The west coast is continuing to experience a number forest fires. Because additional smoke and debris is filling the air, the Car Care Council reminds all drivers to replace their cabin air filter more frequently – especially if they live near or drove through a forest fire area.

How Often Should You Change a Cabin Air Filter?

Just like an oil change, your cabin air filter needs to be replaced on a regular basis, typically every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. It’s important you replace it regularly, especially if you drive a lot and live on the west coast. If your car has been driven near a forest fire recently, you should double check that your cabin air filter isn’t clogged. Even if you haven’t hit the 12,000-mile mark, this decreases the cabin air filter’s useful life, because of the ash and excess pollution it’s filtering out.

Your vehicle's cabin air filter is designed to filter things like pollen, bacteria, dust, and exhaust gases. Without the cabin air filter, your car’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system could be damaged by the particles in the atmosphere and the interior air quality would be poorer.

How to Replace Your Car’s Cabin Air Filter

It doesn’t take a master mechanic to find a vehicle’s cabin air filter and replace it. First, take a look at your owner’s manual to determine where it’s located and the type of filter recommended. You can purchase a cabin air filter at your local dealer or auto parts store, and they’re typically not expensive. The two common types of cabin filters you come across are:

  1. Particle (dust-type) cabin filters – The basic type of cabin filter that traps pollen, dust, mold, and other small particles.
  2. Activated carbon cabin (combination dust/odor) filters – A more advanced type of cabin filter, in addition to trapping particles and dust, it has activated charcoal that absorbs harmful gasses.

Make Sure You Have a Clean Cabin Air FilterOnce you know where the cabin air filter is located and the type you need, you can begin replacing it. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open the housing cover, glove box, or dashboard, take out the old cabin filter and inspect it.
  2. Clean the housing compartment before replacing the filter to make sure all debris is cleared out.
  3. Replace the cabin air filter with the new one, making sure you install it in the correct air flow direction – if you don’t, it won’t work.
  4. Reinstall the housing cover, glove box, and/or dashboard.

It’s a very simple process that typically doesn’t require a mechanic. The only thing you need to buy is the filter – the rest you can do in the comfort of your driveway or garage.

Looking to Replace Your Car?

Replacing your vehicle’s cabin air filter can help maintain airflow throughout your car’s interior, keeping it comfortable, and the HVAC system working at peak efficiency.

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