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The Difference Between Engine and Cabin Air Filters

Insects, particles, sand, and dust can affect your vehicle's performance. These impurities can cause engine failure, dirty smoke, and loss of power. Fortunately, air filters are designed to help keep these impurities from getting inside the engine. The filters also filter out air that passes through the vehicle's ventilation, air conditioning, and heating systems. Two types of air filters do this work: the engine air filter and the cabin air filter. Keep reading to learn about these two types of air filters.

mechanic changing car engine air filter

What is an Engine Air Filter?

An engine air filter helps keep harmful debris, dust, sand, and other contaminants away from a car engine. If replaced regularly, this air filter can help improve a car's efficiency and performance and help you save on fuel. It is usually located within a car engine and should be changed regularly.

What is a Cabin Air Filter?

A cabin air filter, located beneath a vehicle's dashboard, keeps allergens from entering your vehicle's cooling and heating system. This helps ensure that the air you breathe when driving is clean.

When Should You Change an Engine Air Filter?

How often should you replace your vehicle engine air filter? That solely depends on your vehicle's make, model, and driving habits. For instance, if you often drive on dirty roads, you should change your filters more often. You should also change your engine air filter if you notice that your vehicle is not accelerating quickly or if your car feels jerky or fails to reach its maximum performance. Other signs that indicate it’s time to replace your engine air filter include:

  • Gasoline smell whenever you start your car
  • Ignition problems
  • A reduction in fuel economy
  • Air filter that looks grey and dirty

When Should You Change Your Cabin Air Filter?

If you notice poor airflow from your car’s interior vents or an unusual odor emitting from the vents, it is probably time to have your cabin air filter replaced. Other signs that indicate that it is time to replace your cabin air filter include:

  • Foggy windows
  • Noisy fans
  • Heating and cooling system problems
  • Dusty seats and windows

Contact Our Auto Repair Experts

At Custom Complete Automotive, our auto repair experts will check and replace your engine and cabin air filters to help keep your car performing its best. To learn more about our filter replacement services or any of our other auto repair services, contact us today!

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About the Author
Eric Riddles

Eric Riddles is an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician who has been working as an auto mechanic since 1998 and originally joined the team at Custom Complete Automotive in 2005. Eric has numerous certifications in various aspects of car repair and spent 10 years training the next generation of auto technicians at a local high school Auto Shop classroom.

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