Have you been noticing a bad odor when you run your heater or air conditioner? You likely need a new cabin air filter! The cabin air filter is often overlooked by drivers, but it’s important for maintaining a clean, comfortable passenger compartment. Like other filters in your vehicle, cabin air filters should be replaced regularly to keep your car’s interior air clean and free from harmful contaminants. Here’s what you should know about cabin air filters, including how they work and how often they should be replaced.
How Do Cabin Air Filters Work?
Cabin air filters are special types of filters that remove contaminants like pollen, spores, and dust before they can enter the vehicle’s passenger compartment. Found in most late-model cars, cabin air filters are positioned behind the glovebox and work by cleaning the air as it passes through the HVAC system.
Over time, cabin air filters will get dirty and may begin to smell, so they need to be replaced. While some cabin air filters are easy to access, others can be difficult to get to—so it may or may not be something you’re able to replace yourself. Keeping the cabin air filter clean is especially important for individuals with respiratory conditions like allergies and asthma.
As with the other filters in your vehicle, automakers recommend replacing the cabin air filter at specified intervals, which can be found in your car’s owner’s manual. Although recommendations can vary based on your make and model, replacements are typically recommended anywhere from every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. If you regularly drive on dirt roads, in urban areas with congested traffic, or in regions with poor air quality, you may need to replace the filter more frequently. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may want to consider replacing your filter every year in February, before allergy season begins.
In addition to health concerns, a clogged filter can affect the efficiency of your vehicle’s HVAC system by making it work harder. Not only can this cause weak air flow, but it can also cause the blower motor to wear out. A clogged filter also reduces the system’s ability to clear condensation and fog from the windshield, which can impact your visibility.
Common Signs Your Cabin Air Filter Needs to Be Replaced
If you don’t have your owner’s manual or you’re not sure when your filter was last replaced, here are some common signs to watch for:
- Weak airflow coming from the air vents, even when the air is set to high
- A whistling sound coming from the vents
- A musty or unpleasant odor coming from the vents
- Excessive noise while using the air conditioning or heat
If you’ve noticed any of the above signs, schedule an appointment for an air cabin replacement!
Here are some other steps you can take to maintain the air quality in your car:
- Vacuum the upholstery, carpet, and floor mats regularly
- Regularly wipe down the interior, including the dashboard, door panels, and steering wheel console
- Check the weather stripping on the doors and windows to ensure they create a proper seal
- Clean up spills as soon as possible to prevent mold growth
Complete Care for Your European Car
From helping you get rid of unusual odors to diagnosing and repairing low airflow issues, EuroCar Service is your local European vehicle specialist! Whether you have an Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini-Cooper, Fiat, Volkswagen, Volvo, Saab, or Smart Car, we’ll quickly get to the root of the issue. Contact us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment through our online form.