We have all had that moment the technician walks into the office to talk with the service manager. They share a few words then your called up to the counter. Your hearts racing, pulse climbing, and the nerves are kicking in. You start to feel sweat forming on your brow. Fearing the bad news is inevitable on your short stroll to the counter.
Your astonished the service writer is only informing you of some dirty filters he is recommending be changed. You find out the Engine Air Filter is dirty as well as the Cabin Air Filter. You start racking your brain about the last time they may have been changed. The questions start flooding in: How dirty is dirty? Do I really need that? What does it do? and my favorite Can you just pull it out and not replace it? If you have been taking your car in for oil change chances are you have been in this position before. With these questions in mind let’s take a look at these filters and they important role they serve in your automobile.
This comparison on the left is a common version of what a dirty is to most technicians. When your air filter fills with debris and dirt it will restrict the air flow entering your engine. This restriction can lead to poor engine performance, drop in mpg, throttle body issues, and mass air flow sensor failure. A dirty filter can reach a point where it will start to allow debris to pass. Most air filters are not very expensive and are fairly simple to change. This is one repair almost anyone can do. To locate the air filter, follow the air intake hose/tube from the throttle body down to the air cleaner housing. Once you have located the housing you can remove and replace the filter.
The cabin air filter is often a forgotten filter. Most of us drive our cars for years unaware this filter exists. This filter was added to most models after the 2000 model year. Manufactures starting adding this filter to vehicles to meet the demand from customers for cleaner air while traveling. Without this filter any fresh air coming into the cabin could be full of dust, pollen, smog, smoke, and many other contaminates. Unlike your air filter when this gets clogged it will not have an impact on your engine’s performance. This filter you typically want to change annually or more frequent depending on where you live and commute.
Some of the symptoms you may experience could be lack of air coming thru the vents, excessive dust, and a foul odor. You can even get a filter impregnated with carbon to help absorb smells coming thru the vents. The biggest complaint is lack of cold air in summer and lack of hot air in winter. A simple change of this filter can have positive of impact on how comfortable you are in the cabin of your vehicle. This filter does a better job of hiding than your engine air filter. If can be found in these 3 common places depending on your vehicle.
- Under the hood near your cabin, sliding into the fresh air intake tube
- Bottom of the dashboard typically on the passenger side
- Behind the back or top panel of the glove box. (remove glove box)
With the knowledge you now have about these filters you can confidently answer those questions when asked next time. We at Douglas Automotive like to show our customers these filters and explain the why you want to change them. That goes for any repair we do. If you preform your own oil changes you now know why it is important to check these forgotten filters and the impact they can have on your car.
If you want to stop by our shop in Grass Valley or Nevada for some help with your vehicles filtration please do. We are more than happy to assist you.