For Christian Brothers Automotive, the month of August is dedicated to your car’s air filtration system. We’ve already explained the difference between the cabin air filter and the engine air intake filter, as well as reasons why air filter replacements are absolutely essential.
Today, we’ll go deeper into the specific signs your air filters need replacing.
1. Cabin Air Filter
While not all vehicles have the cabin air filter, they’re becoming more common in newer cars. Your cabin air filter helps trap pollen, mold spores, dust, bacteria, exhaust fumes and other impurities before they enter the ventilation system. As the element keeping your family safe and healthy, the cabin air filter should be replaced at least once a year.
However, your driving habits play a large role in the air filter’s lifespan. If you regularly drive through dusty rural roads or cities with heavy construction, your car may require more frequent filter replacements. If your cabin air filter becomes too clogged, your health could be affected.
In fact, some contaminants can become so concentrated in the cabin, you’re breathing in more particles riding in the car than walking down the street.
If you notice reduced heating or cooling efficiency, a smoggy or musty smell from the air vents, or you’re regularly getting sinus headaches or having allergic reactions while driving, your cabin air filter could be compromised.
Because not every car has this filter, low-cost auto repair centers and amateur mechanics may not be checking your air filter as often as required. If it’s been more than a year since your last air filtration system inspection, or you notice any symptoms of a compromised cabin air filter, schedule an appointment with Christian Brothers Automotive.
Our ASE-certified technicians will let you know whether your car is equipped with this element and how often it needs to be serviced.
2. Engine Air Intake Filter
While your car may not have a cabin air filter, it certainly has an engine air intake filter. This engine filter is responsible for trapping dirt particles, which can cause damage to engine cylinders, walls, pistons and piston rings. In fuel-injected cars, this filter also plays a role in keeping contaminants off the airflow sensor.
As the car drives and sucks in outside air, this filter keeps debris and airborne contaminants out of the engine. However, this filter clogs over time with dirt, dust and bugs, which choke off the airflow. When airflow is reduced, the fuel-to-air ratio is affected. This puts unnecessary strain on the vehicle and can cause the engine to lose power.
Like the cabin air filter, the engine air filter is affected by driving habits. Specifically, mileage, time spent driving, road conditions and the type of filter used. A clogged filter will usually reduce gas mileage, as well as “driveability.” If you ever notice hesitation while accelerating or a loss in engine power, your engine filter is the likely culprit.
Our specialists agree with most manufacturers, who suggest 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 your air filters are seldom discussed, they have a lot to do with the overall health of your vehicle.
Over the next few weeks, Christian Brothers Automotive will provide the necessary resources for proper air filter service. Until then, call your local Christian Brothers Automotive auto repair shop to request an air filter inspection. Don’t let a clogged air filter weigh down your health or the life of your engine.