Routine vehicle maintenance is the key to keeping your car or truck running smoothly. And there are certain things to do every year just to keep all your systems in tip top shape. Aside from the typical air and oil filter changes, you should also replace your cabin air filter. It is a very critical part of every cars HVAC system that often gets overlooked. But if you are noticing that the air coming from your vents isn't fresh anymore, or perhaps you feel congested and have been sneezing when the heat is on, then it's likely your fresh air filter is full of particulates and needs to be changed. This can lead to annoying allergens like dust, pollen, and dander finding their way into the interior of your car or truck. Additionally, your A/C evaporator can develop a little bit of mold that could penetrate a dirty filter, along with exhaust particles from other vehicles around you. Long term exposure to these antigens will provoke an auto-immune response from your body and trick you into thinking you are sick when you really are not. All the while, you just needed a new cabin air filter. Why delay?
It was quite some time after the advent of climate control that car makers found a way to filter the air coming in through the vents. Intake air filters had been used for decades before the 80's and 90's, but it wasn't until then that the cabin air filter began being used. It is typically made of a paper element, with the option for a charcoal infused element for extra odor elimination. In most instances, you will find access to the cabin air filter in the back of your glove box compartment. This makes it very easily replaceable. Lastly, you will usually find that the cost of a fresh air filter is around $20. If you install it yourself, this will be a significant savings over taking your car or truck to a mechanic or dealership to do it.
Speaking of installing a cabin air filter yourself, it is a very simple procedure if you can access it from your glove box. In rare instances (often times in European luxury cars) the filter box may be on the other side of the firewall. This doesn't mean that replacing it requires a professional; just that it may pose a few challenges that standard fresh air filters do not. First, consult your vehicle's service manual. This will include all the instruction you need to do the job yourself. You will usually have to remove your glove compartment door, squeeze the tabs that hold the cabin air filter element in place, and pull it out. This will expose the HVAC blower motor as well, and you can take this time to brush the blower wheel to get all the dust off. Then replace your old filter with the new one, and you are done.
Since the cabin air filter is going to be replaced every year or so, it is wise to buy more than one at a time - especially since they are not very expensive. It is also this way with most maintenance items, and beware of anyone trying to charge too much. At Car Parts Discount, we carry a variety of fresh air filters from top manufacturers in the filter market. All the same brands you find in a parts store you will find here, and at a much lower price. So if you think it's time to change that cabin air filter in your car, don't delay any longer. Get a few today.