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Cabin Air filter 101: a complete guide on understating air filters

Photo of a hand holding a dirty cabin air filter

Just like the furnace filter in your home, the cabin air  filter in your car requires attention. It’s an essential piece of your car’s heating and air conditioning system and helps remove allergens and other contaminants from the air you breathe. A clean and well-maintained cabin air filter will make your vehicle a healthier place for you and your passengers. Here’s what you need to know about air cabin filters.

How cabin air  filters work

Cabin air filters are typically located behind the vehicle’s glove box. They’re usually rectangular and have a pleated filter made of paper-based multi-fibre cotton. As air travels through the vehicle’s HVAC system, the pleated filter catches dust, pollen and other pollutants before the air reaches the cabin.

Signs you need to replace your cabin air  filter

You don’t need to visually check your air filter to know if it needs replacing. Signs your air filter is dirty or clogged include:

  • A musty odour coming from your vents
  • A whistling noise from your vents when the fan is on
  • Decreased airflow, even when the fan is set to high
  • Your air conditioning or heating is noisier than usual

If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to check your air filter. You can do this yourself or get a professional to do it for you. Regardless of the warning signs, you should check your air filter every 25,000 to 50,000 kilometres, depending on the age and model of your vehicle.

How to check and replace your cabin air  filter

Checking your car’s air filters is a car-maintenance task you can do yourself. However, remember to consult the owner’s manual. If your car is like most, you’ll need to remove the glove box to access your cabin air  filter. Although many models don’t require tools, you may need a screwdriver to do this.

Remove the air filter and check it for debris and dust accumulation. If it’s dirty, the air flowing through isn’t getting clean, and your car’s HVAC system is working harder than it needs to. Replace the air filter with a new one that you can purchase at your local automotive centre.

If you don’t have the time or the ability to check your air filter yourself, you can always take it to a trusted professional.

Car maintenance and repairs in British Columbia and Alberta

At Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres, our technicians can check your cabin air  filter during an oil change or tune-up. We have the parts to keep your car running smoothly and safely. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our 14 locations throughout British Columbia.


Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres Address Common Issues

Here at Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres in British Columbia, we’re always pleased to help our customers get the most out of their cars and trucks. To that end, we’ll add a relevant blog topic from time to time to keep you up to date and getting the most out of your vehicle.