What is a Cabin Filter and Why Should it be Replaced?

Mysterious Cabin Filters Explained

Today, most of the auto industry’s later model vehicles have an added part called a cabin filter. cabin filterThough its name pretty much explains its function — its a filter that is typically placed in the cabin of your vehicle — a cabin filter is a bit more involved than that. Many people have never heard of such a filter and are not aware of the proper care for it. In spite of that lack of knowledge, a cabin filter is actually a pretty important element that can have a crucial role in your comfort while you are driving. Read on for everything you need to know about the cabin filter that is in your vehicle — even if you don’t know where it is yet!

Cabin Filters Demystified

A cabin filter has one job and that is to clean the air within the cabin of your vehicle. Air that
enters your car through its ventilation, heating or cooling system passes through the cabin filter. Pollen, dust, debris and other materials are what this type of filter is designed to catch before these substances enter the interior of your vehicle. By doing this, you are protected from any ill effects that you might experience by being exposed to things such as potential allergens.

Finding the Cabin Filter

In nearly all cases, it is not going to be obvious where your cabin filter is located.  Some vehicle
manufacturers install this type of filter behind the glove box, though accessing it could prove a little tricky. In other cases, the cabin filter might be located behind the dash where it is nearly
impossible to access without the use of  specialized tools. Still other vehicles might have them tucked away under the hood, located in the ideal spot so they are ready to trap airborne materials when fresh air reaches your HVAC system.

Signs That Your Cabin Filter Needs to be Changed

Most vehicle manufacturers have a recommended time frame to follow when changing the cabin filter. A range between 12,000 and 15,000 miles is about average. Depending on where you drive as well as how often you do so, you might need to change the cabin filter more often. For example, a dusty environment or one that has poor air quality might mean that you will need to have the cabin filter changed yearly or even sooner. The following are other reasons why you might need to change your cabin filter:

  • Unpleasant odors that occur each time you use the HVAC system
  • Any sign of reduced air flow
  • More noise than air that comes out of the vents when you turn the fan on high

Regardless of whether or not you see any signs that indicate that you should change your cabin filter, you should have a professional look it over at least once every year. Chances are it will contain some type of debris including soot, insects, leaves, grime, small twigs and more. Having it changed can greatly improve the air quality inside your vehicle.

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