How Often Do You Need to Change a Cabin Air Filter?

Cabin air filter often sits in the background when it comes to the scheduled maintenance of a vehicle. Many drivers don’t even know about its existence. But any experienced mechanic will tell you about its vital role in filtering pollutants from the air that enters a vehicle’s cabin. Many drivers don’t change it year after year because they simply don’t know that they need to.

What is a Cabin Air Filter?

The main function of this air filter is to monitor the air entering the cabin and refining it from various substances. The air that comes through a vehicle’s HVAC system may contain different elements such as fumes, dust, mold spores, and pollen. This filter removes these harmful elements so you get fresh air inside the car. It can also filter out bigger elements such as debris, leaves, and rodent droppings.

air filter
The filter catches unwanted items. (Photo Source: pakwheels)

If you suffer from allergy problems and live in an area dotted with lots and lots of trees, a functioning filter can help you breathe easy by preventing pollen and spores from getting inside the car. It not only improves the air quality but also aids the A/C system to run smoothly.

The filter is located on the dashboard, under the hood, or behind the glove compartment in most vehicles manufactured after 2000. There is basically one filter in each car but some luxury models may have two or more.


How Often to Change Cabin Air Filter

Many people drive 90,000 miles without changing the filter, which is obviously not healthy for people riding that car.

Check the owner’s manual to be sure about the ideal replacement time. Otherwise, you can change it anywhere between 15,000 and 30,000 miles. An urban area is likely to have poor air quality because of all the pollution and heavy traffic. Driving in such areas may require changing the filter each year or sooner than that. This applies for driving in any area where the air quality is below par.

How do you know that it’s time to change the cabin air filter? There are a few warning signs such as lasting bad odors, reduced airflow, and noise through the HVAC systems.

Even if you don’t see any of these symptoms, check the cabin air filter at least once in a year. Negligence leads to dirty air entering the cabin and the HVAC systems working harder than necessary. This may lead to expensive repairs like a burnt motor in the A/C or climate control system.

how often to change cabin air filter
Replace the filter at regular intervals. (Photo Source: eyeem)

Changing the cabin air filter is not a difficult task. However, you may need to remove the glove box in some car models. The filter is mounted with several clips and pins and careless handling may lead to breaking these delicate parts.

Take the car to an auto repair shop if you don’t understand what to do. This job will cost only between $70 and $110, based on the filter’s price and labor costs.