South Florida's Premier European Auto Repair, Performance & Race Facility Since 1978
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Foreign Affairs Motorsport
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AC Cabin Filters Maintenance Guide

AC Cabin Filters Maintenance

Reading Time: 3 minutes

AC cabin filters are an essential but often overlooked feature found in most modern vehicles. The filter takes the air that comes through the vehicle’s ventilation system and cleans it so the air pumped through the vents is free of debris such as pollen and dust. Because the AC cabin filter performs such an important role, you should be familiar with proper maintenance, here is a short, comprehensive guide.

When To Replace AC Cabin Filter

How often you replace your vehicle’s AC cabin filter will vary depending on the make and model. Generally, replacement is recommended between every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, or once a year. Air quality also plays a role in filter maintenance. For example, if you live in areas with a lot of smog or dust, your filter may need scheduled vehicle maintenance more often. While this is a pretty fair rule of thumb, always check your manual to find out the specifics for your vehicle.

Signs To Replace AC Cabin Filter

Often overlooked due to its low replacement rate and small size, many do not realize their AC cabin filter may need maintenance until there are visible signs. These include:

  • Reduced Air Flow

    Air flow in your vehicle may become less stable or cold due to the filter becoming dirty and blocked with dust, pollen, smog, and other pollutants and allergens.

  • Bad Odors

    If you find that a musty smell is coming through your vents when you turn on the AC, it may be due to the build-up of dirt and pollutants.

Why Change The AC Cabin Filter?

Besides keeping your vehicle in peak condition, other reason why you should change your filter include:

  • Bothersome Smells

    Any length of car ride can become an unbearable one if the driver and passengers are continually being blasted in the face with odors.

  • Air Quality

    If pollutants block the filter, that means we are more likely to breathe in all of the dust and allergens the filter is supposed to prevent. This can also lead to the spread of mold and bacteria due to the filter’s moistness.

  • Cooling Performance

    Summer months often call for constant AC use, meaning the amount of debris filtered is likely to increase. When the filter becomes blocked, the AC will not work as well.

  • Defrost Performance

    Much like cooling performance, in the cooler climates, a dirty filter will decrease the power of your defrost, taking it longer to clear your windshield.

How to Replace AC Cabin Filter

Like with most automobile parts, it is possible to replace yourself, but that doesn’t mean you should. One of the main reasons you should trust a professional to replace your filter is that it can be challenging to get to due to its placement. Most AC cabin filters are located either behind the glovebox or under the dashboard. This requires the removal of the glovebox from the rest of the car, which many vehicle owners may not know how to accurately complete.

Another reason to trust a professional is that they will be able to locate the exact size of filter your make and model needs considering they are not universal. Using the wrong size filter can result in the same issues a clogged filter brings, or even worse – malfunction!

AC Vent Service

At Foreign Affairs Motorsport we offer an AC cleaning vent service. This is a great way of eliminating bad odors caused by dirty cabin filters. It is also excellent for preventing mold and mildew buildup in your vents and filters – something a humid Florida climate is perfect for creating!

Proper AC cabin filter maintenance will not only keep you riding comfortably but also prevent future problems for you and your car. If you think your car is due for a filter replacement or you have questions on how often you should change yours, contact us at Foreign Affairs Motorsport, South Florida’s Premier German Auto Repair, Performance & Race Facility Since 1978, today!


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