The Average Engine Air Filter Replacement Cost Is $20 to $85, Depending on if You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
- Cost at the Mechanic: $40 to $85
- Parts: $20 to $40
- Labor: $20 to $35
- DIY Difficulty Level: Beginner
This is one of the easiest maintenance jobs you can do yourself. Engine air filters are easily accessible under the hood and usually require no tools at all to replace. This is an excellent job for a first time DIYer.
- Cost to DIY: $20 to $40
- Urgency: Perform this service within a month to avoid vehicle damage.
*These prices are based on national averages. Related repairs or maintenance may also be needed. For a custom maintenance schedule based on your make, model, and mileage, download the free FIXD app.
What Is an Engine Air Filter?
Your engine breathes air the same way you do. While you breathe air through your nose, your car breathes in through the air intake system. This is a series of plastic tubes that bring air from outside your car into the engine. A simple filter, usually made of paper, sits near the beginning of your engine’s air intake system. It makes sure that only clean air goes into your engine, with no dust or debris that might cause damage to sensors or the engine itself. It works rather like the face masks we all got used to wearing in 2020.
A mechanic will take very little time to replace this filter, charging maybe half an hour of labor. Even a quick lube shop can do it quickly while you get your oil changed and will often recommend it, whether you need it or not.
What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Car’s Engine Air Filter?
What happens if you breathe dirty air? You cough, sputter, and get dirt into your lungs. That’s also what happens to your engine if you don’t change the engine air filter. The engine may run rough. You may lose power and/or fuel economy. The check engine light may turn on, particularly if your engine misfires, or indicates a lean condition, which is a sign that your mass air flow sensor is dirty or has failed completely.
A dirty air filter can cause more serious problems down the road, but replacing it is so cheap (around $20-$40 for parts) and easy to do, you might as well do it yourself.
How Often to Replace the Engine Air Filter
Generally speaking, you should replace your engine air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. This may vary, however. Check your vehicle maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual, and go by what the manufacturer recommends. Also, if you find yourself often driving in dirty or dusty conditions, check your air filter more often than recommended, and replace it as needed.
Common Symptoms You Need to Replace Your Engine Air Filter
- Reduced fuel economy
- Loss of power
- Rough running
- Check engine light
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed with replacing your engine air filter:
- Replace cabin air filter
- Replace fuel filter
- Replace PCV valve
- Rotate and adjust air pressure in tires
Claim Your Custom Maintenance Schedule
Get the FIXD Sensor and free app today for a custom maintenance schedule based on your make, model, and mileage. Never miss important maintenance again with automated maintenance alerts! Learn more at fixd.com.
Recovering autocross and track day enthusiast. Once turned a VW Jetta into a pickup truck. Lives in a van down by the river. Dream car: 2001 Subaru WRC rally car.