Understanding Your Car’s Air Filters

As we enter the warmer months, you may see local shops offering filter specials, ours included. If you’re wondering what these filters do, here’s a quick rundown of how the two most commonly replaced filters, the engine air, and cabin air filters, work.

The air filter sometimes referred to as an engine air filter, is what it sounds like. It is a very large, often square, or tube-shaped filter that prevents your engine from sucking in anything dangerous that may disrupt the ability to ignite fuel. This can include things like pollen and dirt, but also water and other particularly large things that shouldn’t be going into your engine’s internals. Signs of a dirty filter are often as simple as a loss in the overall performance of the engine. You should have this filter inspected regularly, cleaned if possible, and replaced as needed.

Your cabin air filter is a lot like the air filters in your home. The cabin air filter cleans up whatever air is going into the cabin through your A/C and heat system. Essentially, anything that comes out your air vent has to go through that filter first. Common finds in a dirty air filter are pollen, dust, and on occasion pine needles, little bugs, and other strange things that may get sucked into an A/C system. Unlike your home’s air filter though, cabin air filters are a bit more durable and usually only need replacing once a year if they’re cleaned properly. Make sure your shop checks at every oil change interval!

Ken Manchester