Regular Maintenance: Cabin Air Filter

What it Does

The cabin air filter cleans the air used by your air conditioning system. This affects the quality of the air that you breathe, and it also helps to prevent debris from contacting or collecting on the air conditioning evaporator.

Why This Matters

We want you to be healthy. Good cabin filters help to filter out pollutants from the air that you breathe inside the vehicle.

If debris collects on the air conditioning evaporator, this can result in the formation of acidic sludge that eats away at the evaporator metal, thus causing leakage of a/c refrigerant gas (“freon”). On many vehicles, evaporator replacement is a costly procedure due to its location behind the dashboard.

Possible Problems

  1. Anything that allows debris or polluted air to move around the cabin air filter rather than through it. This can include a damaged or incorrectly installed filter. It can also include a poorly designed or manufactured filter.
  2. Lack of efficiency: These filters vary in quality. A lower efficiency filter will allow more debris and/or pollutants to pass through it.
  3. Air Bypass: Cabin air filters typically are a low tension or loose fit; thus they are already prone to allowing air bypass to begin with. A plugged filter will almost certainly allow air bypass and the resulting movement of debris and pollutants around the filter.
  4. Restricted air conditioning or heating airflow: In severe cases, plugged filters can restrict the volume of air that blows through the air conditioning vents.

Recommended Parts Brands

  • Manufacturer Genuine/Factory Grade
  • Purolator PureOne

Repair Notes

Removal is simple for many of these filters. However, some designs require glovebox removal for access or removal of other dashboard area components. Occasionally, debris should be blown out or vacuumed from the filter housing.