All You Need To Know About Cabin Air Filter


The cabin air filter is the first thing that gets overlooked because you don’t really think about it until you take your car to a dealer or a shop. But when you do, it’s the first thing they recommend you change. Just the way your engine needs to have clean air, your passengers need to have clean air too. The cabin air filter not only filters the air that’s coming from the outside, but it also cleans the air that’s being circulated inside the cabin. So, when you are running your air conditioner, you’re not actually taking fresh air from the outside, you are recirculating the air that’s inside.

Here is All You Need To Know About Cabin Air Filter

Please note that not all cars have cabin air filter. Only 80% of the cars built after year 2000 have cabin air filters.

How To Get Your AC Ready For The Summer

Will a Dirty Cabin Air Filter Affects The AC Performance

Will a Dirty Cabin Air Filter Affects The AC Performance
Will a Dirty Cabin Air Filter Affects The AC Performance

Yes. A dirty cabin air filter will affect the AC performance. Why? Because when the cabin air filter gets dirty, the airflow is significantly reduced. The little holes that the filter has are meant for air to circulate through them into the cabin. When they get dirty, they get clogged and very little air can pass, or no air at all. At this point you need to change your cabin air filter or clean your old one and reuse it.

Almost half of the vehicles that come equipped with a cabin air filter are located inside the glove compartment on the passenger side of the vehicle under the dashboard. Simply opening the glove box door, removing or dropping the door will expose the location of the cabin air filter. There should be a plate that can be pushed and pulled out. So, gently remove the old cabin air filter and replace it with a new one.

What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Cabin Air Filter

What Happens If You Don't Change Your Cabin Air Filter
What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Cabin Air Filter

Did you know that maintaining your cabin air filter is just as important as getting your engine oil changed? Let’s face it. When thinking of car maintenance, the quality of air in your car is usually the last thing that comes to mind.

Two things can happen if you don’t change your cabin air filter:

  1. Overtime your cabin air filter will get dirty and it won’t be able to hold the allergens, pollutants and unwanted airborne particles, which means all of the above will enter the cabin and you and your passengers will be exposed to them.
  2. If your cabin air filter is dirty, your AC performance will significantly reduce. You won’t get cold air in the summer and you won’t be able to defrost your windshield in the winter.

Where Is The Cabin Air Filter Located

On most of the cars, the cabin air filter is located behind the glove box. At some cars, it might be located under the hood. Just open the glove box compartment and empty it. Grab the sides of your glove box and squeeze them together and the glove box door will fold down. You will see the cabin air filter frame. There are no screws, you just have to pull it out. Please see the image below:

Where Is The Cabin Air Filter Located
Where Is The Cabin Air Filter Located

How Do You Know If Your Cabin Air Filter is Bad?

What are the symptoms of a bad cabin air filter?

A common symptom is when your car smells dusty, dirty, or musty. Kind of like an old wet towel. The smell might become worse when the AC is turned on. Another symptom is poor airflow or loud noises coming from your AC.

In order to keep you and your car breathing easy, a functioning cabin air filter is critical. Most of the cabin air filter manufacturers recommend that you change your cabin air filter every 10,000 miles.

Can You Drive Without Cabin Air Filter

Technically, yes. You can drive your car without cabin air filter installed. But should you do so? The cabin air filter prevents harmful allergens, pollutants, and unwanted airborne particles from entering your vehicle’s interior and keep passengers protected. Driving your car without the cabin air filter installed means that all of the allergens, pollutants and debris will enter your vehicle.

How Often Should I Change My Cabin Air Filter

Large manufacturing companies suggest that you change your cabin air filter every 10,000-12,000 miles which is around 12,000-15,000 kilometres. I personally check my air filter more often. I do a visual inspection to see if the filter is dirty. If it is, I either clean it or i simply replace it. You can find some amazing cabin air filters on amazon.com. It is recommended that you change your cabin air filter at the same time you change your engine air filter.

Can I Replace My Cabin Air Filter Myself

Yes, you can replace your cabin air filter by yourself. It’s actually really easy to change your cabin air filter. It takes less than 15 minutes and requires no mechanic skills. All you have to do is open your glove box compartment, squeeze the both sides and pull down the glove box tray. At this point you will be able to see the cabin air filter. Pull out the frame and discard the old cabin air filter and insert the new cabin air filter into the frame. There are markings on both the cabin air filter and the frame that tells you which side is up. Before you install the cabin air filter, take a rag and clean the inside. If you park your car under a tree, don’t be surprised if you see a lot of leaves. See below image for better understanding:

Can I Replace My Cabin Air Filter Myself
Can I Replace My Cabin Air Filter Myself

Can I Clean And Reuse The Cabin Air Filter?

Yes. You can clean your cabin air filter and reuse it. Take out your cabin air filter and vacuum clean it to get rid of the larger debris. Rinse the cabin air filter in a warm water and dish soap solution. You can add baking soda too. Grab a toothbrush and scrub it nicely. Make sure not to damage the cabin air filter. After you are done, leave it to dry nicely and then reinstall it.

Can I Clean And Reuse The Cabin Air Filter?
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ryangsell/

The cabin air filter has different sized holes that allow the air to go through. When your cabin air filter gets dirty, those holes actually get clogged and the airflow is reduced significantly. This becomes a safety issue because in the winter time it will take longer to defrost your windshield and windows. Not to mention that breathing filthy air is not healthy. Make sure that your cabin air filter is not damaged before reinstalling it.

How Much Does a Cabin Air Filter Cost

A decent cabin air filter costs anywhere between $7-$35 depending on your make and model. The one that I use costs $16 and I am pretty happy with it. It is actually a re-washable cabin air filter. I usually cleat it 2-3 times myself before buying a new one. You can check it out on amazon.com.

FUN FACT: The inside of the cabin is actually six times dirtier than the outside.

Thank you for reading my article. I hope now you know everything you need to know about cabin air filter. Check out the cabin air filter below on amazon.com

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