Many people don’t realize the air inside a car can be up to six times more polluted than the air outside. Yeah, I know… gross. Thankfully there is a way to clean up the air you and your family breathe while cranking down the highway, a cabin air filter. What is a cabin air filter? In this article, I will explain what a cabin air filter is and why you should change yours to reduce the amount of pollutants you breathe in while driving. After reading this you will know what a cabin air filter is, why it’s important, how to keep it clean, and even learn how to change it yourself.
What Is a Cabin Air Filter?
A cabin air filter is a component of your car’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. It is located in the fresh air intake of your vehicle’s climate control system. The sole purpose of a cabin filter is to filter out airborne pollutants, such as dust, pollen, and smoke, from the air that enters your car’s cabin. It’s a simple device, but one that plays a critical role in ensuring that the air inside your car is clean and healthy to breathe.
Why Are Cabin Air Filters Important?
You wouldn’t believe some of the nasty crap cabin filters grab out of the air blowing in your face, I have seen these packed with everything from cigarette butts to dead mice. Without the protection of a cabin air filter you are breathing in all of the nasty… and I mean nasty! People tend to worry about changing their oil but neglect the cabin air filter
A clean cabin filter is particularly important if you or anyone in your car suffers from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues. Cabin air filters can help to reduce the symptoms associated with these conditions and make it easier to breathe while driving, especially for young children.
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In addition to improving overall air quality in the car, a cabin air filter can also help to protect your car’s HVAC system. Without a cabin air filter, airborne pollutants can enter the system and cause damage to the components over time. Heater cores and A/C evaporators can become restricted from debris and lose some or all efficiency.
I have seen many blower motors packed with debris, if you turn your blower on high and it sounds like an unbalanced dryer chances are there is some nasty stuff in your blower motor.
Trapping these pollutants before they can enter the system is key to keeping things running smoothly. Bottom line? A cabin air filter can help to extend the life of your HVAC system and save you money on repairs.
How Often Should You Change Your Cabin Air Filter?
Now that we know what a cabin air filter is how often do they get replaced? The short answer is it depends on several factors, including the make and model of your car, how often you drive, and the quality of the air where you live. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to change your cabin air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first.
Keep in mind though, if you drive in particularly dusty or polluted areas, you may need to change your cabin air filter more frequently. On the other hand, if you drive in a clean, rural area, you may be able to go longer between changes.
Signs That Your Cabin Air Filter Needs to Be Changed
There are several signs that your cabin air filter may need to be changed. Some of the most common signs include:
- Reduced airflow from your car’s heating and A/C vents
- Unpleasant odors coming from the vents
- Increased allergy or asthma symptoms while driving
- Dust or debris visible on the filter (when you check it)
If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to have your cabin air filter checked and replaced if necessary.
How to Change Your Cabin Air Filter
Changing your cabin air filter is a simple process on most vehicles, some are easier than others. This is a VERY BASIC outline for you if you want to tackle this fairly simple job yourself. If you can’t locate reasonable instructions for your specific vehicle have a pro do it.
Here are the basic steps to replacing a cabin air filter:
- Locate your car’s cabin air filter. The location of the filter can vary depending on the make and model of your car. It may be located under the hood, near the windshield, or under the dashboard. Usually, the new filter will have directions in the box, if not Google it.
- Remove the old filter. Once you’ve located the filter, remove the cover or clips that hold it in place. Then, carefully remove the old filter and dispose of it.
- Install the new filter. Take the new filter out of its packaging and insert it into the filter compartment. Make sure it’s oriented correctly and fits snugly. There should be a marking indicating airflow direction, be sure to pay attention when removing the old filter.
- Replace the cover or clips. Once the new filter is in place, reattach the cover or clips that hold it in place. Make sure everything is secure and tightly fitted.
- Test the HVAC system. Start your car and turn on the HVAC system to make sure everything is working correctly. Check the airflow and listen for any unusual noises.
Quick Tip: Make sure you remove the filter slowly and have a vacuum handy, if there is debris in the filter you want to remove it without letting it fall into the blower cage. Also, consider using a disinfectant designed for vehicles to kill any bacteria in the blower box and vents before installing the new filter.
What is a cabin air filter? … Now you know.
Your car’s cabin air filter is an important component of the HVAC system, it helps to filter out pollutants and improve air quality inside your car. By changing your cabin air filter regularly, you can ensure that the air you breathe while driving is clean and healthy. Remember to check your owner’s manual or consult a professional if you’re unsure about how often to change your filter or how to replace it. By taking care of your cabin air filter, you can breathe easier and enjoy a healthier driving experience.