Dirty Air Filters Are Killing Your Small Engine
In order to run efficiently, your engine requires a continual supply of air and gasoline, mixed together through the carburetor. Once the engine is running, it will draw both air and gasoline from the most readily available sources which are the fuel tank and the atmosphere surrounding the engine. And while quantity is important, poor quality of fuel and air can cause a wide and varied assortment of complications.
Simply put, debris ingestion is one of the greatest causes of catastrophic engine failure. This is where the humble air filter comes in.Now, the concept of a filter is pretty simple.
When its working properly, it allows clean air to flow into the engine while preventing dirt and dust from getting in and causing harm. But, just like the filter in your homes furnace, eventually it will become clogged with dust and dirt restricting or stopping the flow of air. This is not a good thing, and here’s why…
When this occurs, your engine doesn’t really care where the air comes from; it just needs air! Once the filter become obstructed, the supply of air will follow the path of least resistance. This may be through thin spots in gaskets, intake ports, poorly sealed components… regardless of where the air is found, it will always have one thing in common- it is unfiltered and it will introduce debris into the internal workings of your engine.
There are parts inside your engine that rub against each other very quickly and very often. These parts are lubricated with oil, which allows them to slide fairly easily across each other while regulating the temperature caused by movement and friction. If the oil is clean and fresh, it works well.
Now, imagine if you were to toss a little sand into the lubricant. This contaminate will begin to scratch and mar the smooth surface of the metal parts. The dirt, grit, and debris mixed in with the lubricant will cause increased friction, raised temperatures, and parts break down.
What does this mean for your engine? Unfiltered air can dramatically damage your engine, resulting in costly repairs. It’s a simple as that, and this is where your air filter comes in.
TO CLEAN OR TO REPLACE…THAT IS THE QUESTION!
How often your filter should be replaced is normally determined by how often the equipment is used and how much dust and dirt is kicked up by the machine. Air filters come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, and materials. Some are constucted of disposable materials such as rubber and paper, while others maybe constructed of more durable, washable treated filaments. Many can simply be discarded, while others can be washed in your dish washer and allowed to air dry. Foam or paper.
Disposable or re-useable. Figuring out how to replace it can be a little confusing.
Here at Lawnmowerpros.com, we recommend the following:
• Check your air filter prior to each use and plan on replacing it at least once a season.
• Many filters can be cleaned with with pressurized air or soap and water. Once again , refer to your owners or service manual. If possible, consider using a pre-filter as well.
• When in doubt, always refer to your owners manual first. The engine manufacturer will provide you with valuable information regarding the life and limits of your air filter as well as the easiest way to replace it.
• If you’re not sure whether your filter needs to be replaced, consider taking your air filter to an authorized repair shop. Any technician can tell at a glance whether your air filter has run it’s course or not and can assist you in finding the right filter for your engine.
A clean air filter is one of the most important (and easily overlooked) parts of your engine. With a little attention, you can easily extend the life of your equipment.
– Bill Brown