maintain & clean air filter on jeep wrangler

Best way to maintain & clean air filter on jeep wrangler

The air filter in your wrangler is responsible for cleaning air getting into the engine thus ensuring the air getting into the engine is clean for combustion taking place in the engines. In this article, we’ll look into the best way to maintain & clean air filter on jeep wrangler.

Due to the dirt particles and other contaminants left in the air filter, you need to clean regularly depending on where you mostly drive your wrangler.

This does not matter as much though because as a good driver, you should check the air filter’s condition now and then to ensure its full reliability.  

Air filters, just like any other car component, wear out with time. If you regularly clean it, it will last longer as compared to leaving it unattended for a long time.

When an air filter gets worn out or damaged, you need to replace it immediately to ensure that the engine is safe from any debris and dirt that might pass through the air filter and might damage engine components. 

Most jeep wrangler owner’s manuals have the recommended time after which you have to get your air filter cleaned. It is good to clean the air filter at around 10,000 miles to 15,000 miles of driving.

maintain & clean air filter on jeep wrangler

You might need to clean it more or less often depending on where you drive. If you drive in dusty conditions, you’ll need to clean the air filter more often as compared to driving in non-dusty conditions. 

Air filters can be cleaned and reused but only a couple of times. You can’t have one air filter on your jeep wrangler for more than 25,000 miles without the need to replace it as it also gets worn out a bit when you clean it.  

How to know if the air filter is dirty or needs replacement?

  • Engine misfires 

A clogged air filter minimizes the amount of air getting into the engine which leads to unburnt fuel exiting the engine in form of soot. This soot accumulates on the spark plug and it cannot deliver the required spark to ignite the air and fuel mixture and you’ll notice your engine is slow to start up or misfires. 

  • Check engine light comes on 

Inadequate air supply to the engine causes carbon deposits to accumulate in the engine which triggers the check engine light. The check engine light might come on for other reasons and you need to take your wrangler for a full check-up to diagnose the issue 

  • Unusual sounds coming from the engine 

If you hear coughing or popping noises coming from the engine especially when your wrangler is stationery it is because of a dirty spark plug caused by inefficient combustion in the engine due to insufficient air caused by a dirty clogged air filter. When driving you are unlikely to hear these sounds.  

  • Engine inefficiency 

Lack of sufficient air entering into the engine causes engine inefficiency as the air required by the engine for combustion to deliver the required power is less. Even at high revs you will notice an inefficiency and trying to push your wrangler, even more, will lead to more expensive repairs.

  • Gasoline smell 

This happens when starting your engine as air entering into the fuel injection system is insufficient thus unburnt fuel exits the car through the exhaust system thus instead of seeing smoke or air droplets, you’ll smell gasoline. Air droplets coming out of your exhaust are a result of efficient combustion in your engine. 

Replacing or cleaning an air filter on a jeep wrangler is an equally easy task and does not require any special skills, you can do it in your garage or any parking space and it does not take long provided you have the required necessities to do so. 

maintain & clean air filter on jeep wrangler

How to clean air filter on jeep wrangler?

  • Park your wrangler in a flat parking space and engage the emergency brake. This is to prevent the car from rolling which might lead to an accident. Make sure the engine is cool before you embark on this. 
  • Open the hood of your wrangler. Some wrangler models have latches on the hood while others are unlocked from inside the car. Reach inside the center of the hood and push the lever that is there to open the hood. 
  • Once open, secure the hood to prevent it from falling by inserting the hood support on its designated point under the hood. If your wrangler does not have the hood support, you can improvise by using a strong rod of any material provided that it is straight and long enough to hold the hood in place 
  • Locate the air filter box in your wrangler. This might vary with the driver’s side on your wrangler but it is easy to spot as it is a rectangular-shaped black plastic box located in front of the battery and has a hose coming out of it to the center of the vehicle. 
  • The air filter box is kept shut by four clamps, one in every corner and they are easy to remove. Just pinch and pull each one of them away from the air filter box. You can now remove the air filter box. 
  • Twist and pull up the air filter box slowly and carefully so as not to damage the air filter and ensure that nothing falls into the box or gets into the air intake hose. 
  • The air filter comes out easily by pulling it out upwards out of the box. 
  • At this point, you have either to clean or replace it depending on the condition of the air filter. If you need to replace it, ensure you can buy an air filter compatible with the model and year of manufacture of your jeep wrangler due to fitment issues.
  • If you already have it, clean any dirt and remove debris if any in the air filter box then place the new air filter in the same position as the old filter was and return everything else as it was before turning on your engine. 
  • If the air filter is not damaged or is still usable, you can clean it. There are still different methods you can use to clean the air filter.

Can the air filter be reused in jeep wrangler?

Yes, the air filter can be reused on the jeep wrangler but note that it should be in proper condition and doesn’t have any major damage. If there is any it will likely cause more issues in the future and it is better to replace it with a new one.

Below is the method on how to reuse the air filter on the jeep wrangler.

1. Using warm water and soap

  • Dip the air filter into the warm water with soap for about 2 minutes and then take it out.  
  • Brush it with a soft brush making sure to get areas in between as this is where most of the dirt is.  
  • Once thoroughly cleaned rinse with warm water and use a vacuum cleaner to remove any excess debris that might have stuck and also to remove excess water. 
  • Dry the air filter in a place with low-temperature sunlight and vacuum it once more.  
  • Check the air filter box for any debris and remove it and also vacuum or wipe off any dirt that might be there.
  • Reinstall the air filter and lock the air filter box in place.

Check with your owner’s manual if the air filter requires any oiling after cleaning or if you have an aftermarket one check from the installation instructions or online if it needs any oiling.

How to clean air filter on jeep wrangler?

2. Using an air filter cleaning solution 

  • After removing the air filter shake it off to remove light dirt and debris. 
  • Spray or apply the air filler cleaning solution on both sides and let it soak for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse the air filter with running water on both sides and let it dry. 
  • After drying, oil it with air filter oil but this depends on the type of air filter you have. 
  • Clean any dirt and debris before reinstalling the air filter and return everything as it was. 

Reasons why you should clean or change the air filter on jeep wrangler

  • Cheap to clean or replace.
  • Lower emissions due to proper fuel and air combustion.
  • Improved fuel economy as clean and sufficient air combusts with every drop of fuel.
  • Engine components and the engine itself last longer as there is no soot deposit which is a result of insufficient combustion. 


Air filters are a major component in your wrangler’s reliability and efficiency. Ignoring a worn-out or dirty air filter will lead to a series of more repairs which are even more expensive to fix than cleaning or replacing the air filter.

Some may think that the air filter is also responsible for the cabin air and it is not. An over-used air filter has larger air openings and this puts the engine at a bigger risk as larger dirt particles can get in and do excessive damages to the engine components.

Cabin air filters are different from the main air filter which is solely responsible for air entering the engine for combustion. Cabin air filters need to be cleaned too as they purify the air getting into the cabin. When replacing an air filter ensure it is of good quality and is compatible with the model and year of manufacture of your wrangler.