Changing your car’s air filter is one of the easiest car maintenance tasks you can perform.
You should never, ever pay someone to do this for you.
You could go to a quickie lube place and pay the guy to do it for you, or you could take one minute of your life and do it for free.
Stuff for Your Car #2: Replace the air filter
1 minute — Less than $20 — Anyone can do it
To change your air filter, make sure the car is off. Pop the hood. On cars like the 9th Generation Toyota Corolla, the air box is located on the driver’s side in the front of the compartment. It’s secured by two clips.
Take off the clips and remove the old dirty air filter. Pull out any leaves or waste in the box. Drop a new filter in. Close the box. Secure the clips. And you’re done.
You don’t need any tools. You don’t need any technical know-how. You aren’t going to damage your car. If you’re really worried, you can disconnect your battery first, but there’s really no need.
I replaced my used Denso stock filter with a K&N air filter. K&N air filters are made of washable cotton fiber and are cleanable and reusable. In fact, the company offers a 1,000,000 mile warranty on an air filter.
K&N also claims that their filters trap dirt and bad stuff while allowing more air to get through to your engine, increasing horsepower.
I don’t have any way of verifying this, and I’ve read every side of the argument on Toyota Nation forums. I’m going to agree with several other people who have tried K&N filters — I noticed slightly better throttle response, especially at the low end. The biggest difference I noticed was that the car doesn’t seem to lunge forward in first gear going from a standing start, but that could just be in my head.
I’m happy with my K&N, and happiest that I only need to clean it every 50,000 or so miles.
And most importantly, whether we’re using a K&N or any other brand, we can change it out ourselves instead of paying some guy.