Although many drivers are familiar with the more standard requirements to servicing their car such as oil changes, tire rotations, and washings, there are some maintenance items that often go overlooked. Two of the most commonly neglected maintenance items that go without regular replacement are both related to air and filtration: the engine air filter and the cabin air filter. Although these items are often neglected, they can have huge benefits to the car and its occupants when serviced correctly.
Engine Air Filter
Much like a living creature, your car’s engine performs at its peak when it’s breathing clean and fresh air. The job of the engine air filter is to provide the clean air needed for your car to burn its fuel most efficiently, and therefore get you the most for your money at the pump. Although these short term improvements to fuel economy can easily be seen in your wallet, there are added long term benefits as well. A correctly maintained air filter will also prevent your engine from breathing in contaminants in the air that cause excessive wear on the engine’s components over time. To put it simply: a good air filter might be the difference between your car running for 150,000 miles or 300,000 miles.
Cabin Air Filter
Although it is not as critical to the car’s performance, the cabin air filter is also very important for the car’s driver and occupants. Most cars built since the 1990’s have come with a cabin air filter. This filter’s job is similar to the engine air filters, with a few added benefits. Not only does the cabin air filter remove particulates such as dust and dirt from the air being brought in to the car, but it also can help to remove allergens. Over time, an old cabin air filter can begin to harbor moisture. This moisture can at a minimum cause bad odor to form in the car, and at the worst can actually harbor organisms such as mold.
The average engine air filter service interval is around 30,000 miles, but varies by make and model. For the cabin air filter, most mechanics recommend 12,000-15,000 miles, or about once a year for most drivers. It is always best to consult your owner’s manual for a manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule.
On a vehicle such as a 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, the cabin air filter can be accessed on the passenger side of the dashboard, behind the glove box.
These two items are some that even the most careful of car owners can neglect to replace, but they are also some of the most important. Luckily, they are also very easy to replace on most cars, and require only a few minutes.