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If you are driving around and you start to notice a musty odor in your vehicle, it may be time to have a look at your cabin air filter.

WHAT IS A CABIN AIR FILTER?

A cabin air filter is a feature that is most often found on late-model vehicles. They clean the air that comes into the interior of the vehicle through the air conditioning and heating ventilation systems. Cabin air filters prevent bugs, leaves, and other such debris from entering the HVAC system. They also help trap bacteria, dust and pollen, all of which can make riding in a car very unpleasant, especially for those with respiratory problems and allergies.

Cabin Air Filter: What is It? How Do You Care for It?

WHY SHOULD YOU WORRY ABOUT YOUR CABIN AIR FILTER?

According to Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council, “A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can cause contaminants to become so concentrated in the cabin that passengers actually breathe in more fumes and particles when riding in the car than when walking down the street.”  White goes on to state that, “Replacing the cabin air filter is a simple way for you and your passengers to breathe easier while driving.” Dirty cabin air filters can cause the interior of your vehicle to smell moldy or musty. They can also block airflow in the HVAC system and cause interior cooling and heating problems. Over time, if the cabin air filter is not replaced, the heater and air conditioner stand the chance of becoming damaged by corrosion.

At Meridian Automotive we check the cabin filters on most vehicles when we perform an oil change service.  It’s just one of the many extras we provide when you rely on Meridian Automotive to care for your vehicle.  

WHEN SHOULD YOU CHANGE THE CABIN AIR FILTER?

The recommended amount of time you should go between cabin air filter changes varies by vehicle manufacturer. However, most vehicles recommend a change every 12,000 – 15,000 miles. As with all items of vehicle maintenance, you should check your owner’s manual. Many people do well with having the cabin air filter changed once per year, though some may need to look into it sooner. Where you drive and how often you drive will have an effect on how often you need to change the cabin air filter. In urban areas with poor air quality and heavy traffic, and dusty, desert climates, you will most likely need to change the air filter more often.

SIGNS THAT YOU NEED A NEW CABIN AIR FILTER INCLUDE:

  • Reduced air flow through your HVAC system
  • Persistent bad odors

REPLACING THE CABIN AIR FILTER.

You should never clean and reinstall a cabin air filter. Instead, when the time comes, you should replace it. You will know it is time to replace the cabin air filter when you look at it and see that it is covered in soot and grime, and possibly even leaves, twigs, and insects. Most cabin air filters can be found behind the glove box. They can be accessed fairly easily by freeing the glove box from its fasteners. Instructions on how to do this can usually be found in your owner’s manual.  Some can be found under the hood where fresh air enters the HVAC system. Others may be a little more difficult to reach as they are located under the dashboard. If you are ever in any doubt, an automotive service technician can help locate the cabin filter and replace it.

Checking the cabin air filter is a simple, preventive maintenance step that goes a long way toward protecting passengers, as well as the vehicle’s HVAC system. When is the last time you looked at yours?

If you have any concerns or questions about your vehicle, we invite you to give us here at Meridian Automotive a call. (208) 297-5573