The cabin air filter is a feature found on most late-model vehicles and it cleans the air entering the passenger compartment through the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. It stops the pollen, dust, and other airborne things that can make a ride in the car a very unpleasant thing if you have allergies or other respiratory problems. So if the filter gets dirty or clogged, just pull it out, right? Only if you want all that junk moving through the tiny fins of the air conditioning coil. This can cause serious problems down the road. Just check out this A/C coil that was run without the cabin filter installed:
Some signs that you need a new cabin air filter include reduced air flow through your HVAC system (like when you crank up the fan and you get more noise than results) and persistant odors coming from the vents. Even if you don’t have these warnings, you should have the filter checked at least once a year, and you may be able to do that yourself.
Many cabin air filters are located behind the glove box and are easily accessible by freeing the glove box from its fasteners (every car is different- check the owners manual). Others may be located under the dashboard and aren’t as easy to reach, or could be under the hood where fresh air enters the HVAC system.
If a repair shop recommends you get a new cabin air filter, ask to see the current one. Depending on how long the filter has been in service, you might be shocked at what you see: leaves, twigs, bugs, soot and grime that covers the entire surface that comes in contact with incoming air. You’ll know it’s time for a new cabin air filter when you see it.
If you need to have your filters checked and replaced or have any other service issues with your vehicle, contact Mike in the Woody’s Service Department and he’ll get you back on the road in no time!