Do I Really Need to Change My Cabin Air Filter?

We’ve all been there: we go to get our oil changed or for some other kind of regular maintenance and the auto shop says that the cabin air filter needs replacing. It’s an added cost we weren’t expecting. But do we really need to change the air filter, or is it mostly unnecessary? With auto shops across Minneapolis and St. Paul, Kennedy Transmission has the answers.

Exactly What Is a Cabin Air Filter?

Most car owners don’t realize how a vehicle’s climate control system keeps interior air fresh and clean. It utilizes a rectangular car air filter made of engineered materials and fibers.

As you run the AC or heater, air passes through the filter. Its pleated design traps contaminants and prevents them from blowing into the car’s interior. Eventually, the cabin filter becomes dirty.

That’s easy to understand when you consider how well the unit works. It keeps smoke, smog and exhaust gases out of the air inside your vehicle. The filter helps protect you from dust, pollen and mold spores.

Why Is a Clean Air Filter Important?

As your car’s heater and AC circulate outside air through the cabin, the enclosed environment concentrates airborne contaminants. Without regular maintenance and replacement, a dirty cabin air filter can result in these problems:

  • Respiratory health issues
  • Reduced cabin air circulation
  • Over-worked climate control systems
  • AC blower motor damage
  • Interior condensation on windows

What Are the Signs of a Bad Cabin Air Filter?

Every car’s interior air filter eventually goes bad. These problems mean that it’s time to change your cabin air filter.

  • Whistling sounds from air intake ducts
  • Unusual noises when running the heater or AC
  • Unpleasant, musty smells when running the vent fan
  • Inefficient operation from widow defoggers

How Often Does the Filter Need Replacing?

Check your owner’s manual for recommendations on how often to replace the cabin air filter. If you routinely drive in heavy urban traffic, frequently travel dirt roads, or deal with respiratory issues, change the filter more often.

You can replace the cabin air filter yourself, but its location complicates the job. The unit is usually secured by clips or pins behind the glove box, under the dash or in the engine compartment below the windshield base. It’s often easier to let your automotive service center handle the job as part of regular maintenance.

We Take Care of All Your Car Air Filters

The next time you stop by one of our seven locations, let us take a look at the filters in your car. We can tell you if it’s time to change the cabin air filter, the engine air filter and the oil filter. It’s just one more way Kennedy Transmission helps you breathe easier on the road.

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