Honestly, when was the last time you changed your cabin air filter? Have you ever changed it before?
While some aspects of auto maintenance like oil changes, wiper blades changes, and tyre rotations are intuitive, it's easy to forget about some other vehicle maintenance areas that are not visible in or on your car.
One item that often eludes the attention of owners is the cabin air filter. It's an easy, affordable thing to replace, but most people just forget about them because they just lie quietly behind the dashboard and do their job - but are they working as efficiently as they need to/ are they working at all?
What does a cabin air filter do, and how often should you have yours replaced?
The cabin air filter keeps the air clean in your cabin. It filters out dust and other air pollutants out of the air so you can breathe clean air while driving. While this doesn't affect the performance of the car, it will affect the driver/ passengers and is crucial for the cabin ventilation system.
Over time, the cabin air filter will inevitably get clogged, which will affect your vehicle's interior air quality, which means you will be breathing harmful contaminants in your car.
Also, having a clean cabin filter will maximise airflow, which can help your air conditioning system blow colder air. Since we live in Malaysia where it is mostly hot 24/7, we're pretty sure you want the best possible air conditioning system in your car, right?
The cabin air filter further filters hazardous exhaust fumes that enter the cabin, so it's pretty safe to say that it is crucial for vehicle maintenance.
How often should you change your cabin air filter?
The cabin air filter usually sits behind the glovebox and is relatively easy to replace, and you can probably do it yourself. Most cabin air filters should be replaced somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 kilometres, and signs like reduced air conditioning airflow, lingering unpleasant odours, and increased dust settling in your cabin are usually telltale signs that the filter is due for a change as it is not properly doing its job.
How do you replace your cabin air filter?
The easiest route is obviously to get a mechanic to do it, but to be honest, it's really an easy job you can do at home once you have the replacement part, which is easily attainable online. If you have never done it before and do not know how to do it, here are some tips.
- Take a look at your owner's manual, as in most cases, it will help you locate where the air filter is for your specific vehicle and will explain how to replace them. This will also determine how difficult or easy it is to replace the cabin air filter.
- The cabin air filter should be easily accessible if it is behind the glove box or under the hood. However, if it is under the dashboard, this could present more of a challenge.
- Replace the old air filter with a new clean one once you know how to do it.
- There are plenty of online tutorial videos for specific car models, so that can further guide you.
While this might sound trivial, changing a cabin air filter will make a big difference that you will instantly notice. The smell should be better, and your air-conditioning/ climate control should be cooler, but most important of all, the air you breathe in will be cleaner.