How Often Should You Replace Your Motorhome’s Air Filter?
Keep up on simple maintenance and your motorhome will live a long life.
The health of a motorhome’s engine is something most RVers don’t consider until it is too late. Regular oil changes and tune-ups are just a fraction of the picture when it comes to assuring the longevity of your RV motor. For RVers, it raises the following question:
How often should you replace your motorhome’s air filter?
The engine air filter in your motorhome prevents dust and other debris from causing major mechanical failure. For some reason, however, it is one of the most easily overlooked facets of routine RV engine maintenance.
Why Replace Your Motorhome’s Air Filter?
The engine air filter in your RV prevents dust, pine needles, and other environmental debris from making its way into your engine’s combustion chamber. Large particulates that are not filtered properly can cause severe engine damage that will cost thousands of dollars to repair.
If you do not replace your RV’s engine air filter regularly, it can also become blocked or clogged. When this happens, air cannot flow over and through that combustion chamber effectively. This can cause engine overheating and generally decrease your engine’s overall performance.
The best reason to replace your engine air filter regularly is to prevent major damage to your engine. It will also help to keep things running as cleanly and efficiently as possible.
Even an accumulation of small contaminants in the wrong engine compartments can cause major problems. For such an easy task, failing to replace your engine air filter regularly can have disastrous consequences.
Other Air Filter Performance Factors To Consider
RVs are used differently (and in different environments) than a standard personal vehicle. So here are a few more factors you need to know about maintaining and replacing your engine air filter:
- Boondocking and dry camping often mean driving on less developed roads. This increases the strain on your engine air filter to keep contaminants from entering your engine air intake.
- A clogged engine air filter will negatively impact your motorhome in several ways, including:
- Reduced fuel economy
- Slower acceleration
- Decreased towing power
The good news is that engine air filters are not overly expensive and can certainly be added to your DIY motorhome maintenance schedule.
RV Air Filter Change Recommendation
On average, most manufacturers will recommend one of two metrics. You can either set your RV engine air filter replacement schedule based on mileage or based on time.
For the former, it is recommended to replace your engine air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. If you do not drive your RV that often, it might take you 3-5 years to add that kind of mileage to your RV’s odometer.
So, the better metric is to regularly schedule an annual engine air filter replacement. If you work this into your routine spring trip to the mechanic for a check-in and tune-up, you will not have to worry about it as a less convenient time of the year.
Please be aware that each RV manufacturer will have a unique recommendation for engine air filter replacement intervals. Consult your owner’s manual to learn what is recommended for your motorhome.
Can I Replace My Engine Air Filter Myself?
Absolutely! Replacing your motorhome’s air filter is a relatively simple task that you can complete right in your driveway. You just need to know where your existing filter is located and have the right new filter in hand before you begin.
Fortunately, you can usually call over to your local auto parts store or RV dealership to learn about your air filter replacement options. They will either need your motorhome’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or the year, make, and model of your rig.
From there, they can look up air filters that are compatible with your rig and provide you with price options. You can then order a replacement (or two!) and pick it up at your earliest convenience.
Pro Tip: Once you know the right air filter model for your RV, many owners will keep 2-3 in stock at all times. This makes it easier to replace at home without making extra trips to your RV mechanic or closest auto parts store.
After you have your new filter in hand, simply open the protective housing around your old one, remove it, and put your new filter in place.
What About Your RV Cabin Air Filter?
Some rigs are also equipped with a cabin air filter. This filter removes dust and other contaminants before they blow through your heating and air conditioning systems and right into your cockpit.
The cabin air filter on most motorhomes should be replaced every two years or 30,000 miles. However, you should consult your RV owner’s manual for an exact cabin air filter replacement recommendation.
This filter will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently. It will also prevent you from breathing in a bunch of dust and other particulates while you are driving.
Additional Considerations for Diesel Pushers
Checking and replacing the engine air cleaner in a diesel pusher is a little different. For starters, they tend to be much larger than motorhome engine air filters. In addition, most diesel manufacturers recommend a different replacement schedule for the air cleaners in their rigs.
The air cleaner in a diesel pusher should typically be replaced every three years or 75,000 miles (whichever comes first).
Most diesel pusher air cleaners also have an indicator somewhere on the outside of the unit. This indicator is called a ‘filter minder’ and makes it clear that it is time to replace the cleaner when it reaches a red line or ‘Change Filter’ indicator mark.
Replacing the air cleaner in a diesel pusher is more complicated than replacing a standard motorhome’s engine air filter. So we recommend trusting this RV maintenance item to your mechanic when it is time for replacement.
Many people say that RV living is more about the journey and less about the destination. Well, replacing your engine air filter on a regular basis will help you enjoy more efficient journeys and raise your prospects of reaching your destinations without engine issues.
There are lots of motorhome engine maintenance tasks that can be overwhelming if you are not an experienced mechanic. This one, however, is a five-minute job once you get used to it and, as such, it is a must for your spring RV maintenance checklist.
We hope you have added this item to your RV maintenance checklist and enjoyed the tips and insights we have provided above. As always, those of us here at Camping World wish you the happiest and healthiest of RV adventures in the months and years to come!