Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Does the Dirty Air Filter Warning Light Mean?

Internal combustion engines require a decent amount of air in order to keep themselves running. Unfortunately, things like dust and pollen in the air are not good for your engine. This is where the air filter is essential in collecting any debris floating in the air and preventing it from getting inside your engine.

Over time, all the collected debris will clog up the filter reducing airflow into the engine which in turn reduces performance. To help maintain your vehicle, the computer monitors the amount of air going through the filter and into the engine. If it detects reduced airflow going into the engine, the computer warns the driver with a light on the dash.

What the dirty air filter warning light means

This dashboard light only has one function, to warn the driver of reduced airflow into the engine. If this light comes on, you should have the air filter replaced or at least inspected. Once the filter is replaced, you may need to turn the warning light off using a reset button. Refer to the owner’s manual of your car or perform an online search to find the location of the button.

If a new filter and resetting the button doesn’t turn the light off, then there is likely a connection issue somewhere that is throwing a false positive. Have a certified technician inspect and test the connections and wires associated with the air filter minder.

Is it safe to drive with the dirty air filter warning light on?

Yes, this light indicates reduced airflow which should only affect your gas mileage and performance. You can still use the car normally, but you will need to get the filter replaced at the earliest. Lower gas mileage makes the car more expensive to run so keeping the air filter maintained can help you keep money in your wallet.

Your vehicle’s manual should tell you how often the filter should be replaced so you have idea of when you’ll need to replace it. If you’re experiencing any issues with your air filter, enlist one of our certified technicians to help you diagnose the problem and replace it.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...


Related questions

Q: There's no spark when the car is in drive

Hello. This sounds like a computer issue. It sounds like there is either a short in the computer that is causing this or you are losing ground or connection at that cylinder. From my experience with Camaro's the computer is...

Q: Intermittent enginge vibration

You are right on track. Chances are, now that the engine is lacking proper air, fuel, or spark. Issues like this can also be sensor related. The best way to start the testing is to get the vehicle scanned for...

Q: Various dashboard lights on

Hello. It sounds like you have a charging problem, like the alternator has no output. With the alternator having no output, the vehicle is running on the battery alone. The basics need to be checked: alternator belt present, the current...