Learn When to Replace Your Air Cabin Filter in Colorado Springs
Most people know that their engine has an air filter that need to be changed periodically to ensure proper air flow to the engine, but what about the air flow for the passengers? Most late model vehicles also have a cabin air filter (sometimes called a microfilter) that filters not only the air that gets drawn into the vehicle from
the outside, but also the air that is re-circulated inside the passenger compartment. Think of it like the furnace filter for your home, but much smaller.
Not only does it filter dust and debris that is drawn in by the blower motor, it can also help to filter out odors and allergens from the outside. Filters that use activated charcoal are especially good at this and are available for most vehicles that are equipped with an interior cabin filter. It is not uncommon to find leaves, insects, hair, and evidence of rodents (sometimes even the rodents themselves!) when replacing a cabin filter. Ask to see the old filter when getting it replaced, it can be pretty eye opening to see what is trying to get into the air inside of your vehicle.
Signs That It May Be Time to Replace your Air Cabin Filter
If your vehicle is equipped with an interior cabin filter there will be a recommended replacement interval in your owner’s manual. The general recommendation for cabin filter replacement is every 12,000 to 15,000 miles depending on driving conditions, but if you live in an area with poor air quality, lots of dust, or spend a lot of time on unpaved roads you may want to change the filter more often. Also if your area has had fires, dust storms, or other natural disasters recently it would be a good idea to have that filter checked or replaced. Again, have a look at the old filter when it comes out and it will give you a better idea of how often it needs to be replaced.
The filter should be replaced before there are any indications of a problem but if the filter is overdue there are a few things you might notice including reduced airflow from the blower motor and odors from the vents. Usually a dirty sock smell caused by mold growing on an old filter, or a “stale” odor that is clearly coming from the vents. In extreme cases a clogged filter can block the airflow almost entirely; this can also damage your blower motor resistor which in many vehicles is cooled by the airflow which has been blocked by that clogged filter.
If you don’t know the last time your cabin filter was replaced, it is probably due. Sometimes this is a quick procedure, but there are some vehicles that require a fair amount of labor to remove the filter so the price of the replacement will vary by vehicle, and in some cases checking the filter without replacing it would be a waste.
Ask your service writer about having it checked next time you are in for service and they can help you decide what’s best for you and your vehicle.