Over time, your car's engine air filter collects dirt and debris (even bugs) and eventually needs to be replaced.
Your engine will run rich (too much gas and not enough air) if your engine is not able to suck enough air into the combustion chambers due to it being too dirty or clogged. When that happens, your vehicle could lose power and the engine will not run smoothly. Also, your 'Check Engine' warning light may come on. When this happens, stop by your local Take 5 Oil Change located at 30 Depot Dr., to have a certified Take 5 Oil Change technician inspect the filter.
Your vehicle may stop running altogether if you really neglect the air filter for a long time. Permanent damage is unlikely, but it is possible. Sufficiently dirty or damaged air filters would allow harmful, abrasive contaminants into the combustion chamber.