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How Often Should You Change Your Cabin Air Filter?

An air filter is a crucial component of a car’s engine system, responsible for ensuring that clean air is supplied to the engine for combustion. A dirty or clogged air filter can lead to reduced engine performance, increased fuel consumption, and can even cause damage to other parts of the engine.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about your car’s air filter, including its function, signs of a dirty air filter, and the importance of regular maintenance. Whether you’re a seasoned car enthusiast or a new driver, this guide will help you keep your car’s air filter in top condition.

How Often Should You Change Your Cabin Air Filter?

The cabin air filter, a feature found on most late-model vehicles, cleans the air that comes into the interior through the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. It catches dust, pollen and other airborne material that can make riding in a car unpleasant, particularly if you have allergies or other respiratory problems.

Recommendations on when it should be replaced vary by manufacturer — some say every 19,000 or 24,000 kilometres, others longer — and how often can depend on how much you drive and where. Check the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual. If you drive in heavy traffic in an urban area that has poor air quality, you could need to replace the filter annually or even more often. However, that also could be true in a desert climate where there is a lot of dust.

Some signs that you need a new cabin air filter are reduced air flow through your HVAC system, such as when you crank up the fan too high and you get more noise than results. Another is persistent bad odors. 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 (instructions should be in the owner’s manual). Others are located under the dashboard and may not be easy to reach, or under the hood where fresh air enters the HVAC system.

If a dealership service department or 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, insects, soot and grime that literally cover the entire surface that comes in contact with incoming air. You’ll know it’s time for a new cabin air filter.

Benefits of Changing Your Air Filter

Car engines need an equal amount of fuel and clean air in order to run effectively and smoothly. Air filters are installed to make sure that your engine receives only the cleanest air and prevents damage from small dirt.

Here are at least 4 benefits of changing your air filter regularly:

      1. Increased Fuel Effectiveness

This is one of the biggest reasons to change your air filter regularly. The research indicates that replacing a dirty air filter increases fuel mileage on older, carbureted cars by as much as 14 percent if the filter is so dirty it affects driveability. Other studies claim a 10 percent rise in gas mileage and up to 15¢ per gallon fuel savings.

       2. Reduced Emissions

Clogged air filters can decrease airflow to the engine, and as a result, affect the emission control systems of the car causing an incorrect air-fuel mixture. It can also increase engine deposits caused by having too rich of a fuel mixture. Increased airflow to the engine allows it to operate properly reducing fuel consumption and reducing emissions.

        3. Prolongs Engine Life

Changing the air filter regularly helps lengthen engine life because the air filter is designed to trap damaging dirt and debris that can damage internal engine parts such as the cylinders and pistons. Engine damage can happen from particles as small as a grain of salt and result in costly car repairs.

       4. Easy to Track

Air filters should be changed approximately every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, more often in dusty driving conditions. The owner’s yearly maintenance schedule will indicate how often the air filter should be replaced. A dirty air filter might appear clean but should still be replaced at the recommended intervals.

How to Change Your Air Filter

Changing your air filter is a simple and straightforward process. First, locate the air filter box, which is usually located near the engine or in the air intake system. Then, release the clips or clamps holding the air filter in place and remove the old air filter. Insert the new air filter into the air filter box, making sure it’s securely in place.

In conclusion, the air filter in your car is an essential component that plays a critical role in ensuring the proper functioning of your engine. By understanding when and how to change your air filter, you can extend the life of your engine, improve its performance, and save money on fuel. So, be sure to keep track of your air filter change intervals and schedule a replacement as needed to keep your car running smoothly.

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Frequently Asked Questions+-

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