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

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

Related articles

What Does the Lane Departure Warning Light Mean?
The lane departure light means the vehicle is detected to be moving out of its current lane without signaling. It may assist to keep you in your lane.
What Does the Service Required Warning Light Mean?
The service required warning light reminds you when it's time to perform some maintenance for your car, usually an oil and filter change.
What Does the Trunk Open Warning Light Mean?
The trunk open warning light indicates when your trunk is not properly closed. If you are unable to close it, the latch may need to be fixed.

Related questions

Battery replaced, engine malfunction warning
Hello there. With any Check Engine Light, the first step is to have the code read to determine what system is involved with the fault. It is possible that this fault was caused by the vehicle losing power when the...
EGR BPT valve & EGR solenoid valve need replacements
Hello there. When codes go away like this, it generally means that the fault has resolved itself or the Check Engine Light has failed in the cluster. If the code is gone this would indicate that there is not a...
Check engine light came on and driver smelled gas
This is a known issue in many of the Audi's. An epoxy fix, as you may know, is a very tricky and somewhat of a gamble-type of fix. There is a chance it may hold for a very long time and there...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com