You know your home air conditioner has an air filter, but did you know your car’s AC system does, too? In fact, your car has two distinct air filters – the cabin air filter and the engine air intake filter.
In order to keep your car safe and healthy, regular air filtration system service is essential. By replacing these two air filters, your ventilation system and fuel system will receive clean oxygen and your car will operate as efficiently as possible.
1. Cabin Air Filter
While not all cars have a cabin air filter, they’re becoming more common. Your cabin air filter traps pollen, mold spores, dust, bacteria, exhaust fumes and other contaminants before they enter the AC system. As the component keeping your family breathing safe and healthy, the cabin air filter should be checked twice a year.
However, your driving habits have a big role to play in the air filter’s lifespan. If you frequently drive through dusty rural roads or near construction sites, your car may need more filter replacements than average. If your cabin air filter becomes too clogged, your health will be affected. In fact, the cabin can become so concentrated with contaminants, you’re breathing in more impurities riding in the car than if you were walking down the street.
When there’s evidence of heating or cooling inefficiency, a dirty or musty smell from the air vents, or you notice sinus headaches and breathing problems while driving, your cabin air filter could be compromised. Because not every car has this filter, cheap auto repair centers and inexperienced mechanics may not inspect your air filter as often as required.
If it’s been more than a year since your last air filtration system check, or you notice any signs of a congested cabin air filter, call Christian Brothers Automotive Jackson to schedule an appointment. Our ASE-certified technicians will let you know whether your vehicle contains this element and how often it needs to be replaced.
2. Engine Air Intake Filter
Not all cars have a cabin air filter, but your vehicle definitely has an engine air intake filter. The engine filter cleans out dirt particles, which can damage the engine cylinders, engine walls, pistons and piston rings. In fuel-injected cars, the air intake filter also keeps contaminants off the airflow sensor. As the car drives, it sucks in outside air.
This filter protects the engine from debris and airborne contaminants. However, the engine filter clogs over time with dirt, dust and bugs, which block airflow. When airflow is reduced, it affects the fuel-to-air ratio and puts unnecessary strain on the vehicle. This can lead to a loss in engine power.
Like the cabin filter, driving habits affect the engine air intake filter’s lifespan. Specific factors include the mileage, time spent driving, road conditions and type of filter used. A clogged filter will decrease gas mileage and “driveability.” If the car hesitates while accelerating or loses engine power, your engine filter is likely to blame.
Our specialists agree with most manufacturers, who recommend an air filter replacement every 10,000-30,000 miles. However, you should replace the filter any time it is torn, water or oil soaked, dirty or showing other signs of wear.
While vehicle air filters are seldom discussed, they have a significant impact on the overall life of your engine. Call Christian Brothers Automotive in Jackson, Tennessee to schedule an air filter inspection. Don’t let a clogged air filter shorten the life of your car.