Driving without an air filter is not a good idea. Without an air filter in place, the engine can suck in dirt and debris, which can damage internal engine parts such as valves, pistons, and cylinder walls. This can lead to excessive oil consumption, poor engine performance, and ultimately engine failure. Dust, dirt, insects, and other impurities from the air will enter the car's engine and cause problems.
The average American spends 225 hours a year traveling, so you and your family are exposed to numerous potential respiratory problems if the air filter is not in place. The air filter is responsible for preventing pollen and dust particles from entering your car through the air conditioner. Aftermarket oil bath type air filters with vehicles that have a mass air flow sensor can be problematic. Oil passing through the filter can contaminate the air mass sensor, which would require regular cleaning with a special cleaner.
The filter then requires a special cleaning and greasing process which, if not done exactly, will send additional oil back to the air mass sensor. A car can start without problems without an air filter installed; however, this is not recommended. Dust and dirt will enter the engine and cause damage. Replacing the cabin air filter every six months might be the best option for those who drive in dusty areas.
You can drive with a wet air filter and it won't damage the engine; however, it's still not recommended because a wet air filter will be more restrictive, which will reduce the performance of your car. The cost of the filter depends on whether you need an electrostatic, carbon, or standard cabin air filter. Refer to your car's owner's manual on how to clean the cabin air filter or watch a video that explains how to remove the cabin air filter and how to clean it. In addition, authorities can't see if you're driving without a cabin air filter from outside the vehicle. The air cleaner is located inside an air box, designed by manufacturers to silence intake sound as much as possible. In conclusion, it is not recommended to drive without an air filter in place.
It can cause damage to internal engine parts and lead to excessive oil consumption, poor engine performance, and ultimately engine failure. It is important to replace your cabin air filter every six months if you drive in dusty areas.