What is a cabin air filter ? All you need to know

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A cabin air filter is not much talked about car part. Its one of the most important parts of a car. If you are a health-conscious person or have some kind of allergies then you must know all about cabin filters. 

What is a cabin air filter

A cabin air filter is a paper or a cloth-like material with very fine holes in it. The holes in the filter block all the unwanted dust and debris and only allow air to pass into the car cabin. 

It’s an important part of the car air conditioning (AC) system and all the air that enters the car cabin passes through the cabin filter. 

So technically speaking the cabin filter is the only equipment in the car that delivers you clean, healthy, and odorless air to breathe.

What does a cabin air filter do

Cabin air filters filter the air going into the car cabin from all types of unwanted materials. The car cabin filter deliver clean, fresh, and odorless air inside the car cabin. 

It’s a common observation that the natural atmospheric air contains several unwanted materials like dust, pollen, and debris. The debris may include; small leaves, plastic particles, and even some hazardous materials like chemical vapors. 

Especially in cities where small plastic particles and hazardous gasses can be a serious problem. In small cities and countryside dust and pollen can cause serious problems.

These unwanted materials may cause health problems for people who are sensitive to pollen or dust or some kind of glass.

Cabin filters work to remove all the above-mentioned unwanted material from the air going into the car cabin. Thus protecting the driver and passenger from all types of harmful material, gasses, and bad odors. 

Cabin air filter material

Car Cabin filters are made from a combination of special materials like multilayer paper cotton blend. Cabin filter materials are designed to capture airborne contaminants and particles before they enter the vehicle’s cabin.

It all depends on the brand, make, and model of some of the common materials used for cabin filters are

  • Paper or Fabric
  • Activated Carbon
  • Fiberglass
  • Polyurethane or Rubber
  • Melt-Blown Microfiber
  • Synthetic Materials

What are the different types of cabin air filter

There are three different types of cabin air filters. 1) Particulate filter, 2) Charcoal-based filter, 3) Electrostatic filter. Based on use, there are two main types of cabin filters; a single-use or disposable cabin filter and a reusable cabin filter.

Particulate filter

It’s the most basic type of cabin filter. They use simple porous fibrous material to trap dust and debris of a minimum of 0.3 microns. These cabin filters cannot filter gasses, so bad odor or harmful gasses like carbon dioxide or monoxide will pass into the cabin.

Charcoal-based filter

Charcoal-based filters are divided into two main types. A charcoal filter and an activated carbon cabin filter. A charcoal filter has a layer of charcoal better than layers of regular filter material. They can stop different microbes and help against smell.

An Activity carbon is a special type of charcoal whose ability to absorb gasses and smell is much more than that of a simple charcoal filter. 

Electrostatic filter

These are the most effective types of cabin filters. They have specially engineered materials that have an electric static charge. The charge on these filter materials enables them to attach gas molecules present in the air. This allows them to entrap all types of gasses and odor. 

Disposable filter

Single-use disposable cabin filters are usually made of paper-based multi-fiber cotton material. They work perfectly to capture all types of dust, debris, and small particles from the air.

Reusable filter

reusable cabin filter is usually made of polyurethane rubber or synthetic materials that can be washed to make them clean. These filters can be used for a longer period by washing them after specified intervals.

How often to replace cabin air filter

You should replace your cabin air filter for every 12,000 km or every 12 months. Some brands offer replacement of filters for 12,000 miles to 15,000 miles. So it all depends on the make, model, and driving conditions. 

how often to change cabin air filter
how often to change cabin air filter

How often to replace cabin filters depends on the filter material, brand recommendation, and driving conditions. Driving in a highly environmentally polluted area will reduce filter life whereas driving in a clean environment will increase it. 

Other than this use to wash a reusable filter after every 3,000 miles and reinstall them.

Cabin air filter location

In most of the cars, the cabin air filter location is behind the glove box on the passenger side of the car. The exact location of the cabin filter of your car can vary and you may need to consult the user manual to locate and replace the cabin filter.

How to replace cabin air filter

There are three steps to replace the cabin air filter. First, remove the glove box on the passenger side of the car. Then remove the filter. At last put in a new cabin filter and reinstall the glove box.

step 1 how to remove cabin air filter
how to remove car cabin filter
step 2 how to remove cabin air filter
step 2 how to remove car cabin filter

What happens if cabin air filter is upside down

If the cabin air filter is upside down then it will not work properly and will need to be replaced. There are arrows on the side of the cabin filter. The arrow direction indicated the upside of the filter. You should consider the direction of the filter. 


A cabin filter is a porous paper-like filter that is used in cars to filter the air going into the car cabin. 

If you have any questions or want to add something do put it in the comment. We will give you a proper answer and credit for your share.

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