Getting into your car one day, you start to notice a musky odour that wasn’t there before.
You look around the cabin for any dirt on the carpets and perhaps buy an air freshener to try and mask the smell.
It’s then you start to realise that the smell is, in fact, coming from your air-conditioning vents.
It’s time to clean or replace your car’s air-con filter.
What is an air-con filter?
The air-con filter is the oft-neglected cousin of the air filter and fuel filter.
However, in terms of your personal well-being, it’s perhaps the most important.
Air-con filters trap everything from large particles like leaves to smaller things like mold spores and dust, preventing them from reaching the cabin.
If you constantly drive past an area with lots of dust (like a construction site) or if you spend a lot of time in traffic, the filter is invaluable in helping you remove pollutants from the air you breathe.
When they work well, air-conditioning filters deliver clean, fresh air to the cabin.
But when they turn dirty, they trap mold and bacteria and becoming a breeding ground for unpleasant odours.
Basic air-con filters can filter out up to 99 percent of pollutants and contaminants measuring over 3 micrometres.
Some filters contain activated charcoal, which remove odours from the cabin and absorb nasty things like exhaust fumes.
When should I replace my filter?
According to conventional wisdom, replacing the air-con filter once every year should be sufficient.
However, take into account the places you normally drive to.
If you’re on the road more often, or if you drive to dusty areas, then you might need to replace it more often.
You can do it yourself, but it’s better to find a mechanic who can source the parts and do the job properly.
The air-con filter can be found behind the dashboard or under the hood of most modern vehicles.
Replacing the filter prevents any allergies you may have from acting up, and keeps everyone healthy.
Be sure to let your mechanic know when you next send your car in for servicing, and he or she can help you change your filter.