When Should You Replace Your Cabin Air Filter?

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When Should You Replace Your Cabin Air Filter?

cabin air filter
Changing your cabin air filter is an important part of regular vehicle maintenance and ignoring it can cause some uncomfortable effects. Here is why it is important to regularly change your cabin air filter.

What is a Cabin Air Filter?

A cabin air filter is different than your engine’s air filter. However, they perform similar functions. The engine’s filter ensures clean air gets to the engine, the cabin filter stops contamination such as dust, dirt, smoke, smog, pollen, mold spores, and exhaust gases from entering the inside of the vehicle through the air conditioning system (HVAC).

Cabin air filters are typically rectangular and made of paper and a mix of other materials. They have pleats to catch the airborne contaminants. When air passes debris is trapped and stopped rather than being pumped into the car. Eventually, the filter needs to be changed to make sure your HVAC System is working.

What happens if your cabin air filter is dirty?


Wondering why you are sneezing when the windows are up and the air conditioning is on? A cabin air filter is essential in keeping the air you breathe inside of a vehicle free of pollutants. If it is dirty or clogged, it will not filter contaminants, causing problems for those who suffer from allergies or have breathing difficulties. A good rule of thumb is to replace your cabin air filter every February, before spring allergy season arrives, especially if you live in an area with a lot of trees. A fresh one will prevent dust and pollen from making their way into a vehicle and causing the occupants to start sneezing!

HVAC system will run poorly

A cabin air filter left in place beyond its life span will make a vehicle’s HVAC system work harder, which can cause the motor to burn up. Dirty cabin air filters will decrease the amount of air flowing from the ventilation system. This affects cabin air temperature, which depends on a flow of air passing through the core and/or evaporator. Simply put, not changing your cabin air filter will make your HVAC system work much harder.

Window fog clearing

Cannot see out the window? Problems happen when airflow is compromised, and windows will not clear as quickly. The air quality coming from a cabin air filter in need of replacement will allow condensation to form on the windshield. Once the cabin air filter is replaced, there will be less fog buildup on the windshield.

Foul odors

Ever get in the car and say “EWW, what is the smell?” Chances are, the bad odor is from not changing your cabin air filter. Dirty or excessively clogged air filters can produce a dusty, musty stench, especially when the HVAC system is turned on. Changing your cabin air filter regularly intervals will ensure your passengers do not have to wind down their windows to get some fresh air.

Do you need to change your cabin air filter?

Yes. Most manufacturers suggest swapping it out every 12,000 to 30,000 miles, depending on the vehicle. If you live or drive on a dirt road that is kicking up a lot of dust, you should replace it even sooner.

Though your cabin air filter is out of sight (likely located inside the glove box), it should not be out of mind. By replacing it regularly, you ensure the air circulated by the vehicle’s climate control system inside the passenger compartment of your vehicle is largely free of contaminants and that should be enough to make you breathe much easier.

Call Mike at Great Plains Auto Body & Car Care if you have any questions or stop by and see him at 4103 Leavenworth Street.

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