The cabin air filter is something that many people neglect to change as often as they should – and some may not even realize exists. While it may be tempting to ignore this maintenance task as an unnecessary expense, it is an important part of keeping your vehicle running strong and your cabin air healthy. Here is why you need to make sure you have your filter changed on schedule.
What Does a Cabin Air Filter Do?
The cabin air filter is not the same as the engine air filter, which filters the outside air before it goes into your engine and must be changed more often. Instead, it is responsible for filtering the air that comes through your vents into the vehicle cabin, helping to keep it clean and free of debris. This includes things like pollution, pollen, dust, dirt, exhaust fumes, and other contaminants. When this filter isn’t changed often enough, it doesn’t just mean that the air you breathe isn’t as clean, but it can also make it harder for your A/C and heater to function properly.
The filters are made from paper and other fibrous material that is folded into pleats to better catch debris. This low-cost material means that cabin air filters are quite inexpensive; most of the cost of replacing them comes from labor, as most cabin air filters are located behind a vehicle’s glovebox and take some time to access and replace. Overall, however, the cost of having the filter replaced is about the same as an oil change.
How Often Do I Need to Change my Cabin Air Filter?
Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that cabin air filters be changed every 12,000 to 30,000 miles. Your owner’s manual will be able to tell you about the interval for your specific make and model, or the technician at your neighborhood Chicagoland Jiffy Lube® can help find this information for you.
For some drivers, it is wise to change filters more often. If you live in a very polluted area, drive on roads that are dirt or gravel and thus dusty, or suffer from asthma or seasonal allergies, you will likely benefit from more frequent replacements. This will help ensure that the air inside of your vehicle cabin is clean of anything that might make it harder for you to breathe – and for your A/C or heating system to work efficiently.
To recap, here are our top four reasons that you should be changing your cabin air filter on schedule.
- It keeps the air in your cabin clean and smelling fresh.
Keeping out debris such as dirt, dust, pollution, and the like doesn’t just make the air in your car easier to breathe, it also makes it smell better. Dirty or clogged cabin air filters make the air coming out of your vents smell musty, dusty, dirty, or even moldy when your HVAC system is turned on. By changing the filter on time, you’re ensuring it stays clean enough to work efficiently and keep your cabin from being smelly.
- It makes your HVAC system and engine work more efficiently.
When your cabin air filter is dirty or clogged, your HVAC system must work harder to push warm or cold air into the cabin. This can make your system noisier, and even cause excessive wear and tear on internal parts. It also means that you and your passengers are going to feel less comfortable when you’re out and about.
- It helps your engine run more smoothly.
All the extra work your HVAC system must do when the cabin air filter is clogged doesn’t just mean your HVAC system can suffer; it can also affect your fuel efficiency. The harder your components must work, the more energy it takes – which means using more fuel to produce this energy, and a decrease in MPG.
We hope these tips have helped to make you more informed about why changing your cabin air filter is an important part of your regular vehicle maintenance. Your neighborhood Chicagoland Jiffy Lube® is here to help you with all your regular maintenance, as well as complete any necessary repairs that may come up before they become serious issues. Find your nearest neighborhood location right on our website and see the difference that having Chicagoland Jiffy Lube® on your side can make in simplifying your vehicle maintenance.
Jiffy Lube® recommends following manufacturer recommendations, where applicable, for maintenance schedules and service intervals.
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