How to Save on Cabin Air Filters and Repairs

Keeping Twin Falls Fresh with Cabin Air Filter Replacement

Most of us are always on the lookout for ways to save money on auto repair and maintenance costs.  Here’s one that many people haven’t considered – the cabin air filter in your car. Cabin air filter replacement can be done yourself or for a small fee by Palmer’s Automotive Repair.

Cabin Air Filter Clean
Clean Cabin Air Filter

Cabin air filters started showing up in import and domestic cars and pickup trucks in the U.S. around 1995.  They did not become common until 2000.

So, what is a cabin air filter and what does it do?  Made of paper, activated carbon or other materials, they are designed to filter the air that comes into your vehicle during heating, cooling or defrosting.

As you’re driving down the road, outside air is pulled into your car by a fan and then sent through a heater element (to heat it) or through a condenser (to cool it) depending on which comfort setting you are using.  From there, the warmed or cooled air is sent to the interior of your car.

That outside air can be full of dust, pollen or other larger particles.  The cabin air filter functions to keep those materials out of the air coming into your car. (Keep in mind we aren’t taking about the air that comes in when the windows or doors are opened.)

Of course, to save money on this item you first need to check and see if your particular car make and model has one.  You can check your owner’s manual, call a parts house, such as NAPA Auto Parts store, and ask if one is listed for your vehicle, or call a local auto repair shop and have them check for you.

Once you find out that your car does indeed have this filter, how do you  know when it should be replaced?

Again, refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended replacement interval.  Generally, most manufacturers recommend replacement at 1 year or 12,000 miles.

If you are at or past the cabin air filter replacement interval, don’t automatically assume replacement is required right now.  You might want to consider the following:

  1. Can I replace it myself or do I need to have that done at a repair shop?
  2. How does my filter look?  Is there obvious dirt, pieces of leaves or other particles?
  3. Can a slightly dirty filter be cleaned and then reused?
  4. If the filter is made of paper, how does the appearance of the old one compare with a new one?  (Try shining a light through each to see how they differ.)

Next, you’ll want to find out how much replacing the filter will cost.  Of course, replacement costs will very depending on who does the work and what quality of filter you choose to install.

Quality Cabin Air Filter Replacement by Professional Technicians

Some filters are easy to access and can be replaced in 10-15 minutes with very little technical skill required.  Other cabin air filter replacements take more time and require a skilled technician to remove other components in order to get access to the filter location.  In that case, it could run you from $70 to $175.

Filter prices vary, too.  On average they run between $20 to $40, but some can be more expensive depending on the vehicle.

So, how much does it cost me if I DON’T replace the filter?  Believe me, taking care of a dirty filter will definitely save you money in the long run.

Dirty Cabin Air Filter
Dirty Cabin Air Filter

When a filter gets plugged by dirt, or particles air flow is restricted.  Then, when extreme hot or cold weather requires higher airflow to keep you comfortable, the dirty filter prevents it.

If your heater or air conditioner isn’t keeping you comfortable, you’ll wonder what’s wrong.  Taking your vehicle to a shop for diagnosis could cost you between $100 to $175 or even higher.  It would be a shame to pay out that kind of money when the problem may simply be a dirty $20 to $40 filter.

So, do a little bit of research and you may be able to save yourself some money.  That’s like putting your money back in your own pocket.

If you would like some additional information about filters and replacement, read this article on Auto Cabin Air Filters.
You can also watch this video on replacing a filter.

Most filter replacements require some technical knowledge and a minimal amount of tools. For the majority of you who don’t want to mess with trying to replace the filter we at Palmer’s Automotive Repair are here to help. We use quality Napa cabin air filters. We have the tools and knowledge to do the job for you so Call Us today (208) 735-8810 or make an appointment online.

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