service notes

Does Your Vehicle Have a Cabin Filter?

service intervals | quick guide

Cabin Air Filter

(F/W 2005)

They continue to add filters to new vehicles. As it stands today, you could have:

1. One and maybe two fuel filters,
2. An engine oil filter,
3. An air filter,
4. A crankcase filter,
5. A transmission filter,
6. A coolant filter (in most diesels),
7. A Canister filter,
8. A Breather filter, and
9. A Cabin filter.The cabin filter is the newest filter and it's job is to filter the air that is either sucked or pushed inside your car before your breathe it.

Like many homes in the USA, your home may have air conditioning, swamp coolers or simply fresh air circulation. Your car has the same three modes. Air conditioning is where you re-circulate the air inside your house. INSIDE air is sucked through a filter, over some cold coils and sent back into the living quarters of your home. Your car does the same thing, re-circulate the air INSIDE your car and that's called MAX A/C or Recir A/C for recirculation.

Swamp coolers or just wet pad coolers cool your house in a slightly different fashion. Coolers take OUTSIDE air, cool it and send it into the house. If the house were air tight, the cooler would be trying to blow cool air into a pop bottle, so to speak, which all of us know is difficult, at best. So as most folks know, you have to open a window or two to get proper circulation when using a cooler or bringing in outside air. Your car does the same thing. It brings outside air through a cabin filter over cold coils and then blows it into the car. That's called NORM A/C or Outside Air.

Of course, fresh air circulation mandates you have a window open to benefit from that mode. And this air also goes past a cabin filter before it enters your car.

The cabin filter works in either mode, re-circulatory or outside air and we've been changing quite a few of them lately. I even changed mine in my truck that travels back and forth to the ranch and I found a ton of dirt, mold, grass, twigs, leaves, animal hair and fur and even a plastic bag in and on my cabin filter. Some of the ones we've replaced make vacuum cleaner bags look clean.

So if I were driving my truck and my brother was sitting in the passenger seat and we just got done working cows and he was a stinkin', I would turn the air on, use outside air and open his window a tad. That way as air entered the truck cab, it would sweep by him and out his window. This works if your passenger is smoking or your dog is wet.

If your vehicle is model year 2000 or newer, there's a good chance it is equipped with a cabin air filter. You will pay about $95 to replace it, which includes the labor, depending on your make model and accessibility.


For a Dependable Motor Vehicle
visit us in the Redwood Auto Care Center
Across the street from the Skyview Drive-In

2335 Soquel Drive
Santa Cruz CA 95065
Monday-Friday/8:00 am-5:00 pm