Most homeowners understand their home air conditioner has a filter requiring frequent replacement. Even if you rent, your landlord or maintenance crew should come by regularly to change this important component. Your air filter is essential to keeping the air flowing from the AC system clean and breathable.
Did you know your car has an air filter too? In fact, most cars have two distinct air filters! The cabin air filter cleans the air you breathe and protects your AC and heating systems while the engine air intake filter guards your engine against flying debris.
To properly maintain these two crucial elements, you must first understand their differences and functions.
Engine Air Intake Filter
Your engine air intake filter sits behind your front bumper, sucking in air and feeding the engine clean oxygen. As air flows past the filter, insect bits, tree sap, dirt particles and other debris are eliminated. To properly ignite the engine, your fuel tank releases a certain amount of gas, which mixes with this clean oxygen.
The fuel-air mix is then sparked, creating power in the engine. As the engine filter cleans out airborne waste, the pollutants build up and eventually restrict airflow. A clogged air filter could decrease fuel economy and hinder the vehicle’s acceleration power.
However, it takes thousands of miles for a filter to accumulate this much dirt. Some auto shops suggest changing the filter with every oil change. However, depending on driving conditions, the life may vary. For example, frequent drives down a dusty country road could necessitate a filter change every 3,000 miles.
On the other hand, driving on highways and clean city roads every day will help your filter last 10,000 miles or more. Even something as seemingly inconsequential as driving past sunset during the summer could result in extra bugs trapped in the filter. The bottom line: the filter should be checked with every oil change, but probably won’t need to be replaced every time.
A few signs your car needs an engine air intake filter replacement:
- It’s been 3,000-10,000 miles since your last filter inspection
- You frequently drive down dusty rural roads or streets with heavy construction
- You’ve noticed a loss in engine power
- You experience hesitation during acceleration
You may not notice any symptoms of a compromised engine air filter and your filter probably doesn’t need to be replaced often. But, for the best vehicle performance, the safe choice is still to let our specialists check the filter and suggest a replacement as needed.
Cabin Air Filter
The cabin filter is specifically intended to protect the evaporator and the heater core. Unfortunately, these two mechanisms are some of the most expensive to replace, and they’re incredibly difficult to get to. If the cabin air filter becomes too congested, the air filter is put under excessive strain.
This restricts airflow and can burn up the blower motor. Furthermore, the evaporator could burn out and the heater core could leak and corrode. A replacement of either the evaporator or heater core involves high labor costs and, in most cases, completely removing the dash. That expense has been the end of many otherwise perfectly good vehicles.
While some auto repair shops relentlessly pursue drivers for unnecessary engine filter replacements, the cabin filter has the opposite problem. Cabin air filters do not come standard on all cars, but they are becoming more common in newer models. Furthermore, they are usually hard to access.
Consequently, they’re often neglected. The cabin filter has the same debris hurling at it during the drive, and this filter has the responsibility of keeping these particulates from entering the passenger cab and circulating through the air you breathe. A clogged cabin filter puts strain on the air blower, and can cause it to fail. This filter also protects the AC and heating systems.
That’s the nice difference with Christian Brothers Automotive Arnold. With your authorization, our professional, ASE-certified technicians check for a cabin air filter. Once we know your car has this piece of equipment, it can then be scheduled for maintenance checks and replacements.
Like the engine air intake filter, most manufacturers recommend a cabin air replacement every 15,000-30,000 miles.
At Christian Brothers Automotive, we treat guests like family.
As a member of the Christian Brothers Automotive family, we refuse to sell you unnecessary services or let you drive away with a neglected vehicle. If we wouldn’t pay for a service ourselves, we won’t recommend the service to our customers.
Likewise, we’ll never ignore an essential component because an inspection is inconvenient. We’ll help you stay current on manufacturer-suggested maintenance services.
Like a home air conditioning filter, your cabin and engine air filters need to be changed regularly so your vehicle can operate with maximum efficiency. When your car is brought in for any service, and you agree to a Courtesy Inspection, we’ll tell you the truth about your air filtration system, as well as other maintenance needs and necessary repairs.
Don’t settle for less than the very best. Call Christian Brothers Automotive in Arnold, Missouri today. We’ll schedule an air filter check so you can notice the nice difference!