The Purpose of a Cabin Air Filter
The purpose of a car cabin air filter is fairly straightforward: it filters out the air that’s coming into the cabin of your vehicle. This may not seem like a big deal, as you often drive with the window open, and the air outside is fresh and clean, but reality may surprise you. The truth is that there are a lot of things on the road that are getting sucked up into the grill of your car and going through the air filter before they get to you--and you do not want to be inhaling them. These include pollutants from the environment and other vehicles, but also seemingly less harmful things such as dust, debris and pollen. Aside from these getting into your lungs, they also interfere with the proper operation of your heating and air conditioning systems. It’s important that you make your air filter a routine maintenance item at least once a year so that you and your car both breathe easier.
Filtering Out Harmful Pollutants
When you think about it, the air that’s being sucked into your vehicle is coming through the grill, which sits about as high off the ground as the exhaust pipe of the car in front of you. All of that pollution--carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals that leave a plume of black smoke--are being sucked into your vehicle and getting shuttled straight to your cabin for you to breathe. The cabin air filter’s job is to prevent the worst of that getting to you. The higher quality the air filter, the better its ability to filter out the particulate matter that can make you sick. There are not only toxic fumes in exhaust but there are carcinogens and chemicals that may affect you in the long term, in bad ways that you don’t want to have to think about.
If you drive in the city, where being stuck in a traffic jam is a common occurrence, then you need to be all the more aware of this. Everytime you’re stuck on a highway, you’re literally pumping these dangerous fumes right into the cabin to breathe. People need well-maintained cabin air filters for cars to make sure that their commute is one that is both safe for their lungs but also good for their peace of mind.
Filtering Out Dust, Debris, and Pollen
In addition to clearing out toxic chemicals, the car cabin air filter purpose is to block all the other things that are on the road that you’d rather not have inside the vehicle with you. These include the dust picked up from a dirt or gravel road (or even from some dirty asphalt roads). This dust can cause all sorts of lung problems, including cough, lung disease, emphysema, and more.
Further, there’s all the debris that’s getting sucked into the vehicle--the leaves and twigs and litter. They get safely trapped in the cabin air filter and don’t make it into the cabin. Finally, if you suffer from allergies you’ll be happy to know that a quality air filter will keep pollen out of your vehicle so while you’re traveling through the great outdoors, you’re not going to be breathing in pollen that can make you sick and lead to ongoing coughing, sneezing and congestion--and worse if you have an allergy. Fortunately, a cabin air filter cost is relatively low when compared to other automotive maintenance or repairs.
Keeping Your Heating and Air Conditioning Working Optimally
All of this air that comes into your cabin is the same air that gets pumped through the heater and A/C systems, and you don’t want those systems to be running slow and improperly. As your cabin air filter gets older, it can become clogged with pollution, dust, and debris, you’ll notice that your air systems are working less optimally. The heater doesn’t heat as well, the A/C doesn’t cool as well. You’re dealing with a system that is clogged and everything is less efficient.
This is why it’s recommended that your cabin air filter be changed every year, or every 12,000 miles. If you are always on dirt roads, or constantly stuck in bumper-to-bumper commutes, then you probably should get it replaced sooner. A cabin air filter that is new and fresh will be delivering fresh air to you throughout its lifespan. A cabin air filter that is being pushed to the limit will leave you feeling less healthy and make your vehicle less efficient.