Symptoms of Failing Air Intake Systems

The engine combustion process needs oxygen, and the air intake system supplies that oxygen to the engine. A combustion engine cannot operate without oxygen and airflow. So, you can assume how important is it to have a healthy air intake system in your car.

If you look at the modern air intake system, you will see three principal parts there. And they are air filters, throttle body and MAF/ mass flow sensor. Any problem in the air intake system will show you some symptoms.

You will get detailed information about symptoms of failing air intake systems in this article. Let’s get into the article.

What is an air intake system?

An air intake system is a device that helps to draw air into an engine. The procedure typically comprises an air filter, a throttle body, and an inlet duct.

The air filter cleans the incoming air of dust and other particles, while the throttle body regulates the amount of air that flows into the engine. The inlet duct directs the air into the machine itself.

Causes of Failing Air Strike Systems

A defective air intake system usually develops over time. The air filter collects dust while delivering clean air to the combustion engine. A variety of factors are responsible for the filthy air filter, including where you reside and how often you drive.

Driving in a dirty location will have a greater impact on the intake. Aside from that, no other element is to blame for the poor performance of your air intake system.

Symptoms of Failing Air Intake Systems

Here we are going to share some common symptoms that your car might show because of failing air intake systems.

Check Engine Light

This is probably the most common symptom that your car might show when you have a bad air intake system. Your dashboard has a check engine light or CEL, which will illuminate because of a failing air intake system.

Usually, the sensor in the intake detects the problem and sends you a signal through the CEL. If you get any signal in your check engine light, go for professional help immediately.

Wired Engine Noise

A car owner usually knows how their engine makes noise. You will hear a smooth vibration when the car is idling. At that time if you hear any noise that sounds like coughing or popping, then it might be because of bad airflow in the engine.

This situation refers to a dirty air filter, to be precise. The dirty air filter reduces airflow and hampers the air-fuel mixture. So, if you experience this, change the dirty air filter as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

Decreased Performance

Did you experience that your car doesn't perform as well as before? It might be another symptom of a failing air intake system. Your acceleration will seem sluggish and you will observe a jerk while starting your car. Your car can also respond slower than before because of bad air intake.

Your engine needs clean air to give optimum performance. And when this doesn't happen, it affects overall performance. So, if you see any changes in the car performance, inspect your air intake system and find out the root of this problem.

Poor Fuel Economy

A faulty air intake system can lead to poor fuel economy. When an air intake system fails to supply enough oxygen to the engine, then it consumes more fuel for your drive.

So, if you observe that your fuel is reducing faster than before in covering the same distance, then it might be because of a bad air filter or bad air intake system. To stop ruining your fuel and increase the efficiency, replace the faulty system or talk to your mechanic.

Black Smoke In The Exhaust

When your engine doesn't get enough air supply, it runs on a fuel-rich mixture. In such case fuel doesn't get a chance to burn properly, resulting in black smoke in the exhaust. The unburnt fuel is dangerous as the exhaust is quite hot and can ignite the fuel. It may result in releasing flames in the exhaust and making noises.

Dirty Air Filter

As a car owner, you should not only learn about the parts of your car, but you should also check the parts now and then. While inspecting your car, don't leave the air filter without checking. An air filter gets dirty and changes colour over time.

So, if you see an excessive amount of dirt or discolouration, then it is time to change the filter. You will notice immediate changes after replacing your dirty air filter with a clean one. It will boost the horsepower along with the overall performance of your car.

The smell of Petrol In The Exhaust

The insufficient airflow in the combustion engine results in unburnt fuel in the exhaust pipe, as we have discussed before. And when you are starting the engine, it will release the smell of petrol. The solution is also simple here, check the air filter and if you find it dirty replace it.

Diagnose Failing Air Intake Systems

There are a few ways to diagnose a failing air intake system. Firstly, you have to check the air filter. If the air filter is grime, it can intervene the flow of air into the engine, causing a loss of power.

Another way to diagnose a failing air intake system is to check the air intake duct. If the vent is damaged, it can restrict airflow into the engine.

If you suspect that your air intake system is failing, it is vital to have it checked by a qualified mechanic. They will be able to identify the problem and make vital repairs.


How Often Should You Replace Your Air Filter?

If you experience any symptoms regarding bad or dirty air intake system, then you should change the air filter instantly. Usually, it is recommended to change the air filter every 19,000 km or 12,000 miles. But if you live in a dusty area, you might need to change it even earlier. Most importantly don't ignore the signs of a failing air intake system.

What Is An Air Intake System Made Of?

Usually, an air intake system is made of a plastic box, which comprises a paper air filter, a throttle body and a mass flow sensor. The air filter infiltrates the fresh oxygen into the engine and mixes it up with fuel. The throttle body supervises or controls the airflow, and the mass flow sensor measures the airflow.

How Do You Know If Your Air Intake Is Clogged?

The first sign of a clogged air intake is an illuminated CEL, or check engine light. The mass flow sensor sends information to the system, and the sign appears through the check engine light.

How Much Does An Air Intake System Cost?

It is recommended to check the air intake system at least once a year. But if your car starts showing the symptoms regularly, then do a proper inspection. However, it is normal if you experience a bad air intake system before your estimated time.

How Often Should You Check the Air Intake System?

The cost of a modern air intake system can start at 150 USD and can rise to 500 USD. Depending on the model, the price will vary.

Final Words

The problem of air intake problem is quite common, and the solution is simple as well. If you get to know the symptoms of failing air intake systems, it gets even simpler to fix the problem. Although ignorance of an uncomplicated problem can twist into a big issue.

Similarly, a bad air intake system can cause fuel misuses, faulty spark plug wires, and damage to the engine as well. Fixing the faulty air intake system is not costly at all. And if you know the basics, you can easily replace it all by yourself.

Meta: The air intake system does all the work to supply clean air to the engine. Follow the article for knowing the symptoms of failing air intake systems.

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