The tools needed to change a car’s air filter include a set of screwdrivers, an adjustable wrench, pliers and the replacement air filter. Additional tools needed for safety are protective glasses, gloves, clean rags and a flashlight.
The air filter housing on most car models is located under the hood and opposite the engine mounted on the fender well. In older vehicles, the circular air filter housing sits on top of the engine. Housing that is held together by screws or clamps can be removed with a flat-head or Phillips screwdriver. Check to see if the light from a flashlight shines through the filter to test if it needs changing. If the filter blocks the light, it’s dirty and needs to be replaced.
The air filter housing is sealed with tight-fitting metal clips in some vehicle models. If the clips are too snug to be removed by hand, a flat-head screwdriver can be slid underneath the clip to pry it off. Older vehicles have a wing nut to keep the air filter housing in place, which can be loosened by hand or with pliers. Clean rags are used to wipe up any dirt or debris left in the housing after the old air filter is removed.
A clogged air filter can decrease the performance quality of an engine and shorten the life of a vehicle. While some experts believe the air filter should be changed every 3,000 miles, others say a visual assessment is a more accurate gauge.