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Cabin and Engine Air Filters

An important item that is often overlooked in regular vehicle maintenance is changing of the cabin air filter and the engine air filter. These filters require periodic replacement for optimum performance.

Both are important, but for very different reasons. It is helpful to understand their purpose and function, and then why and when they should be replaced.

Moving vehicles create a “tunnel effect” that increases the concentration of dust and pollen inside your car, as opposed to the outside air. The cabin air filter is a filtration device that is attached to an outside air intake of your vehicle’s ventilation system. An unintended consequence of bringing “fresh” outside air into your vehicle’s interior is that it also allows pollen, dust, dirt, and other unwanted particles to enter your ventilation system.

Dirty Cabin Air Filter

Your cabin air filter works similarly to the furnace filter in your home. It improves the quality of air that is circulated throughout your car, and improves the performance of your air conditioning system as well. Clogged, dirty cabin filters can strain the fan (blower) motor, which can lead to an expensive repair.

Cabin air filters should be replaced every 12-15,000 miles, depending on where you live and drive. For example, if you live on dusty, rural roads, the life of the cabin filter will be significantly shorter than if you drive predominantly on paved streets.

As always, your Owner’s Manual is a great reference to help you determine recommended intervals when your cabin filter should be replaced, and of course we always let you know the recommended interval at each oil change service as well.

Dirty Engine Air Filter
Dirty Engine Air Filter

The engine air filter cleans the engine’s incoming air of dust and dirt particles. Having adequate air flow is critical to the engine combustion process. Over time as the engine air filter captures airborne contaminants such as dirt, dust, and even bugs, less air will be available to flow to the engine. This will result in decreased fuel mileage and a gradual loss of acceleration and power.

Since it is a gradual change, you may not be aware of the decrease unless you track your fuel mileage. The engine air filter should be replaced every 15-30,000 miles, again depending on

Clean Engine Air Filter
Clean Engine Air Filter

conditions in which you drive and your manufacturer’s recommendations (check your Owner’s Manual).

By changing your cabin and engine air filters in a timely manner, you will keep the air inside your vehicle and the air going into your engine clean and fresh. Your vehicle systems will work more efficiently and with less stress. Have your cabin and engine air filters checked soon by your favorite Honest Accurate Auto technician!

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