That’s a really good question. Most people don’t even know that their vehicles have both types of air filters. Let’s start with how they are the same. Cabin and air filters stop harmful debris, dirt and air traveling contaminants from entering your vehicle. Just makes you want to take a deep breath, doesn’t it?
The air filter prevents these things from getting into your engine. Which, of course, is very helpful for your car’s performance. The cabin filter (introduced in 2002) helps trap pollen, bacteria, dust and exhaust gases from your vehicle’s air conditioning, heating and ventilation (HVAC) systems Simply put, it filters the air that you breathe while in your vehicle. The filter also helps keep out debris, like bugs and twigs. Yuck!
The photos below compare a new cabin filter to one that was replaced. Take that deep breath again.
How often you replace these filters depends on your driving conditions with average of 15,000 and 30,000 miles. If you regularly drive on unpaved roads, it should be changed more often. If you don’t drive a lot, the filter should be replaced at least every 3 years, as with age it becomes brittle, even though it may not be very dirty.