Check Your Cabin Air Filter and Breathe Easier

Make Sure Your Cabin Air Filter is Doing Its Job

The air along busy roads and highways contains high levels of soot, smog, dust, and pollen. These harmful pollutants can easily enter your vehicle and aggravate your lungs. Children with “young lungs” are even more sensitive to the effects of air pollution than adults, so it’s important to protect drivers and passengers from breathing dirty air inside the car.

Modern vehicles utilize a cabin air filter to do the job. Cabin air filters trap dust, dirt, and grime from the road and pump clean air into the passenger compartment. Over time, however, your car’s cabin air filter can become clogged and actually multiply the dangers associated with these pollutants. That’s because dirty air comes into your vehicle through the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system but has no way to escape once it invades your vehicle.

Types of Cabin Air Filters

Happy Kids in the Car

Make Sure Your Kids are Breathing Clean Air in the Car

While more than 40 million vehicles on the road are equipped with cabin air filtration systems, many drivers have no idea that their vehicle has one, or what purpose it serves. Sometimes, the cabin air filter is referred to by various other names, such as pollen filter, air conditioning filter, interior ventilation filter, and dust filter, which can confuse car owners. If you’re not sure if your vehicle has a cabin air filter, a repair shop technician at Aardvark Automotive can check for you.

When to Change Your Cabin Air Filter

Dirty Cabin Air Filter

Time to Change the Cabin Air Filter (Image from Flickr)

Recommendations on when you should replace your cabin air filter vary by manufacturer. Some say every 12,000 or 15,000 miles, and others say longer. Another factor is how often you drive and where. If you frequently drive in heavy traffic, you could need to replace your filter annually or even more often.

You can also look for signs that you need a new cabin air filter. For example, you may notice reduced air flow from your vents when you turn on the heater or AC, or you may smell a bad odor.

Many people are surprised to see how dirty their cabin air filters are when we remove them from a vehicle. Often, we find leaves, twigs, and insects in addition to dirt and grime.

For more information about cabin air filters, see this article from

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