Spring – a.k.a. allergy season
You love everything about spring…well, almost everything. You love the warmer temperatures, spending time outside and hearing the birds chirp, but can do without the allergy-inducing pollen that invades the air.
If you suffer from allergies, you go through this love-hate relationship with spring every year. While you can’t magically get rid of all the pollen in the air, you can ensure the air inside your car is clean and fresh with a new cabin air filter.
What’s a cabin air filter?
You are probably aware that your vehicle’s engine has an air filter, but did you know that your car’s HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) system may also have one? Commonly called a cabin air filter, it performs the same duties for your HVAC system as the engine air filter does for your car’s engine.
The cabin air filter is a small pleated filter made of multi-fiber paper cotton or other engineered material. Before entering the passenger compartment, outside air is directed through this filter to trap the contaminants inside the filter and prevent them from entering the inside of your vehicle.
How does a cabin air filter work?
Clean air is essential to your vehicle running properly; your car’s engine air filter ensures that clean air reaches the engine. In the same way, your car’s ventilation system counts on the cabin air filter to keep a steady stream of clean air flowing.
The cabin air filter keeps dust, dirt, pollen, bacteria and exhaust gases from entering the HVAC system of your car. It also prevents bugs, leaves and other debris from clogging up the system. Vital to clean air inside the car, the cabin air filter keeps the air inside the car fresh so you and your passengers can breathe easy – something you’ll appreciate all year long but especially during allergy season.
How do I know if my cabin air filter needs changing?
While there is no warning light that comes on when your cabin air filter needs changing, there are some signs that you may notice:
Reduced air circulation inside your passenger compartment
Diminished heating and air conditioning performance
Musty odor in the cabin of the vehicle
Cabin air intake ducting may begin to make an unusual whistling sound
If you observe one or more of these signs, it is likely that the time has come to change it. You can either do the job yourself or have your trusted mechanic switch it out for you.
How often should I change my cabin air filter?
It is recommended that you change your cabin air filter annually or every 12,000 miles. If you find yourself driving in heavily polluted areas or travelling on dirt roads, you should change the cabin air filter every 5,000 miles. Allergy sufferers may want to consider changing it more often to ensure air quality and to reduce their allergy symptoms.
What can happen if I don’t change my cabin air filter?
If you don’t change your cabin air filter, the filter will become more clogged with dirt and debris and the efficiency of the filter and your car’s HVAC system will be compromised. The air volume into your passenger compartment will be continually reduced which will lead to the issue of foul odors inside your car. The simple act of changing your cabin air filter will dramatically improve the air quality in your vehicle.
What else can I do to allergy-proof my car?
There are some other steps you can take to ensure that you keep pollen and other allergens out of your vehicle. Here are some easy things you can do:
Vacuum seats and carpeted floor mats to remove dust mites
Clean spills quickly to prevent mold from developing
Wipe down steering wheel, dashboard, console and door panels
Ensure that windows and doors seal properly – check weather stripping
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