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 Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...


Related questions

Q: Multiple warning lights on and speedometer doesn't work

Hello. It sounds like you have a bad vehicle speed sensor. The sensor fails causing the speedometer not to work, which causes these lights to come on since they need to see a speed signal. The sensor and wiring should...

Q: Looking to buy an E-class 350 4matic with 62000 miles. What maintenance services are needed?

Hello. My research indicates that the only major services required due are the spark plugs and air filter at 80k miles. If the plugs have already been done, then no major services are due until over 100k miles, besides your...

Q: A/C light turns on

Hello there, thanks for writing in about your 2016 GMC Canyon. When the Air Conditioning Light is on like this, it is indicating that there is some fault in the system. When this occurs, it could be anything from a...