It's the dreaded task that all car owners have to go through that takes time out of their day and money out of their pockets. Having maintenance done on a vehicle is inevitable and necessary to making sure the car is in the best condition at all times. To do this, motorists must make sure that pieces such as the car's filter is clean and usable to maintain the vehicle's performance.

Any part of the vehicle that is exposed to the environment has to separate the good elements from the bad. Changing the air and fuel filter on a vehicle is simple and the least expensive repair that can be done on a car. While changing the air filter is easier and less expensive than changing the fuel filter, it's still important to make sure both are changed regularly.

The air filter can be changed without having to pay almost $30 to a mechanic. Motorists should check the owner's manual before doing any repairs to make sure they're caring for the vehicle properly. The air filter is usually in a black plastic casing near the center-top of the engine. The black casing can be removed by sliding a butter knife or flat-headed screwdriver between the casing and the clip.

Once the casing is opened, the filter can be removed. The air filter is typically flat and made of a paper element with rubber edges that are used to seal it against the casing. To check the filter for cleanliness, it should be held up to the sunlight and bent back so the paper ridges of the filter flutter back like the pages of a book. If there's a lot of dirt and grime in the air filter and it's orange or yellow middle is mostly dirty, it's time to change it.

Motorists can keep the air filter out while they go to the nearest auto store to purchase another. The old air filter should be brought to make sure the correct one is purchased at whatever auto store the auto owner goes to. The new air filter should be replaced just as the old one was taken off. The casing should be sealed again to complete the repair.

Replacing a fuel filter

Replacing the fuel filter on a vehicle can be a little more difficult than replacing the air filter. Mechanics recommend having this job done by a professional, but if motorists want to tackle the repair, they'll need a couple #2 pencils, several different sized screwdrivers and a small ratchet set.

Finding the fuel filter is usually half the battle. It's usually located near the top-center of the engine near the air filter. Any oversized plastic coverings should be removed from the engine, which can be done with a flat-head screwdriver. A clamp usually holds together the fuel line and filter. It should be worked off with a screwdriver and a pencil should be jammed into each side to ensure that there isn't any leakage. The filter can then be removed and compared to the new filter to ensure its being placed on the correct way.

The same way it was taken off, the new filter should be placed on. The two metal or plastic shafts coming off the filter where the hoses attach have little nubs near the ends, which should be slid onto the filter as far past the nubs as possible.

After everything is done, the engine should be left running for a few minutes to make sure there's no leaking.

According to automotive experts, the air and fuel filter should be changed annually to ensure the best performance.