Wednesday, July 10, 2024


My first thought was to describe my latest work in the garage, which was to replace my cabin air filter, engine air filter, and check the tire air pressures, but I figured that was pretty boring. Want to know what is even MORE boring than that? Air! We pretty much take it for granted, breathe it in and out every day, and normally that's it. However, if you've ever experienced not being able to breathe, like when I choked on a Five Guys Burger (what a great way for an American to go!), then maybe you think about it once in a while!

Specifically with cars, air plays a big role. If you have a gas or diesel engine, air is one of the main ingredients in making power. Even if you are driving on electric power, air and aerodynamic flow play a role as well, and that's without talking about pollution and all the debate of gas vs. electric cars. 

Anyway, let's take your cabin air filter. Most cars have them now, and thanks to my Air Conditioning class, I know that your nice cooled off air that comes into your cabin is coming right through this filter. You might want to take a peak at it once in a while, because otherwise you might be breathing in some air that's been squeezed through however many years of dirt have accumulated on it. 

Engine air filters? Easy, they keep other bad things from getting into the combustion chamber, so yeah, you need to change them once in a while. If you have one of those cool oiled filters, well, you do need to update the oil once in a while. 

Down inside your tires, you can help keep your car rolling smoother with better gas mileage by having the right air pressure. Don't be fooled if you read something on your tire that says "maximum inflation 50 psi" because that has NOTHING to do with the best air pressure. That's just the MAX, like if your car was carrying the Beverly Hillbillies and 10,000 pounds of luggage and you felt the need to inflate them like that. Even then, don't do it. Just check your owner's manual or look for a label inside the driver's door for the best tire pressure. 

Speaking of "air" in your tires, what is the deal with nitrogen? Car dealerships are in business to make money (duh) but this practice of putting nitrogen into your tires and charging big bucks for it is just ridiculous, and here's why. According to NASA, "The air in Earth's atmosphere is made up of approximately 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen. Air also has small amounts of other gases, too, such as carbon dioxide, neon, and hydrogen." It's not like putting more than 78% nitrogen in your tires makes you faster, less affected by gravity, or earns you free Willy Wonka candy bars. 

Thanks for reading. Keep breathing!

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