What Is An Engine Air Filter And Why Is It Important?

The engine air filter is one of the few engine parts you need to maintain often. You will be dealing with the engine air filter every year, so you should know a little bit about it.

This guide answers the most frequently asked questions Mazda owners have about engine air filters.

What Does An Engine Air Filter Look Like?

OEM filter

The engine air filter sits inside the cold air collection box. The engine air filter is a square, rectangular, or trapezoidal shaped part. It usually has a plastic and rubber frame with tightly packed pleated filter material within the frame.

Why Does Your Mazda Need An Engine Air Filter?

The engine is the heart of the car. So it’s important to keep the engine running well. The engine needs the right mixture of fuel and clean air to operate properly.

It’s important for your engine to get clean air only. If unfiltered air gets into the engine, the dirt in the air acts as an abrasive on components in the engine. Some of the dirt will end up in the oil, where it also acts as an abrasive. So dirt in the air can wear engine components prematurely in a couple different ways. The engine air filter is responsible for sending clean air to the engine.

How Does An Engine Air Filter Work?

The engine air filter sits inside the cold air intake box, which is right behind the air intake scoop. Here’s how the engine air filter helps purify the air entering the engine:

  1. A engine creates suction as it operates and sucks clean air in from outside the vehicle.
  2. The air enters the cold air collection box and then goes through the filter.
  3. The filter traps the dirt, debris, and other impurities in the air as it passes through.
  4. The clean air flows to the combustion chamber.

How Often Do You Need To Change Your Engine Air Filter?

Once the engine air filter traps something, it has no way to dispose of it. So all the dirt, debris, and other impurities the filter traps stay on the filter. Over time, the filter becomes caked in dirt and debris. A clogged filter deprives the engine of air. That’s why you have to replace your engine air filter between 15,000 and 30,000 miles. Most people usually change their engine air filter at every second or third oil change.

What Happens When You Don’t Change Your Engine Air Filter?

Filter part


When your engine air filter clogs up, it’s starving the engine of air. When the engine isn’t getting enough air, the ECU automatically reduces the amount of fuel supply. This creates the following issues:

  • Reduced power
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Stalling engine at start up

If the filter gets clogged enough, air starts to leak in between the filter gasket and the cold air collection box. This air is unfiltered, which, as shown above, can cause engine wear.

How Can I Find A Genuine OEM Engine Air Filter Online?

Changing the engine air filter is easy and it takes only a few minutes. You can do it yourself. If you want to save money, avoid buying an engine air filter from a Mazda dealership. Dealerships tend to inflate the prices for OEM parts by about 30%.

You can find genuine OEM Mazda engine air filters online. Be sure to only buy from reputable sellers of genuine OEM Mazda parts. An experienced Mazda dealer owns and operates REALMazdaParts.com. That means we only carry genuine OEM Mazda parts. We offer wholesale pricing for these parts, too.

Look up your Mazda in our catalog of genuine OEM engine air filters today!