Do You Really Need to Change Your Cabin Air Filter?

A cabin air filter is an important part of your vehicle's heating and air conditioning system. It helps to keep the air inside your car clean and free from pollutants, such as pollen and dust. Replacing the filter regularly can improve the air quality and airflow of your vehicle, and it is recommended that you do so as often as suggested by the car manufacturer. Those who drive in congested urban areas or places with poor air quality may need to replace their filters more often.

The best way to ensure that the air is clean is to change the cabin air filter as often as recommended by the car manufacturer. If you notice that your car has an unpleasant odor or that airflow has decreased, consider replacing the cabin filter to give the system and yourself a breath of fresh air. In your car's owner's manual, you can find mileage marks for recommended cabin air filter changes, although they vary by vehicle type and manufacturer. Recommendations for when to replace a cabin air filter vary by manufacturer, with some saying every 12,000 or 15,000 miles, others more, and the frequency may depend on how much you drive and where.

Another sign of a faulty cabin air filter is a musty odor that appears when you try to run the fan, Autoblog reports. With most cars, replacing the cabin filter is generally a very simple “do it yourself” project, and I would personally replace the filter when it gets dirty, not based on mileage. If you're servicing your vehicle at a repair shop or dealer, the technician might recommend a cabin air filter replacement. Just like with an oil or fuel filter, a car's cabin air filter eventually becomes clogged and can't do its job properly.

If a dealer's service department or repair shop recommends buying a new cabin air filter, ask to see the current one. Most late-model vehicles contain cabin air filters to trap material in the air that can make traveling in a car less pleasant. This filter is usually located behind the glove compartment and cleans the air as it moves through the vehicle's HVAC system. However, even if you don't have these warnings, you should have your air filter checked at least once a year, and you may be able to do it yourself. Whether you're winterizing your car or just doing regular maintenance, air filters are rarely at the top of the list.

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