Cabin filters are probably the third most popular filter in your car. The air filter makes sure that the air going to your engine is clean, while the oil filter makes sure that the oil circulating through your engine is clean and free of debris. What about your interior, though? The A/C system in your car has a lot of air passing through it and a lot of air3 blowing through to your face inside the cabin. This means that it is extremely important to run your car with a clean cabin filter at all times.
Most cabin filters are paper-based, or fiber-based. They can also be treated with different chemicals and antimicrobial or anti-viral sprays and coatings to increase their effectiveness at taking out the harmful contaminants going through your car’s climate control system. However, over time, your filter can collect all sorts of dust and debris, and the treatments can wear off over time and will be due for replacement as part of general car maintenance. so how do you know when it is time to change your car’s cabin filter? Here are the few telltale signs.
For most cars, in order to access your cabin filter, you don’t need a set of special tools. Your cabin filter will be behind the glove compartment of your car. To access this, open up your glove box, and undo a few clips to remove the cover and pull out the filter. Some filters have a right side up, so check for markings before reinstalling.
Distance or time
Just like your oil changes, after a certain amount of time or a certain number of kilometers run, you will need to change your car’s cabin filter. The theory is that regardless of how many kilometers you run if your engine is running constantly and sucking in air through the air conditioning system, the filter will be used all the same.
After about 1 to 2 years, you should probably have your filter changed out even if it doesn’t look that dirty. Or you can change it ever every 20,000 kilometers in order to keep your car fresh. Considering that a lot of a car's life is spent sitting in traffic for countries like the Philippines, it is important that you change your filter a bit often to keep your cabin fresh, as soot and other exhaust gases are filtered out by your cabin air filter.
Foul smell or a drop in air quality
If your car is starting to smell a little funky, you may want to bring it to a shop to have the vents cleaned, but the first and simplest thing that you can do to avoid the trip to the specialist is to check your cabin filter. Foul odors are also a telltale sign that you need to get your A/C system serviced, and the cabin filter is part of the equation.
Have you ever found yourself turning up the fan speed to the max all the time but still end up with an unsatisfying gust of wind that blows through? Perhaps that could be because your cabin filter has collected a lot of dirt and dust already which impedes airflow.
To put this to the test, you can also run your blower with the cabin filter, and then take it out. Note the difference in the airspeed coming out of the vents. If it is a night and day difference, and you notice that your filter is dark-colored already, then it should be obvious that you’re due for a filter replacement.
Lastly, you can just simply check your filter from time to time. As mentioned earlier, if you check it and aren’t comfortable with the fact that it is a bit dark already, then err on the side of caution and buy a new filter.
What filter do I buy?
You could go with the OEM filter replacement. Usually, this kind of filter replacement is a standard paper or cotton filter that weeds out the particulate suspended in the air.
The more robust and effective filter that is gaining widespread popularity is the N95 type filter, which can filter more effectively than the standard filters that come with your car. Some manufacturers like Geely have already resorted to standardizing N95 filters in their cars for added peace of mind. You might experience a slight drop in wind speed, but the added peace of mind is the tradeoff.
It is important that you never reuse your car's old cabin filter. Dispose of your old filter properly and replace it with a new one.