What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Cabin Air Filter Regularly?

November 26th, 2019 by

Did you know that a recent consumer study revealed that roughly 68 percent of cars have at least one mechanical problem that needs to be resolved? Unfortunately, most car owners don’t know how to do routine maintenance on their vehicles.

For car owners, it’s challenging to keep up with regular service and maintenance. With oil changes, tire rotations, alignments, and changing out the air filters, the list adds up quickly.

But what happens if you don’t remember to have your cabin air filter changed? Let’s inspect why it’s so important.


What is the Air Filter?

If you own a home with air conditioning, you’re probably familiar with the paper air filters you use for your home cooling system. The air filter in your car is similar. It is a paper filter designed to capture airborne contaminants like dust, leaves, and pollen.

There is a key difference between your car’s air filter and your home’s, however. Your home’s air filter’s primary purpose is to make the air in your home clean and healthy. The air filter in your car does this, but it is also responsible for keeping contaminants out of the car’s engine, fuel line, and radiator.

Also, consider the difference between how air gets into your home versus your car. In your home, contaminants may get inside through open doors or windows, on clothes, or via pets.

In your car, however, you’re speeding down the highway at 70 kilometres an hour. This means those contaminants are also rushing at your car at a high speed.

Not to mention, unless you have a garage, your car spends most of its time outside. The filter may even have to work to filter air on windy days when you’re not driving.


How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?

It is recommended that you change your car’s air filters about once a year. But, like most car maintenance tasks, how frequently you change your air depends on how often you use your vehicle.

Your air filters should be changed once you reach around 20,000 kilometres. So, if you drive frequently or far distances, you might need to change your filter more frequently.

It’s also fairly easy to look at your car’s air filter and see it’s condition. If you look under the hood, a new air filter will be clean and white, while one in the middle of its usefulness will be a light gray colour.

An air filter that needs to be changed will be a darker colour; a neglected air filter will be almost black. Sometimes, you might even see larger debris like leaves and twigs.


What Happens if You Don’t Change the Air Filter?

By definition, a filter’s job is to capture undesirable particles. So, if the filter is not changed often enough, those particles will start to build up on the filter. This will have a few effects.

For one, as the filter gets full of particles, it will be more challenging for the filter to prevent future particles from coming through. In other words, it will start allowing more particles to get past the filter and into the parts of the vehicle the filter should protect.

The Engine

A dirty air filter can make your engine dirty. This makes your engine have to work harder and less efficiently, which can result in poor fuel economy and dirty emissions. If the engine gets dirty enough, it can lose power altogether.

This is because it is difficult for a dirty engine to suck air into the combustion chambers. This will disrupt the ratio of gas to air in the engine, causing your engine to get too much gas and not enough air. When this happens, the engine runs roughly.

In rare cases, the engine might even pull in larger debris past a dirty air filter. This can cause damage to the inside of the engine.

You might notice this is happening if you hear laboured sounds coming from your car’s engine when it’s running. It could also cause your check engine light to come on.


The Air Conditioning System

Have you noticed that your car’s air conditioning just isn’t cooling as well as it used to? Perhaps you quickly got cold air when you first got the car, but now it takes it a while to cool down, and it doesn’t reach as low of a temperature.

These malfunctions are signs of an air filter that needs to be changed. In addition to preventing the AC from cooling, a dirty air filter can also allow dirty air to get into your car’s cabin.

This can give your vehicle an unpleasant smell. It can also allow pollen to get into the vehicle, which can exacerbate allergies.

When the air in the cabin of your vehicle gets dirty, it can also cause the windows to de-fog poorly. This can make it challenging to see out of your windows in cold or humid weather.


Get Your Cabin Air Filter Changed Today

Now that you know why it’s so important to get your cabin air filter changed, it’s time to get yours taken care of. It will make your engine run smoothly, and the air in the cabin of your vehicle safe to breathe.

Check out our service center, where you can schedule service online. Our team will ensure that your vehicle is in good working order.