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What is a cabin air filter?

What is a cabin air filter?

As motorists travel along roadways, the air in their cabs is refreshed by air conditioning and ventilation systems that draw outside air into the car.

Whether you have air conditioning or not, your car is bound to have a cabin air filter. Often overlooked by drivers, they are an important element in cleaning the air you breathe in your car. Parts like cabin air filters are installed in vehicles to trap impurities and germs outside the cabin. What exactly does a cabin air filter do? Find out in our article.

What is a cabin air filter for?

The cabin air filter is one of the filters in your car. It is used to trap particles that may be in the outside air before it is sent to your vehicle's air conditioning and cabin.

Specifically, the cabin air filter absorbs:

  • Vehicle exhaust gases;
  • Allergenic particles such as dust, pollen, and germs;
  • Pollutant particles.

As you can see, a cabin air filter is essential if you want to breathe quality air in your car. There are different types of filters:

  • The basic pollen filter protects against pollen and dust.
  • Activated charcoal filters protect against pollen, particles and unpleasant odors.
  • The polyphenol filter protects against all allergens and has the same benefits as the pollen and charcoal filters. It's important to check the condition of this filter regularly.

The cabin air filter is designed to trap these particles. It's sometimes referred to as a pollen filter, but certain types of cabin air filters are capable of trapping many other particles as well. In this way, cabin air filters help maintain air quality and the health of vehicle occupants.

What's the difference between cabin air filters and air filters?

Make no mistake, cabin air filters and air filters are very different. They don't do the same thing, they don't need the same replacement frequency, and they don't go in the same place.

Cabin air filters:

Filters outside air to clean the air you breathe inside the cabin.

Should be replaced approximately every 15,000 km (depending on driving conditions, the filter will become clogged more quickly if you drive in heavily polluted areas or on dusty roads).

Located on the driver's or passenger's side, under the glove box, under the hood, level with the windshield wipers.

Air Filter :

Filters the air circulating in the engine to protect it from dust that could damage it.

Should be replaced every 20,000 km, at each oil change.

Located under the hood next to the engine, often in a black box.

How do you know if your cabin air filter is dirty?

On average, cabin air filters should be changed every year or 15,000 km. If you're used to driving in the city, where the air is often more polluted, plan to change it every 6 to 8 months or every 10,000 kilometers.

There are certain signs that you may need to replace your cabin air filter, such as

  • Your ventilation system isn't working as well;
  • Your windshield defroster is less effective;
  • Your air conditioner is not blowing enough cool air;
  • You smell a bad odor: Between the humidity and the confinement of the outside air, bacteria can develop in the cabin air filter, leading to bad odors.

Why change the cabin air filter?

Just like all the other filters in your car, it's important to change your cabin air filter regularly. Over time, the cabin air filter becomes clogged. By trapping particles in the air, it becomes dirty and unable to do its job properly.

This can lead to unpleasant smells in the cabin, but a clogged cabin air filter can also partially block the passage of outside air. This can make it difficult to defog the windshield or use the air conditioning and heating.

If the cabin air filter is completely blocked, you risk damaging the ventilation system. It can be damaged and the repair bill will be high.

How much does a cabin air filter cost?

Changing a cabin air filter is not an expensive operation. It's not very complex or labor intensive, and the price of the cabin air filter itself is not very high.

On average, you should expect to pay between $15 and $20 for a new cabin air filter, depending on the type of filter (simple, activated carbon, or polyphenol). For a new cabin air filter in a garage, expect to pay between $20 and $30.

Designed to purify the air in your car, the cabin air filter must be associated with a healthy air conditioning system, free of bacteria and mold. It also needs to be changed regularly to ensure that the air inside your car is not contaminated.

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