Though a small and relatively inexpensive part, the air filter on your Acura TL performs an important function. Without it, there would be nothing protecting your engine from the many contaminants that could be drawn into it through its air intake. Here's what you need to know about the proper upkeep of the air filter in your Acura TL.
What Does Your Air Filter Actually Do?
The reason that every vehicle features an air filter is that even the cleanest air is remarkably dirty. Here are just a few of the things that can could work their way into your car's engine without an air filter in place:
In Delray Beach, Florida, we experience year-round warm weather that results in the consistent presence of insects and leaf particles in the air. We also don't have the luxury of snow in the wintertime, which in other parts of the country keeps dust levels to a minimum for several months of the year. Running a car without an air filter here would result in irrevocable engine damage in no time. Even under more favorable weather conditions, a car run without an air filter would have a greatly shortened life.
An air filter is positioned in the air intake system of a car to keep all of these contaminants from getting in. By using a porous material that will allow air to pass through while catching particles that are suspended in it, your air filter makes sure that the air going into your engine is as clean as it can possibly be.
What Causes Air Filters to Wear Out?
Just like an air filter in your home HVAC system, a car's air filter wears out over time. As more and more dust, dirt and debris build up in and on the filter, it will gradually lose its ability to capture new material. At the same time, the clogging of the porous filter material will limit the amount of air that reaches the engine, gradually reducing its performance and efficiency.
Over time, even if they don't become badly clogged, filters can also deteriorate physically. Exposure to heat and humidity, two very frequent weather conditions in Delray Beach, cause the filter material to become brittle and lose its ability to effectively filter air.
How to Know When It's Time to Change Your Air Filter
Knowing when to change an air filter isn't always a precise science, as even a very dirty filter will, to some extent, continue to remove impurities while letting some air pass through. Rather than waiting for your failing air filter to impair your Acura TL's performance, it's best to change the filter out at a certain mile interval. If you mostly make short trips in town, 30,000 miles is a good interval. If you're taking longer trips that involve more rural driving, 15-20,000 miles is better, as you're likely exposing your car to more contaminants.
Another way to approach your filter changes is simply to do them twice a year with your spring and autumn tune-ups. Though this may have you changing your filter prematurely, it's an easy way to keep track of when you last changed your filter and remember when it's due to be changed again.
Can You Extend the Life of an Air Filter?
Beyond a certain point, the air filter in your Acura TL is going to wear out no matter what you do. There are, however, a few things you can do to prolong its life somewhat. The first and best thing to do to ensure you get as much mileage out of your air filter as possible is to avoid driving on dirt roads. The dirt and dust kicked up will work their way into your filter, shortening its life and reducing its effectiveness considerably.
Another way you can get a little more time out of an air filter is to clean it between changes. You can clean an air filter by washing it with a low setting on a pressurized hose or pressure washer, vacuuming it or by blowing it out with an air compressor. Though it will be a small increase, cleaning can give your old air purifier a somewhat longer effective life. Cleaning your filter between changes can also prevent filter buildup and therefore prevent an aging filter from impairing your Acura TL's performance.
How to Change the Air Filter in an Acura TL
Changing an air filter in an Acura TL is something that literally anyone can do. To start, open the hood and find the air cleaner housing, which is located on the right side of the vehicle as you face it. If you have any trouble finding it, simply follow the corrugated hose coming off of the right side of the engine. The plastic air cleaner housing is secured with four bolts which you will need to remove to access the filter. Removing the plastic battery cover will make getting to these bolts much easier.
Once you've removed the bolts, simply push the plastic housing cover back against the corrugated air hose while lifting gently upward. With that cover removed, you'll have direct access to the air filter. Remove the old one and set the new one in, then re-install the air filter housing cover with the bolts you previously removed. Just like that, your air filter change is complete.
If you want your Acura TL to run at its best, be sure you are changing your air filter on a regular basis. The more clean air your engine gets, the better it is going to be able to run. If you're looking for an OEM air filter for your Acura TL, check out the inventory here at AcuraOEMParts.com. We have all of the Acura TL parts you need, including air filter elements and replacement filter housing components.