The purpose of the Mazda air filter and cleaner is to remove even the smallest particulates from the air before it is introduced to the engine's intake system on your vehicle. When your air flow is hampered by debris, the engine will not be able to perform at its expected level. The air filter is mounted inside the cleaner box at the opening of the intake system on your Mazda engine. This is a component that should be routinely inspected so anything that might have been sucked up into this intake can be removed. It can include dust, leaves, small pebbles, and other debris that can be found floating on the highways. It can be easily cleaned by shaking off the air filter element; which will remove some of the smaller particulates that have become trapped, but not all of them. Some repair shops use compressed air in an attempt to remove the smaller particulates that have become trapped in the paper element of the Mazda air filter cleaner. This does remove a good portion of the debris, but the finest bits of dirt will still remain. The only way to have an air filter that has no minute particulates present in it is to use a new one. For this reason the engine component should be on the routine maintenance schedule for replacement at the same time of the Mazda's tune-up and fuel filter replacement is scheduled to occur. To inspect the air filter and cleaner box on your Mazda, the first step is to remove it. Then look through the paper element and see if any light will be able to penetrate it. The light is coming through the small pores that trap the micron size particulates. The less light that can be seen, the more the paper element is clogged and should be replaced.