Although you may not think about replacing your cabin air filter regularly, professionals recommend changing it every 12,000 miles. If you’re not familiar with the importance of a clean cabin air filter, you should be. It keeps the air free from soot, exhaust gases and odors. However, if not replaced on a regular basis, it could potentially lead to the accumulation of dirt, disturb the airflow and cause problems in cooling and heating the air. Even more concerning, it can eventually cause health problems for people riding in the car, especially children and elderly individuals.
Your first step is to verify whether or not your vehicle has a cabin air filter. Most cars manufactured after 2001 will have them. Typically, there is only one air filter and it’s located either beneath the dashboard or behind the glove box. Fortunately, it doesn’t require any special tools to complete the replacement, but if your filter is one that’s located under the hood, you may have to remove the wiper blades, cowl vent louver housing and other items, such as the washer bottle.
Once you’re able to locate your filter, it’s best if you take it with you when you purchase a new one. This way you’re assured that the replacement is correct. Before installing the new filter, you should clean the chamber by using a vacuum then wiping it with a damp cloth. It’s also crucial that the filter is installed properly. If not, there can be danger of “bypass” which allows unfiltered air into the cabin.
Replacing a cabin air filter isn’t particularly challenging, however use caution when performing any do it yourself automotive maintenance.