One of the easiest things pertaining to car maintenance that you can perform yourself with great confidence is changing your car's air filters. Few other maintenance tasks are as simple, and the benefits of doing so are noticeable immediately. Having a clean engine air filter is very important for the efficiency of your car. A filter that has a significant accumulation of dirt translates to needlessly lost money for you: it significantly reduces the efficiency of your car. In fact, you can expect to lose over a kilometre per litre of gas when you drive with a dirty engine air filter.
When purchasing a new filter, you will find that you have two choices: paper filters, and oil based filters. Paper filters are quite inexpensive; they can be had for around $15 each. They are also disposable. Once it has served its six month period, a paper filter is to be thrown away. Oil based filters, though more expensive upfront, are actually a great little investment for the respiration of your engine. They last longer, and they can be reused after cleaning so that you don't have to dispose of them so soon. Compared to paper filters, they promote more air circulation which again contributes to your car's fuel efficiency.
If you decide to change your car's enginge filter yourself, you'll need to find out where exactly it is. Your manual should be able to supply you with that information, but generally speaking, you will be able find it very close to the engine itself—either to the right or left of it (sometimes even on top of it) within the hood compartment. It will be fastened in place either with a screw on cap or with clips. To change it, simply unfasten it, remove the old filter, replace it with the new one, and secure the new filter in with the use of the screw on cap or the clips.
Generally speaking, you should plan on having your air filter changed twice a year. If you are uncomfortable with changing your own air filter, you need not worry that it will be costly to outsource. In fact oftentimes, the labour portion of a filter change will be free (so you would only be expected to pay the cost of the filter).
In addition to changing your car's engine air filter, from time to time it is necessary to change the cabin air filters as well. In fact, if there is any type of contaminant residing there, your car's air may actually be polluting your lungs even more than the fumes you would inhale if you were outside of it. Not all cabin filters can be changed at home, though most can. Your manual will tell you whether you are able to change your cabin filter yourself, or whether you'll need to bring it to a technician. Either way, if your car is the vehicle of transport for anyone with respiratory illness, it's a good idea to make sure that your cabin filter is clean at all times.