Cabin Air Filter: When Should It Be Replaced

Cabin Air Filter: When Should It Be Replaced


   – How the cabin filter works

   – Cabin air filter: when should it be replaced?

Not to be confused with the engine air filter, the cabin air filter cleans the outside air drawn in by the vehicle’s ventilation system.

How does it work, and when should it be replaced? We will tell you everything in this article.

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How the cabin air filter works

Cabin Air Filter: When Should It Be Replaced

A vehicle is constantly operating in a polluted or allergen-rich environment. This is especially true in the city, where the density of vehicles and the low air renewal rate do not allow for the rapid evacuation of heavy gases and polluting compounds:

   – Contrary to popular belief, the air inside a car is much more polluted than the outside air to which pedestrians and cyclists are subjected. The reason is simple: the passenger compartment is a confined environment where the air intake is located at the engine block, which is lower and closer to the exhaust pipes.

   – In addition, the air inside the cabin is slowly renewed, even more so if the recirculation function is permanently engaged.

   – For all these reasons, vehicles have been equipped with a cabin filter to clean the outside air and make it as clean as possible before it is injected into the passenger compartment. It has been mandatory since 2011 on new models but has been installed as standard since 2005.

The cabin filter is placed on the ventilation circuit between the outside air intake and the inside emission vents for optimal efficiency. It has several names:

   – Cabin filter;

   – Cabin air filter;

   – Pollen filter.

All three terms refer to the same filter, but it should not be confused with the engine air filter – often referred to simply as the “air filter” – which cleans the outside air destined for the engine for combustion with fuel.

There are several technologies for cabin air filters. They can be installed on any type of vehicle (even if it was initially equipped with a less sophisticated model) provided that the size standards are respected:

   – The simple filter protects against large particles such as pollen but does not offer the best protection against pollution and hardly any against odours.

   – The activated carbon filter offers a much better odour and pollution protection (against fine particles, among others). The price can increase by 10 to 50% compared to a simple filter.

   – The anti-allergen filter is based on a layer of polyphenols on top of a layer of activated carbon to deactivate allergens and pollution. Popular for its global action, it generates an extra cost of $10 to $15 compared to a simple cabin filter.

Cabin filter: when to replace it?

Over time, the filter will see the pollutants and dust it has intercepted accumulate on its surface. It will, therefore, gradually lose its filtering efficiency and get germs and bacteria.

Be careful; a cabin filter is not washable and must be changed for your good health:

   – at best every year or every 20,000 km;

   – at most every 80,000 km or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations;

   – or even earlier if a visual inspection indicates obvious clogging (more likely to happen in the city than in the countryside);

   – or if the ventilation system gives off a strong and unusual smell (of dirt or pollutants).

Spray the cabin filter compartment with anti-bacterial spray while it is being changed to ensure it is immaculate.

Now you know how your cabin air filter works and when it should be replaced. Remember to leave a few words in the comments below.

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