August 15, 2022
By PH Staff
During hunting season, and all year long, covering a lot of miles driving dirt roads takes a serious toll on a hunter’s truck. From deep ruts to washboard surfaces to muddy trails and sandy two-tracks, the hazards of off-highway driving are many. And these tough conditions don’t just tax a truck’s tires and suspension. Dirt and dust also make the engine work harder, particularly if the driver doesn’t keep a regular maintenance schedule to ensure top performance year-round. In addition to regular oil and fluid changes, it’s also important to check and replace all the filters, including the air filter, on a regular schedule, or when tough conditions dictate.
It’s common for people to think about needing an oil change, and part of changing the oil is to change the oil filter. But far too often you might overlook the need to change the air filter. On average it’s recommended air filters be changed every 13,000 to 15,000 miles. But be cognizant that if you are commonly driving in dusty environments, it’s best if you change that air filter more often. Think of it like this: Air is an integral part of keeping a combustion engine running well. Like any fire, the combustion that pushes the piston inside the cylinders—and delivers power to the crankshaft and ultimately turns the wheels—needs three things: heat, fuel and air.
That air is pulled through the engine’s intake, which is protected by well-made air filters, like those made by FRAM. A dirty filter makes an engine work harder trying to pull in all that necessary oxygen, reducing performance and potentially negatively affecting fuel economy. And a poorly made, or damaged, air filter can also allow harmful dust, dirt and other matter into the combustion chambers, which could lead to an expensive trip to the repair shop.
Even if you’re not scheduled to change your air filter, it’s still a good idea to check it before hunting season, or at the start of any long road trip. Unlike most maintenance on modern vehicles, checking or changing an air filter is pretty simple. If you’re not sure where your air filter is located, check your owner’s manual. It will not only tell you where your filter is located, but also tell you what size your vehicle takes. A good auto-parts store will also be able to give you the exact model number of air filter to fit your hunting truck. Just be sure you tell them you want a FRAM.
The shape of your air filter housing varies, but normally, when you lift the hood, you will find a box (usually square or rectangular) sitting at or near the top of the engine. The cover is held on with either easy-to-use clips or a few short screws or bolts. If you pop that cover off, you should see an air filter mounted inside. The air filter simply lifts out. If it appears dirty, it’s best to change it with the appropriate FRAM replacement filter. Pull the dirty one out, put the new one in, and replace the cover.
If you’re not comfortable changing your air filter yourself, any reputable dealer or mechanic can do it for you—but again, make sure you request a FRAM. And whether you decide to change your filter yourself, or if you take somewhere to get it changed, it really is worth the minimal cost. It's an affordable part of your vehicle anyway, but it's also going to save you a lot of money in the long run by allowing your truck to perform at its best. Having a clean air filter can not only help your vehicle run more efficiently in all conditions, but also help your wallet.