Every vehicle has an air filter in the engine compartment and most vehicles have a cabin air filter, as well. What do they do and how often do they need to be replaced? Those are the questions we're here to answer.
Engine Air Filter
The engine air filter is a simple part, but it performs a very important purpose. In order for the fuel pumping through your engine to be combustible and provide power, it needs a proper air intake system. Older cars will have carburetors while modern cars used an electronic fuel injection system to control the air intake. However, the quality of the air is equally important and that's where the air filter comes in. It collects dust, grease, dirt, debris and even bugs and keeps these pollutants from causing problems within the engine.
When Should The Air Filter Be Replaced?
The simplest answer here is to replace the engine air filter when it gets too dirty. If it is too dirty, it will hinder air flow and more dirt particles could get into the system. Depending on your driving habits, air quality, driving environment and other factors, your air filter may need to be replaced more often. Most auto repair professionals will say it's anywhere between 15,000-30,000 miles. A good, honest mechanic will check the air filter for you and let you know when it needs to be replaced. Remember that air filters come in many different shapes and sizes, so it's important to get the right filter for your specific vehicle.
Cabin Air Filter
The cabin air filter is a different story. It is also there to provide better air quality. However, it is filtering the air that goes into the passenger cabin of the vehicle (hence the "cabin" in the name). In other words, it helps make sure the air you breathe inside the car is cleaner by factoring out the same dirt, grease and other common pollutants that naturally get into the vent system.
When Should the Cabin Air Filter Be Replaced?
Again, we would say that it should be changed when it is too dirty. Also, if the normal smell inside the vehicle starts to get a bit funky, it may be time to change the cabin air filter and/or have your vents cleaned. Cabin air filters may last anywhere from 30,000-50,000 miles, depending on various factors. Unfortunately, your cabin air filter is a lot trickier to access than the engine air filter, so you should have your repair professional check it during standard maintenance visits. If it needs to be replaced, they can let you know and handle the installation. It is worth noting that the cost to replace the cabin air filter will generally be more than the engine air filter. It is a more difficult process and the filters themselves are more expensive. Thankfully, it does not have to be done as often as the regular air filter.
When it comes to air filter maintenance and replacement, San Francisco Automotive Solutions is here to help. Any time you come in for a maintenance service visit, we'll check both filters and let you know exactly when they need to be replaced.
Call San Francisco Automotive Solutions today at (415) 523-0515 or schedule a service appointment online. We'll gladly inspect your air filters and provide any other auto repairs or maintenance services you need.