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I have a 2012 MK3 and I live in the High Desert in California. I changed the air filter a little over 10 months ago and have driven approximately 7200 miles since then.
There is a lot of dirt and wind up here so I thought I'd check the air filter; I even bought a new one because I figured I'd probably need it.
When I unscrewed the four screws, pulled off the top cover, what I saw was what looked like a brand new filter right out of the box. No dirt, no dust; nothing, just a pristine motorcraft air filter. I checked everything to make sure it had been seated properly and it was. My question is this; am I overlooking something that would account for a filter that looks like no air has gone through it?? I'm serious, it looks just like the new one I just bought.
 

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I have never had a filter that looked dirty after that short a time..even after 20-30K, they still look pretty new.
 

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Yup, I rarely change filters. They seem to last impossibly long before even looking remotely dirty. I have a K&N now and I'll probably clean it once a year, and I doubt it'll need it.
 

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^^^K&N recommends cleaning every 50K..don't do it more than it calls for. I checked mine at 25K per their recommendation and it still looked pretty clean. Almost to 50K and ready to do the clean/re-oil.
 

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Did you pull the filter out and look at the bottom side?
 

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Even paper filters get more efficient with a light coating of dirt. The airbox is designed to make large particles drop out of suspension .
 

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Also consider that the air intake is up inside the fender in an area where big chunks and quantities of dirt etc are unlikely to find their way.
 
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