The AC air filter in your car (also known as the cabin filter) works to deliver clean, cool air to you and your passengers. It is usually made of cotton or paper, located under the hood or behind the glove compartment, and it prevents pollen, smog, dust and mold from entering the cabin. It can even catch debris like rodent droppings. Most people hardly ever think of their AC air filter – if they even know it exists – until problems occur. Fortunately, they seldom do, unless you use your AC every day or you tend to drive a lot in areas where dust and other debris are common.
Usually, you can expect to get at least 60,000 miles out of your AC filter. If it does become clogged, and needs to be replaced, it’s not something you should neglect. This is because your car’s engine delivers the power to your AC components, and if the filter is clogged, the system demands more power from the engine, and takes power away from other components like the alternator and the drive train.
Signs that your AC air filter needs to be replaced include:
- Reduced horsepower
- Not enough cool air coming into the cabin
- Bad smell due to dust and other pollutants
If you notice any of these symptoms, your AC air filter may need to be replaced. You can have a certified mechanic diagnose problems with your air conditioning, and if necessary, replace your AC filter so that you and your passengers can enjoy cool, contaminant-free air.