Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Symptoms of a Bad or Failing AC Air Filter

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing AC Air Filter

AC air filter

The AC filter, also known as the cabin air filter, is an air filter whose purpose is to remove contaminants from the air that is ventilated through the vehicle's air conditioning system. They serve to keep the cabin as comfortable as possible for the passengers by removing pollutants such as dust, dirt, and allergens. Similar to an engine air filter, they also become dirty and clogged with use and need to be replaced periodically. When a cabin air filter has become excessively dirty and needs to be replaced, it will usually display a few signs that it is time.

1. Reduced airflow from the AC vents

One of the most common symptoms indicating that a cabin filter is in need of replacement is reduced airflow. Reduced airflow will appear in the form of less air being expelled from the AC system's vents. When the filter is dirty or clogged, less air is able to pass through and the air that is able to pass through requires more effort than normal. Not only will this cause the AC system to work less efficiently, it will also cause the engine to run less efficiently.

2. Reduced power output from the engine

If the cabin air filter is clogged, an additional strain is placed on the AC blower motor. This additional strain will not only cause the blower motor to work harder and blow less air than it is designed to, it will also place an additional strain on the engine due to the higher demand of electricity. In more severe cases the additional strain will result in a noticeable reduction of power when the AC is turned on.

3. Increased dust and allergens in the cabin

Another sign that the cabin air filter needs to be replaced is that you may notice an increased amount of dust and possibly allergens in the cabin, if you are allergic. When a filter is clogged, it is no longer able to filter air efficiently, and the air that does pass through may not be adequately filtered. This may also be a potential sign that the AC filter may have been damaged or torn somehow, and is allowing unfiltered air to enter the cabin.

The AC filter is a simple, but important part of the AC system. Making sure it is replaced when necessary will go a long way in maintaining the comfort and efficiency of your vehicle's AC system. If you suspect that your cabin filter may need to be replaced, this is something that any professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, should be able to assist you with both quickly and easily.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
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

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...
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...


Related questions

Q: Strange rattling/tapping noise at low rpm when accelerating lightly

Hi...the noise can be diagnosed by taking all the belt driven accessories out of the picture by momentarily running the engine without the serpentine belt. If the noise remains, then the search is focused on internal engine parts. If the...

Q: heater stopped blowing hot, then the temperature gauge when hot and then there was steam and liquid everywhere.

What you are describing could be due to a sudden coolant leak (broken hose, for instance) that caused overheating or the overheating occurred first and that itself caused a hose to burst or the radiator pressure cap to open to...

Q: A/C-can the air compressor clutch be changed independent from the air compressor

If just the compressor clutch is bad you can replace it by itself. I know this compressor and clutch have a listed price around $1000, and just the clutch alone is around $600. This is for the part only. The...