained mechanic every six months means that you’ll benefit not just from running repairs, but also planned, preventative maintenance that could solve problems before they happen.

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If you do want to change your own filters, then we’d always recommend picking up a Haynes Manual for your car. These detailed guides include instructions and tips on essential car maintenance, so will certainly make life easier!

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