Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Air Pump Filter

air pump filter

An air pump is an emission component that is one of the most important pieces on a vehicle’s secondary air injection system. Certain vehicles will come equipped with a filter for their emission system air pump. The air pump filter is simply meant to filter the air that is pumped into the vehicle’s exhaust stream through the air injection system. Same as with an engine or cabin air filter, the air pump filter will pick up dirt and dust, and will eventually need to be replaced once it can no longer filter air efficiently.

The air pump filter serves a similar purpose as the engine air filter, however in most cases, it is not as easily accessible for quick inspection and service, as is the engine air filter. The air pump filter serves an additionally important purpose because it is an emissions component, meaning any problems with it can cause the vehicle to have problems with an emissions system, as well as with engine operation. Usually, when the air pump filter is in need of attention, the vehicle will display a few symptoms that can alert the driver that there may be a problem that should be serviced.

1. Engine is running sluggishly

One of the first symptoms that a bad air pump filter may produce is a decrease in engine power and acceleration. A dirty filter will restrict airflow into the air pump which can negatively affect the rest of the system. A dirty or clogged air filter may restrict airflow to the point where the vehicle may become noticeably slower during takeoff and acceleration.

2. Rough and shaky idle

Another symptom of a dirty or clogged air pump filter is a rough idle. An excessively dirty filter will restrict airflow, which may cause an unstable idle that surges. In more severe cases, a clogged air filter may disturb the idle mixture enough to cause stalling when operating the vehicle.

3. Decrease in fuel efficiency

A dirty air pump filter can also have an impact on fuel efficiency. The restriction in airflow from a dirty filter will upset the vehicle’s air-fuel ratio tune, and cause the engine to use more fuel to move the same distance and speed as would be required with a clean, free-flowing filter.

Because the air pump filter can dramatically affect a vehicle’s emissions and performance, it is important to replace this filter at regular service intervals. If you suspect that your filter may be due for a change, or you find that you need one replaced, have a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, inspect the car and replace the air pump filter for you.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

More related articles

How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...

Related questions

Q: Car shuts off, smoke and black water from muffler

The color of the smoke can point us in the right direction of the problem. Blue or purple smoke indicates oil burning in the combustion chamber and can be caused my weak piston rings, worn valve seals or a malfunctioning...

Q: Vehicle scan showed problem with emissions air pump. My air smog pump was filled with liquid

The air pump sucks in outside air in the lower front fender area and the car may have sucked in water while the pump was running. The only way to stop water from entering the air pump is to not...

Q: Opinion on using the Lucas transmission additive as a prevention

For modern cars, a lot of them are pretty particular on what fluid they use. If you just add the fluid in the mix, it may not be compatible with the fluid that's in your transmission. If your transmission...