Man in car sneezing

Hah-choo! It’s allergy season

How you can keep clean air inside your vehicle and breathe easy

The air you breathe is important. The air you breathe inside your vehicle is also important.

Just as you need to replace the filters for your furnace and air conditioning systems in your home, you need to change the cabin air filters in your vehicle.

Say what? There’s a cabin air filter in your vehicle, and it needs to be changed! Who knew?

Pollutants, dust, pollen, smog, mold spores, exhaust gases – oh my!

The cabin air filter filters this crud from entering through the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system into the cabin of your vehicle, keeping the air fresh and clean. So, yes, a clean cabin air filter can help with your allergies.

Because you are in an enclosed, compact space, the concentrations of these substances can be six to ten times greater than they are outside the vehicle.

Cabin filter
Clean or replace the cabin filter when necessary.

It traps the contaminants inside the filter and prevents them from entering the inside of your vehicle. It simply cleans the air you breathe.

Like any filter, it gets dirty and clogged with muck, which eventually reduces its effectiveness, and therefore, must be replaced. When the filter cannot perform properly, it forces your engine to work harder resulting in reduced fuel economy and overall under-performance of your vehicle. It also forces your air conditioning unit to work harder.

While there’s no warning light on your dashboard, here’s when you should check – and perhaps replace – your cabin air filter:

  • Peculiar smells
    The inside of your vehicle may smell stale, musty, moldy and dirty.
  • Noise
    When you crank up your fan, you get more noise – perhaps a whistling sound – than airflow.
    Reduced fuel efficiency
  • Maybe you aren’t getting good mileage.
    When your air conditioning has to work harder, your engine has to work harder, so a clean air filter can help with fuel efficiency.
  • Dirty air filter
    When you hold the filter up to light and you can’t see through it, your cabin air filter probably needs replacing.
Cabin filter behind glove box
Cabin filter partially pulled out.

When you get your oil changed, you should also check your cabin filter. [By the way, it’s located in the glove box]. Check your owner’s manual, but usually you should replace your filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, or at least once a year. If you live in a high pollen area, you may need to replace your filter more often.

And, if you are a ‘do-it-yourselfer,’ you can replace your cabin air filter. Check out this 2:35 minute video from O’Reilly Auto Parts on how to change a cabin air filter.

Clearing the Air

If you want to minimize poor air quality inside your vehicle, and help your allergies, be sure to keep your cabin air filter spic and span and clean. Your cabin air filter is yet another general maintenance practice that in the end will protect and extend the life of your vehicle.

Has your vehicle reached the end of its life expectancy and time for a new one? Let us put you in a clean, affordable, quality, used vehicle today. Check out our inventory at one of our 144 locations or go online at

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