Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Cabin Air Filter Last?

cabin air filter

A cabin air filter helps clean the air in the passenger compartment as it enters the vehicle via the heating, air conditioning, and ventilation system. The filter cleans the air of dust, pollen, smoke, and other pollutants before it enters your vehicle.

Found on many late-model vehicles, the cabin air filter is most commonly located around the glove compartment area, including directly behind the glove compartment with access to the filter either through or via the removal of the glove compartment. Some other areas for the cabin air filter include the back section of the outside air intake, above the blower, or between the blower and the HVAC case. If you are unsure, have a mechanic check where the cabin air filter is located in your vehicle before replacing it.

When to replace the cabin air filter

Knowing when to replace the filter can present a tricky situation. You don't want to change it out too soon and waste money, yet you do not want to wait until the filter becomes ineffective. Recommendations say you should replace the cabin air filter in your vehicle every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, and sometimes longer. Check your owner's manual to find out the manufacturer's maintenance schedule and when to change out your car air filter.

A big factor when determining the best time to replace the filter depends on how often you drive the vehicle, the air quality you drive in, and whether you drive in heavy traffic or not. The longer a vehicle air filter is used, the less it filters out all of the dust, pollen, and other outside contaminants because it becomes clogged with use. Eventually, the air filter becomes more and more ineffective, interfering with the air flow to the ventilation system. At this point you should have it checked by a mechanic to see if you need to have it replaced.

Signs that you need to replace the cabin air filter

While driving, you should keep in mind certain signs that you need to have the cabin air filter changed by a mechanic. Some common signs that a cabin air filter needs changing include:

  • A reduction in air flow to the HVAC system as the filter material becomes clogged
  • Increased noise from the fan as it works harder to deliver fresh air through the dirty filter
  • A bad odor when you turn on the air in your vehicle

The best time to check the cabin air filter

One suggestion for the best time to check the condition of the cabin air filter and see if it needs replacement is before winter sets in. The reason behind this is that your vehicle has worked hard at cleaning the air entering your vehicle during the spring, summer, and fall. At this point of the year, the filter has seen the worst of the pollen. Changing it out now allows you to prepare for the next year's warm weather. When changing out the filter in your car, ask the mechanic what is the best cabin air filter for your specific vehicle.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...


Related questions

Q: A/C blows hot air - completely stumped after a number of repairs...

It sounds like you did not replace the expansion valve when you replaced the compressor and accumulator. The condenser, evaporator should be flushed out also. You should remove and replace the expansion valve filter since it is clogged causing the...

Q: Air conditioner not working

The radiator on these vehicles are known to spring leaks at the tanks on the radiator. The radiator needs to be replaced. The a/c would need to be checked to see if the problem was related to the radiator leaking...

Q: Air conditioning refrigerant

The brand of refrigerant doesn't matter much, since they all meet the same standards. What matters is getting the correct type. Your vehicle takes R-134A, and that is all that can and should be used. Make sure when putting it...