Pollution, dust and pollen: your car’s cabin air filter helps keep you healthy by getting rid of these irritants, but to do its job properly, it must be perfectly clean. 

What does the cabin filter do?

To be effective, a cabin air filter must be perfectly clean.A few years ago, automakers began equipping their vehicles with cabin air filters. The main functions of these devices are to filter air and trap undesirable particles coming from outside.

As spring and summer approach, in Quebec and elsewhere, allergies become more prevalent, including pollen-related conditions. If you typically drive in the city, in dense traffic, pollutant concentrations can be up to six times higher inside your car than out.

A cabin air filter in good condition helps reduce those concentrations of atmospheric pollutants and pollen. It also ensures proper operation of the vehicle’s heating and air conditioning systems and, in some cases, minimizes odours.

There are two particular situations that require closer monitoring of your air filter’s condition:

  1. If you use your vehicle mostly in large cities; and
  2. If you drive often on dusty roads.

In fact, when driving on a dusty road, it’s a good idea to select the “air recirculation” option on your vehicle’s heater / air conditioner controls. This way, you’ll avoid needlessly dirtying the cabin air filter. 

When does it need replacing, and how much does this cost?

It’s important to have the cabin filter checked and replaced if necessary at the intervals recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. A replacement typically costs between $30 and $60.

Where is it?

This cabin filter, not to be confused with the engine air filter, is generally found under the hood at the base of the windshield or inside the cabin. On some vehicles, the windshield wipers and their guard must be removed to get at the filter. Other cars feature a special access door under the dashboard, making it easy to remove the filter and put in a new one.

Talk to your garage mechanic about having your vehicle’s cabin filter replaced at the time of your next oil change.