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Remember your Cabin Air Filter!

Cabin Air Filter
Photo: iStockphoto

When you think of vehicle maintenance, you probably think of oil changes, tire rotations and air filters. But when your mechanic or service advisor tells you it is time to change your cabin air filter, you may feel yourself staring blankly and asking “My what?”

Don’t worry - you’re not alone. You may only know about the cabin air filter in your vehicle if you’ve read through your owner’s manual – which most people haven't - or if your mechanic brings it up. 

The cabin air filter, also called a pollen filter, filters air entering the interior of the vehicle through the HVAC (heating ventilation and air-conditioning system).  Specifically, the cabin air filter will filter out particles, dust mites, dirt and pollen before it enters the interior of your car. It can also prevent leaves, dirt and other debris from clogging the blower motor in your vehicle. If you want to use your heater or air conditioner – you definitely want to keep this clear! 

Think of your cabin air filter like the furnace filter in your home. It is also very similar to the air filter in your vehicle – which we’ve already discussed in an earlier post, “Air Filters - The Auto Part That Helps Your Vehicle Breathe Better”. Instead of filtering air that goes into your engine, the cabin air filter filters the air that goes into the interior – the “cabin” – of your car. 

According to Statistics Canada, in 2010 the average commute time to work via car was 24 minutes. That means that almost 1 hour of your day is spent sitting in your vehicle breathing in the air – and that’s only for your work commute.  It may not seem like a lot, but I know that I definitely would not want to be breathing in grimy, dust-filled air for 10 minutes a day – let alone an hour. Fresh air for me, please! 

I recently learned that it’s even possible to get scented filters for your vehicle! It may seem silly, but it certainly beats getting distracted by the little scented tree that hangs on your rearview mirror. 

How often should you replace your cabin air filter? 

Of course, like changing your oil and your air filter, it really depends. Many vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing your cabin air filter after approximately one year – or 20,000 km.   

Can you replace the air cabin filter yourself? 

If you’re so inclined, the cabin air filters are relatively easy to replace once you locate them. Have a look at your owner’s manual which should tell you where the filter is.  

When was the last time you replaced your cabin air filter?

- Julie S.


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there wont be any difference in pefmcrranoe . if you want a great air filter the best money can buy look at the amsoil Synthetic nanofibre filter , I am a technician and let me tell you the k and n filter gets plugged up easily on top of that its not a great filter it still allows fine dust through the filter i have seen this myself since i had a k and n filter on my car you are better off buying an OEM filter for your vehicle from your dealer

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