What is a cabin air filter replacement?

A cabin air filter replacement helps ensure that the air circulating inside the cabin of your car is as clean as it can be. 
The job of the cabin air filter is to clean the air that your car pulls in from outside when you turn on the heat or air conditioning. It’s a small, pleated filter that is usually made of multi-fiber paper cotton. It traps contaminants so they don’t enter your car.

How to replace a cabin air filter

Replacing your air filter is an easy DIY job and can save you some money. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Locate the cabin air filter—You’ll usually find it in the footwell area on the passenger side. Check your owner’s manual if you’re uncertain.
2. Remove and replace the filter—Look for the arrow that indicates air flow when installing, and be gentle to ensure you don’t damage the filter.
3. Reinstall removed components—Properly attach the filter cover and replace anything else you moved to access the compartment.
4. Clean debris from inside the hood—Open your hood and clear out any debris (like leaves) from the base of the windshield, which is where the car gets fresh air from.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can always take your car to the shop.

How do I know if I need a cabin air filter replacement?

If your car has a musty or dusty smell—especially when you turn on the heat or air conditioning—then it’s likely you need a cabin air filter replacement. 
Poor fog clearing on the windows can also indicate that you need to change your air filter. When airflow is compromised, windows won’t clear as quickly as you’d expect. And since the air quality is lower, condensation tends to form on the windshield.

How important is a cabin air filter replacement?

While replacing your cabin air filters is important, it’s not urgent and can even be done yourself. That said, dirty or clogged filters can cause some issues—so you should replace them as soon as you’re able.
Here’s what can happen if you don’t:
  • Reduced airflow: If your air filters aren’t clean, less air will flow through your vents into the car.
  • HVAC system issues: A clogged air filter makes your car’s HVAC system work harder, which can cause the motor to burn up. 
  • Health issues: A dirty filter can’t keep contaminants out of the car cabin, which can be uncomfortable for people who have allergies or breathing difficulties.

Tips for cabin air filter replacement

  • Most manufacturers suggest replacing your air filter every 12,000 to 30,000 miles, depending on your vehicle
  • If you live in a polluted area (like an urban center) or regularly park under a tree, you’ll likely need to replace your cabin air filter more often
  • If you suffer from allergies or have a compromised respiratory system, you may want to replace your filter as often as every 5,000 miles

Why you need good car insurance

Your car insurance won’t cover cabin air filter replacements and other regular maintenance items. But it’s essential in case of an accident, so you don’t want to skimp on coverage. 
Jerry is the super app that helps you save time and money on your car expenses, including insurance. 
Jerry compares quotes from more than 50 insurers to find you the best deal on the coverage level you want. Once you make your pick, Jerry takes care of the paperwork and phone calls to get you set up with your new policy. 
The average Jerry user saves $879 per year on their car insurance. And if you have questions, Jerry’s experienced, licensed agents are just a text away!
“When using Jerry, I just put in a bit of information, and they found lots of different quotes for me. I was paying $305 a month for 2 brand-new cars, but now I’m paying $150 a month for both with full coverage!” —Robin U.