Changing the Cabin Air Filter in Your Car

Many cars built after 2000 have a cabin air filter, which removes particles and even odors from the air that are piped into the car. Luxury cars may have two or more air filters, but most newer cars at least have one. The cabin filter basically improves air quality in your car, but it’s also important to safety. By removing air contaminants, it can prevent runny noses, sneezing, headaches, and blurry vision which can distract a driver.

Types of Filters

The filter may seem like it is just paper, but it’s actually a complex fiber that is about 98 percent effective at trapping particulates. You can also buy HEPA cabin air filters that trap even more particles. Some air filters are treated with activated carbon, which helps the filter remove odors, such as ammonia, benzenes and sulfur dioxide. High quality cabin filters can be treated with another chemical that can reduce the smell of wet dog, body odors, and mildew in your car.

When to Change Your Cabin Filter

Most factory recommendations are to replace your car’s cabin filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. Check your auto’s owner’s manual for your vehicle. However, you may need to replace the filter more frequently if you live in an area that deals with a lot of airborne debris, dust or pollen. Although the cabin filter doesn’t affect your car’s performance, letting it go too long without replacement can affect your performance. At the very minimum, you should replace your cabin filter at least once a year. When the air in your car is dirty, it causes the AC to work harder. Changing your cabin air filter may prevent the AC motor from burning up.

How to Change Your Cabin Filter

Cabin air filters are usually located in the air ductwork that is part of the HVAC system. Your cabin filter might be near the base of the windshield in your engine component or under the dash or behind the glove box. Use your owner’s manual to learn how to change your air filter. Typically, the air filter can be removed and installed without any tools. It doesn’t take long, about 15 minutes. There may be panels that need to be removed, which could add a few minutes on your time. Your auto repair mechanic can take care of the air filter when performing routine maintenance.

If you need or want help replacing your car filter, check with our auto shop here in Englewood. We can easily take care of it in a few minutes while you wait. Ask us about our other services, such as wheel alignment, air conditioning repair, or brake services.