Service Saturday: Cabin Air Filters

servicesaturdayWhile the engine air filter in your car is important, in most cars manufactured during the past decade or so there is another, little-known air filter that screens a different type of air – the air you breathe.

Thought automakers refer to them by different names, they are most generally known as cabin air filters.  These filters work very similarly to the air filters that screen the heating / cooling system in your home, in that they screen the air that is circulated into your car’s passenger compartment for dust, soot, pollen and other contaminants.  Some high-end cabin air filters even contain a layer of activated charcoal that actually scrubs odors from the air, as well.  The result is air that is much leaner that what would otherwise be pulled into the car. (Want proof? Try searching for “dirty cabin air filter” photos on the Internet to see just a few examples of the types of things drivers have  been prevented from breathing thanks to their cabin air filters.)

Recommendations on when it should be replaced vary by manufacturer — some say every 12,000 or 15,000 miles, others longer — and how often can depend on how much you drive and where. Check the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual. If you drive in heavy traffic in an urban area that has poor air quality, you could need to replace the filter annually or even more often. However, that also could be true in a desert climate where there is a lot of dust.filter2

Some signs that you need a new cabin air filter are reduced air flow through your HVAC system, such as when you crank up the fan too high and you get more noise than results. Another is persistent bad odors. Even if you don’t have these warnings, you should have the filter checked at least once a year and ask your Buckeye Honda and Buckeye Toyota service center to let you see the filter.  The filter might be in pretty good shape but you might be shocked to see what is covering your filter and coming into contact with all of the air coming into your vehicle.

Maintaining your cabin air filter is an important part of keeping the air inside of your vehicle clean.  This clean air will be better for you to breath, make your heating and cooling system work more efficiently and keep the inside of your vehicle cleaner.  Next time you are in one of the Buckeye Service Centers in Lancaster Ohio talk to them about your cabin air filter.

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