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Protect your car
 Your car's air filter is one a vital part of the car's combustion system. It sucks in air into your engine so that it will combine with fuel, after which is ignited, to produce power that makes your wheels turn. However, with occasional use, your air filter will become less effective because dust, dirt or other foreign objects may block the filter making it suck in less air, thus provide less power to your engine. My old mechanic, whom I forgot the name, told me years ago that it is recommended that you clean your air filters every 2 weeks or so especially if you're using your car everyday.
This applies to all types of air filters. However, he told me that if you have a stock air filter (the dispensable ones that comes standard with the car), you can only clean it a few times and it should be replaced when you have a tune up. But if you have custom, performance sports or racing filters, you only need to clean them from time to time to make sure the air flow is efficient. Here are some tips on how to clean your air filters.
Remove the air filter carefully from its assembly. It is usually found on a box or a circular container near the engine's intake system. It has a mesh-styled surface (like a screen) and it is smooth. If your air filter has a tube, make sure to remove it so that you can clean it as well. Make sure you keep the screws and locks in a safe place. You don't want to lose them as it's quite hard to find replacements because if you have a custom filter, its small parts may be specific only to that filter.
Now, at a Shell gas station where we usually go for tune-ups, the mechanic there told us that the best way to clean an air filter is through pressurized air. It doesn't leave residues and can easily clean through the filter. However, make sure that the pressure isn't too much or it may tear the filter itself. This did happen to our stock air filter so we had to replace it prematurely. Aside from pressurized air, you can use water. I was also told that gasoline would work since it can lubricate the filter making it easier to clean residues and dirt. I tried it and it was indeed easier to clean. It's risky though. I'm not sure but with gasoline and air mixing with the heat of the engine it may combust. So I stopped doing it immediately and went back to using pressurized air or water.
In any case, while cleaning your air filter, make sure that your intake is covered. You don't want to have foreign objects like small stones or stray insects get into your intake. I once had a small stone stuck inside the carburetor and the engine revved uncontrollable and we had to use a carburetor kit to fix it. Once you're done cleaning the air filter, make sure that it is secured firmly into your intake.
Replacement filters can last for a year or may go as far as 2 or more years. By that time, with the constant cleaning, you may need to replace the filter. But then, this may differ from filter to filter and from its use. There are some filters that are really heavy-duty and can even be used for racing. Air filters are more susceptible to wear and tear in cars that are used everyday compared to those that are occasionally or rarely used. But nevertheless, a cleaner free-flowing air filter will manage to suck in more air providing you more power and mileage per gallon with the same driving style and pattern.