This is a job anyone can do; no special skills or tools are needed.

Total time needed: About 5-10 minutes.

* Shut off the engine. (Ideally, the engine should be cold to eliminate any chance of touching something hot.)

* Raise the hood (see your owner's manual for the location of the hood release; it is typically on the lower left - driver's side - "kick panel" to the left of the brake pedal). Be sure the hood is properly supported with its prop rod, if your car has this arrangement. (There is a specific slot in the hood that the prop rod is designed to go into.)

* Locate the air cleaner assembly. Usually, it will be a large plastic box off to one side of the engine (your owner's manual should have a picture/description in case you have trouble identifying the air cleaner assembly).

* Carefully remove the lid/top part of the air cleaner assembly. Some boxes have release catches that can be popped open by hand with no tools. Some have a few screw-type fasteners that need to be loosened with an ordinary screwdriver.

* The paper air cleaner element should now be visible. It may be secured with a wing nut or screw. Remove as necessary.

* If the air cleaner element appears dirty, it probably should be replaced. Consult your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommended mileage/time intervals for replacement as a guide. You can also hold the old filter up to an incandescent light bulb as an informal test. If you can't clearly see light through the filter, it is probably time for a new one.

* Your owner's manual should have the part number you need to get a replacement filter. Or simply take the old filter to the auto parts sore and ask the counter person for another like it. Be sure the part numbers are the same, though. And it's a good idea to choose the best quality air filter available. Lower-cost, "budget" replacements may not filter as well, or could restrict airflow to your car's engine - which may hurt performance and economy.