Have you changed your car or truck’s cabin air filter recently? Excuse me, the “cabin air filter”?
The cabin air filter is a feature that is found on most late-model vehicles. It is a special fine filter that cleans the air that enters the interior of your car or truck. This ultra-fine paper-based filter prevents pollen, dust and other airborne particles from making their way in. These filters work well in dusty areas and If you, or a passenger, have allergies, these filters can provide quite a bit of relief.
So when should a cabin air filter be changed? Most manufacturers suggest every 10,000 to 15,000 mile. Perhaps a little more often depending on where you drive. If you drive in urban environments with poor air quality, in desert climates with lots of dust, or anywhere else with crummy air quality, you may want to change the filter more often.
So where are these things? Many cabin air filters are located above or behind the glove box. Often, they can be accessed by freeing the glove box from its support fasteners and dropping it out of the way. If this doesn’t seem easy, let a trained mechanic do it. In other vehicles, the cabin air filter may be under the dashboard and might not be so easy to reach. You definitely want a mechanic to do these.
By the way, you may be surprised at how expensive a replacement cabin air filter is. These are relatively large affairs and are made of very fine paper or filter material. They have to filter out very small particles and are typically twice or more times expensive than engine air filters. It’s simply the price of fresh air.
By the way, if you elect to have your dealership or a service center replace your cabin air filter, ask to see it before they toss it. You might be surprised to see that stuff that it has caught. It may have insects, leaves, dirt and all sorts of stuff attached to its surface. Then you know that the filter is doing its job.