Cabin Air Filter Q and A

by | May 10, 2018 | Auto Service

Some car owners know about their car cabin air filter, albeit they may refer to it as an air conditioning filter. Other car owners have no idea the filter is hard at work, protecting the cabin from airborne debris and contaminants. These are a fairly recent addition to cars (appearing only in cars built after 2000), and the filters should be given the same maintenance and care that other filters receive.

How important are cabin air filters?

These filters do the same work that other filters do, trapping debris, bugs, leaves, and other pollutants before they get further into the car. The cabin air filter protects the occupants of your car from contaminants traveling through the heating and cooling system. Cleaner air in the cabin helps reduce allergy and asthma problems.

When should you replace the filter?

There are a few signs you need to replace your car cabin air filter. Pay attention to how well your HVAC system is working. Poor performance is linked to a clogged filter. Musty or damp car smells also indicate a dirty filter. Finally, if you’ve noticed a drop in air flow pressure, you should check the filter. Most manufacturers suggest replacing your filter once a year or every 15,000 miles, depending on your driving habits.

How do you know if you have a cabin air filter?

Read through your owner’s manual to determine whether you have a cabin filter and where it’s located. The filter may be called a “dust filter” or “air conditioning filter,” so be aware of this when you’re reading. There are generally two types of filters: particulate and odor/particulate filters.

What’s the best filter for your car?

Particulate filters work on dust, bacteria, pollen, and other tiny contaminants. Odor/particle filters go one step further; activated charcoal reduces odors and bad smells. Naturally, these cost more. The best option for your car may depend on your personal preferences. Discuss the options with your mechanic for other considerations.

Have you located your car cabin air filter? If you aren’t sure you have one, maybe now is the best time to take a look. For more information, visit

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