What happens if you don’t replace your Cabin Air Filter?

Since roughly the year 2000 all vehicles have been equipped with a cabin air filter. The filter is rectangular in shape and is made of paper and a mix of other fibrous materials that are pleated to catch contaminates. It is located behind your vehicles glove box, under the hood or in the dashboard – but what does it do? In general terms, the cabin air filter cleans the air that is being pushed from your vehicle’s HVAC system. If not replaced regularly, the air you breathe won’t be properly filtered. Dirty air making its way from your car’s engine into the cabin area can negatively impact you in a variety of ways.


When your cabin air filter is clean and functioning properly it protects the inside of your vehicle from several pollutants that can be harmful to your health. Without this filter, debris like insects, dirt, dust, mold spores, smog, pollen, and exhaust gases can enter freely through the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in your vehicle. It is especially important for those who suffer from allergic conditions or have any type of condition that makes it difficult to breathe to avoid these types of pollutants.

HVAC system

A cabin air filter that has gone too long without being replaced will build up large amounts of dirt and debris that it has prevented from entering the cabin. However, the filter can only hold so much before it becomes too clogged to operate effectively. This puts a strain on your HVAC system by reducing the amount of air flowing from the vents. Without unrestricted flow throughout the cabin of the vehicle it becomes difficult for your HVAC system to maintain desired temperatures.

Window fog clearing

Another negative side effect to restricted airflow throughout your vehicle is the ability to clear your windows of fog and condensation. Replacing your dirty cabin air filter will immediately increase your ability to tackle this problem.


All of the dirt and grime that your cabin air filter prevents from entering your car’s cabin doesn’t just disappear. It remains in your filter and continues to build and decay – creating a foul odor. When you turn on the air conditioning that odor is sent throughout your entire vehicle!


Most manufacturers recommend replacing your car’s cabin air filter every 12,000 to 30,000 miles depending on how heavily polluted the area you live in is. One easy way keep the air you breathe in your car fresh and clean is to replace it every February right before spring allergy season hits. If you think you’re about due – come down to Xpress Lube Plus and our expert technicians will get you taken care of in no time at all!

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