Replacing Your Car Air Filter: Breathe the Benefits of a Clean Filter
Most manufacturers recommend that a car’s filter be changed every 12,000–15,000 miles, but where is it and how do you change it?
Older cars, especially American ones, were not equipped with air filters, but nearly all late-model vehicles are outfitted with them as a standard. This filter catches dust, pollen and debris from outside the car and prevents it from coming inside when you run your heat or AC.
Reduced airflow or a consistent, foul odor from the HVAC system are signs that your filter needs to be replaced. Even if your car doesn’t demonstrate these symptoms, the filter should be changed at least once a year.
Replacing Your Car’s Filter
The location of your car’s air filter will vary between make and model, but in most cases it can be found behind the glove box inside your car and accessed by simply freeing the glove box from its mounts. Refer to your owner’s manual or consult with your local mechanic if you are uncertain as to where it is located. Once you’ve reached it, you can pull it right out and slide a new filter directly in its place. Simply reattach your glove box and you’ll be all set.
Cleaning an Old Filter
Most vehicles are outfitted with non-reusable paper filters, but in some cases they are made of carbon or cloth, which can be washed and reused. If yours is a reusable model, remove the filter, vacuum any large debris trapped in it and wash it down with warm water and a mild soap. Once your filter is completely dry, it’s ready to be reinstalled.
Consult the Experts
If you feel like changing the cabin air filter is beyond your mechanical grasp, ask a mechanic to change the filter when they perform your next service. Ask them to inspect the filter and show it to you if it needs to be replaced.
Changing the filter is simple and can be done in your own garage. Although it may not seem important, your car air filter works to keep your car clean and smelling fresh — and, if left unattended to, can impede the performance of your interior heating and cooling systems.
For more information on replacing your car air filter, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA Auto Parts store.
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