Nearly 80 percent of the new domestic and import vehicles are equipped with a device that helps to keep the air clean in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
This device is called the cabin air filter and it should be replaced every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.
The cabin air filter helps trap pollen, bacteria, dust and exhaust gases that may find their way into a vehicle’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
The filter also helps to prevent leaves, bugs and other debris from entering the passenger compartment through the ventilation system.
A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can cause musty odors in the vehicle and cause contaminants to become so concentrated that passengers actually breathe in more fumes and particles when riding in the car compared to walking down the street.
A restricted cabin air filter can also impair airflow in the HVAC system, possibly causing interior heating and cooling problems. Over time, the heater and air conditioner may also become damaged by corrosion.
Most filters are accessible through an access panel in the HVAC housing, which is usually located under the hood or in the interior of the car.
Check your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle is equipped with this device.
An automotive service technician can help locate the cabin filter and replace it.