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A car's engine is basically a great big gas powered air pump.
Consider a basic four stroke engine, gas fired engine:
• Air comes in through the air intake, and travels through the air cleaner.
• Gas is added to the air and that mixture is compressed inside the cylinder; when the atomized mixture is at its densest, the spark plug is fired.
• This ignites the mixture, and forces the piston down into the cylinder.
When all the pistons fire as they should, the driveshaft turns, and your car goes vroom. This complicated process requires precise ratios of air to fuel to be at top efficiency, so a clean air filter is essential. Dirty air filters can choke an engine, decreasing gas mileage, and cause fuel deposits to form from a * too rich * fuel mixture.
Air Filter Tip: Check your air filter every 12000 miles to ensure it is at its peak performance, and replace it when it becomes dirty. Your car and your wallet will thank you.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|