Do you want to know how often to change cabin air filter?
Oftentimes, when the owner of a car is asked by their engineer to get a new air filter for their car, the first expression you get from them is, “What is that? What does it do, and how is it changed?”
And any experienced mechanic who knows his job will enlighten you on the importance of changing a dirty air filter and the improvement it brings to the car’s air quality.
However, when it comes to vehicle maintenance, car owners of recent times barely give the air filter a second look, talk more of replacing it.
When it comes down to car filters, a greater number of the general public that owns a car do not have better knowledge of the engine air filter or oil filter.
As for cabin air filters, many car owners have no idea that such exists in their cars.
However, enquire from any professional auto repairer, and they’ll fill you in on the very importance of this part of a car, as they are designed to filter (that is, sieve out) pollutants and stop them from getting into the car’s cabin.
That is why we are here to let you know all there is about the cabin air filter and how often it should be changed.
How Often to Change Cabin Air Filter?
The rule of thumb for changing cabin air filters is every 15,000 miles. But if you’re a driver who enjoys off-roading or driving in areas with dirt or gravel roads, you may need to change your filter more frequently.
Though it is expected for every cabin air filter to be replaced between 15,000 to 30,000 miles, still, you’re likely to notice these signs: Reduced flow of air while the climate control system is on and an unpleasant lingering odor which will warrant you to change it.
Like most car engineers will say, changing your car’s air filter is advised after a year or two, depending on how often your car is being used.
In the cause of time, just like every other thing, you’ll realize that nothing is that easy, including car maintenance.
Also Read: Why Is No Air Coming From My Car Vents? (Expert Answer)
Factors That Could Affect the Lifespan of a Cabin Air Filter
Aside from the time frame recommended for replacing the air filter by the producers of the car, it is important to note the main factors that are likely to reduce its lifespan.
1. Mileage Of Vehicle
A common factor that affects how often to change cabin air filter is the mileage of the vehicle. The more your car is used, the more air the cabin filter processes and the constant usage of a car is a strong indicator that the air filter is due for a change.
And suppose you do not fall under the category mentioned above. In that case, it is safe to consider replacement after every Fifteen thousand to Twenty-five thousand miles unless your owner’s manual says otherwise.
2. Location of Driving
Another factor that affects how often to change cabin air filter is your location. Most areas are known to be dustier than the rest, and others have a much higher pollen count.
Also, if you live in an area with higher airborne pollutants or navigate such a route often, the chances of your air filter going bad and needing replacement will be very high.
3. Filter Duration
Another factor that affects how often to change cabin air filter is the filter duration or how long it has been used.
Particulate filters usually do not degrade over time, while carbon filters process the air and absorb the odors once they are released.
4. Time of Year
The time of the year is another factor that affects how often to change cabin air filter. Airborne pollutants move higher or lower in number according to the time of the year. So as months and seasons go by, the levels of these pollutants also change.
The best way to know if your air filter is due for change is by visual inspection, that is, examining what quantity of airflow has been impacted, or through olfactory inspection.
Fortunately, the air filter is a part of the vehicle that can be seamlessly accessed, so an estimated 5 minutes is expected for the whole process.
Irrespective of the time in a year, the air filter should be replaced if it is full, when airflow is being restricted or when it starts releasing a bad odor.
Also Read: How Often to Change Fuel Filter? (Everything to Know)
What Is a Cabin Air Filter?
Most cars that were produced in the year 2000 and beyond were made having cabin air filters.
And this air filter aims to leave all the air in the car’s cabin clean and unpolluted. It’s meant to filter every air coming into the HVAC system and stop all pollutants from entering the car. This includes dust, mold spores, pollen, and smog.
Although that is not all there is to a cabin air filter, it can also catch rodent droppings, leaves, and a few other unwanted debris.
They also help with modern allergies, particularly for those who reside in areas with lots of trees.
Aside from improving the air quality in the car’s cabin, prompt replacement of the cabin air filter reduces the repair cost.
This is because the AC unit does twice its work, while the motor heats up due to dirty air in the cabin.
Just like engines need clean air, shutting out dust and various other contaminants from entering the vehicle with the aid of an air filter. Which also helps prevent wear and tear and improve the vehicle’s performance, so do humans need unpolluted air.
That’s why the human nose and throat have an in-built filter to prevent unwanted things carried by the air from getting into the body system.
However, should you suffer allergies, the mucus and hair in the nostrils won’t be able to prevent it, especially when you navigate through areas with high airborne pollutants like soot, dust, pollen, dirt, and even offensive smells.
The air filter is usually located right at the back of the glove compartment, directly beneath the hood or below the dashboard of most modern cars.
Below are the following pieces we’ve arranged together to help in your search for the perfect cabin air filter
Why Is a Cabin Air Filter So Important?
The air filter is most times called the dust or air conditioner filter.
Nevertheless, the cabin air filter is entirely different because it is made from either paper or textile, which can block any airborne contaminants trying to get into the car cabin.
This cabin air filter can sieve out 99% of airborne pollutants above 3 pm in size, including pollen, dust, feathers, ash, insects, hair, and PM10.
And should your car be fortunate enough to have a carbon air filter, you will be safe from unpleasant odors that may come from the outside. They also have a layer of activated charcoal that suck up odors and fumes.
Cabin air filters don’t only protect one from reactions that could be allergic but also protects them from various airborne contaminants that could lead to several health problems. For example, PM10 & PM 2.5 are associated with lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Those who reside in areas with hot climates and experience exceptionally hot summers would better understand the feeling of being in a hot car unless your AC swoops in and saves the day with some cool cold air. But it would take a bit more time to cool down if your filter were clogged with dirt.
Also Read: Does Car AC Use Gas? (Answered)
When Should I Replace My Cabin Air Filter?
Sadly, so many people are unaware of the presence of the air filter in their vehicle, talk more if its needs replacement. It’s necessary to keep your cabin air filter in good condition, as it’s something that demands a close watch.
The stipulated time for replacing your cabin air filter is based on the model, make, or year the vehicle was made, so you might need to fall back to your vehicle’s instruction manual for confirmation.
The air filter is to be replaced between Fifteen thousand to Thirty thousand miles. So you might want to look out for the following signs:
- Reduction in airflow when the climate control system is activated.
- Lingering offensive odors.
- Dust settling at the vehicle’s surface.
How Much Does Changing a Cabin Air Filter Cost?
Replacing an air filter is relatively affordable to those who relish our special service. Changing your air filter should cost at least $70 for both labor and parts, or you can better still save a few bucks by picking up a brand new air filter from our parts department and going through the process at home.
Replacing your air filter is easy but requires a little more time and a few tools. So to know the location of the cabin air filter in your vehicle, consult your owner’s manual and use the necessary appliances to access it. After doing that, here are the next steps to follow below:
- With your instruction manual, locate your car’s air filter and find out how many your car has, as some vehicles are designed with more than one cabin air filter.
- After locating the air filter, use the necessary tools and take out whatever casing there is to access the filter.
- A towel should be put on the floor below the air filter to collect any debris that might fall out. After which, take out the old air filter from its existing position.
- Take a while to observe how the old filter was being positioned and where the airflow is being directed, so you can position the new one accordingly. The airflow is indicated with a typical marking by the side of the filter.
- Dispose old air filter, and vacuum up every leftover dust or debris from the air filter housing.
- Now, you can install your new air filter and ensure its direction is faced correctly.
- After which, properly replace the cover and casing of the air filter.
Frequently Asked Questions – How Often To Change Cabin Air Filter?
How Long Should Cabin Air Filter Last?
They’re expected to be replaced every thirty thousand miles.
What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Cabin Air Filter?
Not changing the car’s air filter blocks it with debris and dirt. It also reduces the efficiency of the car’s filter and its HVAC system. Also, the volume of air in your passenger compartment will be reduced, and also releases a bad odor into the vehicle.
Do You Need To Change Cabin Air Filter?
A blocked air filter will affect your fuel and overburden your engine, making it work more than is required. So it is expected to replace the air filter every Twelve thousand to Fifteen thousand miles, but consult your owner’s manual first.
How Much Should A Cabin Air Filter Cost?
Well, the price of an air filter comes within the range of $15 – $50; if you can replace it yourself, you’ll be saving yourself a service fee worth $50
Can I Just Clean My Cabin Air Filter?
Air filters are made of carbon, paper, and cloth, and as expected, paper filters cannot be cleaned but replaced. However, some carbon and cloth filters can be reused and even washed with the use of a hose with low pressure, allowing the water to run from clean to dirty side and so on.
Can A Dirty Cabin Filter Affect Heat?
A dirty and blocked filter will negatively affect a vehicle’s cooling and heating system, resulting in other issues like the emanation of bad odor, loss of air volume, and permanent damage to the HVAC components.
Does Cabin Air Filter Turn On Check Engine Light?
A polluted cabin air filter could turn the check engine light on for some exceptional cases. In contrast, an extremely clogged air filter prevents air intake into the engine, affecting the mixture of air or fuel in the engine. Consequently, turning the check engine light on.
Conclusion – How Often To Change Cabin Air Filter?
Now you know how often to change cabin air filter and without a doubt, you also now know the importance of cleaning the air filter periodically and its timely replacement every 15,000 to 30,000 miles.
And should you not carry out this routine promptly and faithfully, be sure to have an inefficient ventilation system that will not aid in clearing the air you inhale in your car, which is unsafe for your health.
Be sure to also note that you will be overburdening your car engine, eventually leading to an expensive repair.
Finally, to those who may be unsure whether now is the right time to replace that air filter, well, if there is a bad smell coming from the car, even after the AC has been put on or the car starts heating, or maybe if there’s an unusual amount of fog on the car’s windows.
With that said, and the above signs in place, you can now know that there is fire on the mountain, and it’s about time for the cabin air filter to be changed.
Reminder: It is important that car maintenance be done more often, as no one enjoys taking in polluted air in a confined space or prefers getting sick. Everyone, including our families and passengers, deserves a healthy ride.