What are the effects of a dirty or bad air filter?


I have seen cars with very old and overused air filters. These air filters are so bad that they are not only blocked but have become flaky.

The air filter begins to disintegrate on its own and the particles find their way into the engine's combustion chamber.The photo that is attached is a photo of an engine air filter that has been left unchanged, blocked, has become flaky and has started disintegrating.

It was still left it the car sending both dust particles and debris of the filter itself into the engine.

Apart from parts of the air filter posing a risk to the engine, it can also allow other foreign materials to gain access to the engine.

A good preventive maintenance practice is to change the engine's air filter regularly according to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation. The filter can even be changed more regularly if the car is used in a very dusty environment.


  1. Reduced contamination of the engine oil as less dust particles will find their way into the engine.
  1. Cleaner Mass Airflow meter or Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor. This is because the dust particles that may reach these sensors would be trapped by the air filter.
  2. A good air filter helps to maintain the engine's power as sufficient air which is required for combustion will be supplied to the engine.
  3. A good air filter helps to maintain good fuel economy. This is because when the air filter is clogged, the ECU still tries to maintain engine power thereby increasing the fuel supply which leads to excessive fuel consumption.