Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Change News
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory

Bookmark and Share
Air Filter Tips

Fresh Air Flilters Give Good Gas Mileage

Consumer wallets have been hit hard by this year’s record-high gas prices. But there is a quick way for drivers to help improve their fuel economy — by changing their dirty air filters. In fact, the EPA reports that changing a clogged filter can save as much as 15 cents per gallon of gas. FRAM®, a leader in filtration products for more than 70 years, calls this simple maintenance procedure “The 12,000-Mile Tune-Up” — the proper air filter replacement interval that can lead to improved vehicle performance and fuel efficiency, and less engine wear.

In a given year, light vehicles travel an average of nearly 12,000 miles(1). Yet each year only 40 percent of these vehicles have their air filters replaced(2). As a result, Americans may be wasting untold dollars worth of gasoline every day because simple and inexpensive vehicle maintenance — like replacing air filters at proper intervals — is neglected(3).

“Our calculations show that motorists are driving an average of nearly 29,000 miles before changing their air filters,” said Kelley O’Donnell, FRAM product manager. “This is far too long. Engines can become susceptible to increased wear and potential damage, while acceleration, horsepower and overall performance can be reduced.”

Vehicle engines run on mixtures of fuel and air — up to 12,000 gallons of air for each gallon of fuel. The air filter’s job is to remove contaminants such as dirt particles, dust and debris from the air before it enters the engine. When the filter becomes clogged with debris, airflow is restricted causing the mixture to be laden with too much fuel. Consequently, gas is wasted and the engine loses power. In addition, damaging particles may bypass the filter seal and be ingested into the engine.

“For an average of only $10 per filter, consumers can prevent potential harm to their vehicles,” O’Donnell said. “Using a new, clean filter will help restore lost performance.”

A quality product provides vehicles with solid protection and performance, enabling engines to adequately "breathe" for improved performance and fuel efficiency. Using a FRAM filter makes maintenance simpler for consumers —its bright white fibers make it easier to determine the filter’s cleanliness, while its new packaging features straightforward information and diagrams to educate consumers on “The 12,000-Mile Tune-Up.”

Neglecting a vehicle’s air filter can contribute to reduced fuel efficiency, horsepower, acceleration and overall performance, while potentially causing increased engine wear.

The experts at FRAM® recommend that consumers change their air filters every 12,000 miles to avoid potential problems and ensure optimal performance and protection. The procedure can be done at any repair shop or service station, but motorists can save $10 or more by purchasing and changing air filters themselves(4). In less than 15 minutes, virtually anyone can perform this simple task by referring to the following tips as a guide:

  • Before beginning, park the car and engage the emergency brake. Turn off the engine, and avoid any hot surfaces. Never start or run the engine with the air filter out of place.
  • Use the correct size filter. Application charts are often available in auto parts stores and on filter packages. They show the corresponding part number for each vehicle make and model.
  • Locate the air cleaner housing. In newer fuel-injected vehicles, it is between the front grill and the engine. In older cars, the housing is mounted on top of the carburetor. Consult the owner’s manual if unsure of the exact location.
  • Loosen and remove the latches, screws or wing nuts holding the top of the air cleaner to the housing.
  • Remove the old filter from the housing, being careful not to let debris fall into it.
  • Use a rag or paper towel to wipe out inside the housing.
  • Reinstall the new filter, but do not force it to fit. An improperly fitting filter will lead to a poor seal, which can llow unfiltered air into the engine and possibly cause damage.
  • Replace the latches, screws or wing nuts that affix the top of the air cleaner to the housing. Be careful not to over-tighten the hardware.

Enjoy the fact that you are protecting your engine and getting better vehicle performance from your new air filter!

(1) Source: JLO Research Associates, 2004.
(2) Source: JLO Research Associates, 2004.
(3) Source: Car Care Council, Fuel Saving Tips as Gas Prices Soar, (accessed Apr.2004)
(4) Source: Car Talk Car Advisor. What You Need to Know About…Air Filters. (accessed Apr. 2004). Source: JLO Research Associates, 2004.

Consumers interested in learning more should call (800) 862-7737 or log on to

FRAM, the leading brand of automotive filters in North America, has been a symbol of quality and innovation since 1934. Today, as the Official Filter of the NHRA®, it markets a variety of automotive filtration products for the Original Equipment and Aftermarket industries. (Brought to you by FRAM)