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

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...


Related questions

Q: I've replaced both of my temperature sensor and my car still has the message ac off due to high engine temp what else can I do?

Claimed by Kevin Gainer

Q: Car overheating

You still could have a blown head gasket. Sometimes the compression blows into the radiator. A mechanic can check to see if pressure is pushed into the radiator from the engine having a blown head gasket or a cracked head....

Q: Air conditioning blowing mildly cold air on the coldest setting, turned off/on again, now blowing cold air, should it be checked?

If you are getting ready for a long trip and suspect the cooling fan may be not coming on for the radiator and a/c then you should have the a/c and cooling system performanced checked before trip. Nothing worse than...