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Does The Air Filter Affect The AC In A Car?

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If you have ever wondered why, all of a sudden, your car’s AC has stopped working or why it starts blowing off warm air during an intensely hot summer day, we're curious too. So, we've researched whether the air filter affects the AC in a car, and here is everything you need to know.

The AC in your car is affected by a clogged cabin air filter. You will notice, the AC starts fuming unpleasant smells once you turn it on. Not only that, but you will also experience a change in the air-conditioning quality; it will start to feel hot even if AC has been on for quite a while. 

Air filters are one of the things that are not given much thought by most people when dealing with cars. They don’t know that these filters have a more important role than what meets the eye. Keep reading to learn more about air filter functions and maintenance for your vehicle. 

A clean and dirty air filter comparison on the car dashboard, Does The Air Filter Affect The AC In A Car?

The Functionality of Car Air Filters

Air filters keep the air in your car clean and breathable. It affects the overall performance of your car. You have read it right! From the engine to the AC and even considering fuel efficiency, any filter must be changed frequently for your car's systems to function at their best. If not, it could cause a lot of trouble to you and to your car.

A dirty car air filter in need of replacement

Before we delve deep into the topic, we must first be knowledgeable about the difference between an air filter and a cabin air filter. Both of these entities purify dirty air, allowing only clean air in, but what makes them unique?

Air filters block pollutants from getting inside the engine. On the other hand, cabin air filters prevent unclean air from entering the vehicle's interior. With this being said, it is important to note which of these two have not yet been changed in order for us to determine what kind of problem might arise.

What happens when the cabin filter is clogged? 

A dirty and old car air filter

A cabin filter filled with debris would result in a malfunctioning air blower motor. Your car’s climate control system will be greatly affected. You will feel this with the lack of airflow in the dashboard vents.

Furthermore, this kind of situation can affect the car’s defogging performance. Such adversities could cause unsafe driving conditions. Luckily, there are some signs to know if your car needs a new air filter. Let’s have a look at it:

  • As we said earlier, the most common is when the vents begin puffing off extremely unpleasant smells.
  • A noisy blower motor because of too much strain in the system.
  • Heating, cooling, and defogging functionality of the car are inefficient.
  • Particles blown off through the vents are visible inside the vehicle.

How much does it cost to replace air filters?

A car air filter with leaves stuck on the blades

The cost of replacing new engine air filters depends on how the vehicle is manufactured. Usually, it only costs a much lower price, but it will be expensive if some mechanics replace it.

Approximately, the payment would be from $60 to $170 because you also have to pay for labor. The price of the filter varies depending on which you will buy.

Just like the engine air filter, your expenditures are high if you have a mechanic to work on your cabin air filter. The price would be around $40. It is also recommended to change both your engine and cabin air filters once a year or every 15,000 miles.

But more often than not, it depends if you are in a dusty or a heavy traffic community. Because if the quality of the air is poor, you might need to change your vehicle filters more often.

How long can you drive without a cabin air filter?

While this is not advisable, you can still drive without a cabin air filter. Unfortunately, it would end disastrously because your vehicle will need a serious and costly maintenance job after a while. Why is that?

Driving without this material could be very alarming, especially because debris would enter and damage your car's HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system.

Another reason is that it can cause various health problems. Imagine having an unclean cabin filter and looking at it. You could have inhaled all those particles, but thankfully, your air filter is there to save you. What's more if your car does not have this entity, debris would enter the cabin and most likely affect your lungs.

Basically, automobiles consist of mechanisms that have their own functions. The engine transforms gasoline into energy which makes the car move. The chassis is the structural framework that supports the entire vehicular components.

The tires and the brakes seem like basic parts, but these constituents are essential for the car's overall function. And lastly, the air filters. It gives the impression of an air filter being the least valuable entity, where in fact, we should treat each component significantly. 

Final Thoughts

A clean and dirty air filter comparison on the car dashboard

Although inconsequential for most people, the air filter is vital in keeping your car fully functional. As we have mentioned earlier, a dirty filter affects the air-conditioning system, which affects the whole functionality of the car. 

For more great filter maintenance tips, check out our related posts: 

How Often To Change Car Engine Air Filter?

How Much Does It Cost To Replace Engine Air Filter?