cabin air filter

How To Tell If You Need A Cabin Air Filter Replacement

A cabin air filter is a filter that cleans the air as it moves through your vehicle’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. It works by catching and trapping pollen, dust, debris, and other airborne material that would otherwise circulate through the interior cabin of your car. Every vehicle owner’s manual will come with a detailed list of recommendations, including when the car’s cabin air filter should be replaced. The suggestions vary, as some manufacturers recommend replacing it every 12,000 miles, some 15,000 miles, and others longer. The time period for replacing your cabin air filter will depend on the model, make and year of your vehicle. It is highly common for a regular maintenance service to include checking the cabin air filter. 


In addition to following the suggestions provided in your vehicle owner’s manual, there are several factors that should be considered regarding when to replace your cabin air filter. The following examples will likely reduce the length of time your cabin air filter will last, requiring you to replace it more frequently: 

  • Driving conditions (i.e. heavy traffic)
  • How much you drive 
  • Where you drive (i.e. urban area with poor air quality)
  • Climate (i.e. desert climate with a lot of dry dust)

The above considerations could supersede the broad recommendations in your vehicle owner’s manual, and could alter the ideal length of time elapsed between changing your cabin air filter. It is especially important for individuals with respiratory problems to change the cabin air filter frequently. If a cabin air filter clogs up it can cause the vehicle’s air conditioning and/ or heating unit to malfunction. 


If you do not have your vehicle owner’s manual at your disposal your car will likely provide you with some clear signs that it is ready for a cabin air filter replacement. You may want to go ahead and check your cabin air filter if you notice any of the following:

  • Reduced air flow
  • Smelly, musty, and/ or moldy odors
  • Increased fan noise
  • Increased allergy symptoms when taking longer rides in your car
  • A whistling noise coming from the air vents

The above are common signs that can be indicative of your car needing a cabin air filter replacement. The cabin air filter on newer vehicles is often located behind the glove box. On other vehicles it may be located under the dashboard, or under the hood. Replacing your cabin air filter by a professional will usually cost between $70-$100, including parts and labor. 

Further Information

As an automotive parts and supply shop with decades of experience we have access to extensive inventory. Northstar Automotive is staffed with incredibly knowledgeable professionals, dedicated to provide topnotch service to all its customers. Vehicles are continuously evolving and are becoming increasingly more sophisticated with each passing day. Whether you are in need of assistance with small tune-up or a large repair, we are here to help. Let us assist you and make sure you are equipped with everything you need to ensure all of your vehicles are in excellent shape. Please feel free to contact one of our sales associates for more information. We can be reached through our website’s contact us page. We look forward to connecting and providing you with outstanding assistance.

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