Symptoms of a Bad or Failing 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.


Next Step

Schedule Heating AC Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Heating AC Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

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

Recent Heating AC Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(68)

Rating Summary
62
4
0
1
1
62
4
0
1
1

Ben

41 years of experience
1410 reviews
Ben
41 years of experience
Volkswagen Beetle L5-2.5L - Heating AC - Houston, Texas
i am well satisfied with Mr Smith working on my car(s). He replaced the Jaguar fuel pump like an expert, and then he diagnosed the VW bug ac compressor and fixed it on the spot. I would recommend him to anyone with a car issue
Nissan Altima - Heating AC - Houston, Texas
Incredibly nice and took the time to show me the problem, including comparison pictures between my unit and what a new unit should look like.

Peter

43 years of experience
1321 reviews
Peter
43 years of experience
Saab 9-3 L4-2.0L Turbo - Heating AC - Phoenix, Arizona
He knows what he's doing. Very polite and explained everything. I would no doubt use him again. I highly recommend him.
Mazda Miata - Heating AC - Peoria, Arizona
We are so thrilled to have found Peter as our new mechanic. He is very thorough and knowledgeable. He is also friendly, professional, and extremely honest. He explained to us exactly what services were needed on our vehicle to repair the air conditioner and provided us with an written estimate of the cost. He literally saved us thousands of dollars in repair costs. A local major competitor quoted us a repair cost of a minimum of $1,400 and said that the cost would go up to $2,400 if they discovered an additional part was required. Peter charged us only $202, plus performed the work at our home. The air conditioner in our 2004 Mazda Miata has honestly never worked so great--it always blew out warm air. We just assumed it was how that particular car was manufactured. We would highly recommend Peter to anyone who is in need of an experienced and honest mechanic.

Pedro

31 years of experience
78 reviews
Pedro
31 years of experience
Chrysler PT Cruiser L4-2.4L - Heating AC - Portage, Indiana
Pedro was wonderful! He was early first and foremost. He was very professional and he explained things to me. He worked quickly and was very thorough. Very happy with his service.

Manuel

32 years of experience
580 reviews
Manuel
32 years of experience
Ford Taurus V6-3.0L - Heating AC - Long Beach, California
Good guy. Knows his stuff. Knowledgeable and straightforward with diagnostics and repair costs. I’d love to work with him again! Thank you Manuel!

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

Related articles

P0533 OBD-II Trouble Code: A/C Refrigerant Pressure Sensor Circuit High Input
P0533 means the A/C refrigerant pressure is too high to safely function often due to inoperative cooling fans or too little or too much refrigerant.
How to Replace an Air Conditioner Receiver Drier
The AC receiver/drier is stores and dries refrigerant. This component should be replaced if too much water enters the system or if leaks are found.
How to Replace a Car Air Conditioning (AC) Low Pressure Hose
Car air conditioning (AC) low pressure hoses carry refrigerant back into the compressor to keep providing cold air in a closed loop system.

Related questions

AC only blows hot air
Hello. We will be happy to assist! To diagnose an AC concern, I first suggest checking the refrigerant levels as it is the most vital component to the health of the AC system. Then, a technician should attempt directly switching...
Transmission oil cooler changing, does it involve a/c?
The automatic transmission/power steering cooler is mounted in front of the A/C condenser. Only the front grill needs to be removed and the A/C should not need to be disturbed. Have another certified mechanic, like one from YourMechanic, verify the...
I bought a used vw beetle 2001. diag test came up with codes t0300 t0303 t0172 t0768 mechanic said he would charge 900.00 for the
Each of these codes are for different problems, and would need to be diagnosed. If you are low on coolant, then your misfire may be due to a blown head gasket and the first three codes. The last code, P0768...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com