How To Keep Farm Truck Engine Filter Clean?

Just like us, the engine of your farm truck needs to be able to breathe. Depriving it of oxygen can make your vehicle sick. When the motor is running, it continually sucks air in from outside of the truck and pulls it through a filter to remove any contaminants and debris. Over time, this builds up on the filter, which eventually clogs it. So how do you keep your farm truck engine filter clean? Let’s find out. 

How does a truck air filter work?

How does a truck air filter work

Air filters prevent dirt, leaves, bugs, and other junk from being sucked into your vehicle’s engine. After a while, the debris they collect starts building up and eventually clogs the filter, no longer allowing air to pass through it efficiently.

Once an engine air filter becomes very dirty, your engine can no longer get the air it needs and becomes starved of oxygen.

There is also a separate air filter that cleans the air coming into the cabin of your truck. This can also become blocked over time.

Engine Air Filters

When air is pulled into your truck’s engine, it passes through a wide pipe before hitting the air filter. Usually, this comprises a series of fins made from a slightly fuzzy cloth. 

If the dust and dirt didn’t get stopped by becoming lodged in the filter, it would very quickly build up inside your engine and clog the cylinders.

In this video, you can see how easy it is to replace an air filter: 

Cabin Air Filters

These allow air to pass into your cabin and work the air conditioning and heater blower. The air filter can trap almost all airborne pollutants when operating to maximum filtration capacity.

As the filter gets filled with dust and pollen, it loses its efficiency. If you’re a hay fever sufferer, you may start to notice symptoms. 

The cabin filter should be changed every 12,000 to 15,000 miles to keep it working well. 

Why clean air filters are important?

If the engine air filter is filthy, it will directly impact the truck’s performance and damage other engine parts, making the repair bill more expensive.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to do simple maintenance work on your farm truck as they are used so often and become such a valued piece of farm equipment. But it is precisely this reason that keeping them maintained is so vital.

Imagine how annoyed you’d be when going to your truck in the morning with a busy day of work scheduled only to find the truck won’t start.

By spending just half an hour a month running basic maintenance, you could prevent this type of occurrence.

Other good reasons to keep the air filter clean are fuel economy and power. A dirty air filter may reduce both. 

How do you maintain an oiled air filter?

A straightforward way of cleaning out dust, insects, and other dry elements from your air filter is to use an air compressor. 

Remove the air filter from the engine compartment and carefully blast it all over, starting from a reasonable distance, with a strong air jet to remove the debris. 

If you hold the compressor nozzle too close to the air filter, the blast of air may be strong enough to rip the fabric, so use caution.

While cleaning the filter, check for damage, including small rips and the amount of greasy residue present.

Although many manufacturers and mechanics say you shouldn’t clean air filters, this is because they can become damaged if care is not taken while doing so. Once damaged, the filter will no longer protect the engine efficiently from dust and dirt.

When you clean the filter, you must always inspect it carefully to check its integrity.

If you find the filter too clogged with greasy residue to clean effectively with an air jet, you can wash it in a solution of dish soap and warm water. Don’t be tempted to scrub it, as this could cause damage. 

  1. Simply let it soak for around half an hour in the warm soapy water, agitating it occasionally.
  2. Next, rinse it off with warm water before soaking again in clean, warm water.
  3. Give it a couple of final rinses by submerging it completely in the water and shaking it. 
  4. When no dirt or soap bubbles come from the filter, it should be clean.
  5. Place it somewhere to dry out.
  6. Check your filter over carefully for any damage before returning it to the vehicle.
  7. Make sure you don’t accidentally drive the truck without the air filter in place.

After a while, the air filter will either become damaged or simply be too dirty to clean effectively and need to be replaced. You should replace it routinely anyway to maintain performance. 

How often should you clean your truck’s air filter?

How often should you clean your truck’s air filter

Many trucks have an air filter gauge built into the side of the air filter’s housing. If you don’t have one, you can install one. 

This gauge shows the airflow pressure and will warn you if it is becoming compromised.

Exactly how often your air filters need cleaning, or replacement will depend on the type of driving you do and where you live. The season can also play a part. If it’s dry and dusty, then it may clog faster.

Cleaning the filter around every 15,000 miles should be good as a general guide. Some manufacturers specify longer than this, and you’ll be able to check it out in your truck’s manual. 

Besides cleaning or replacing your filter regularly, checking that it is installed correctly is also important. The filter must be firmly sealed all the way around without any gaps; otherwise, particulates will be able to get past it.

What are the symptoms of a bad air filter?

If you’ve not been able to keep up with regular maintenance and don’t know the state of your air filter, then signs it needs attention include:

  • Reduced engine performance
  • Misfires
  • Unusual noises
  • A drop in fuel efficiency

You’ll easily be able to check if the air filter is the problem by taking it out and looking at it. 


An air filter is just one component of an engine that requires regular maintenance. It is a straightforward job to check the state of the air filter, and only a few tools are needed to keep it functioning correctly.

Not maintaining your farm truck will shorten its life and could mean it isn’t working when you most need it.

To read more articles on farm trucks and other farming topics, head on over to our website

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