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I'm a car expert

Jun 01, 2023

A SIMPLE maintenance fix has been noted by a car expert that could help get rid of nasty smells in your vehicle.

If motorists can't locate the source of a bad smell after removing any excess food, garbage, or stains that might be the source — it's likely a dirty cabin air filter causing issues.

With summer upon drivers in the United States, a cabin filter replacement may be the crucial key in getting out hot smells that affect the driving experience.

The cabin air filter is an important fixture that removes dirt, contaminants, debris, and other gunk from inhabiting the airspace in a vehicle, but they can get clogged from time to time, per Firestone.

As The U.S. Sun previously reported, the cabin air filter is different than the engine air filter as it filters the air inside of your car and the engine air filter is for the engine.

Mechanics at the automotive company urged drivers to clean and replace cabin air filters periodically to not only remove the bad smells with ease but also because the filters could end up causing safety problems while driving.

In order to detect a cabin filter issue, the auto professionals recommended observing other possible problems with the car's A/C and heating systems.

"Is the heater working well? How about the A/C? Is the driving experience comfortable or a little smelly and stuffy?" they asked.

The mechanics noted the cabin filter as an "unsung hero" as it handles several jobs of keeping the air clean and the pollutants out, along with mitigating odors and most importantly — preventing windshields from fogging.

A dirty and incapable cabin filter could cause "poor visibility through your car windows can create serious driving issues."

It also causes the blower motor in the car's air system to malfunction, either partially or completely.

Visible debris from the process blowing around the cabin may even be seen by drivers.

A noise might also occur if the blower motor is overworked or overused due to the dirty cabin filter.

Most owners' manuals in a vehicle should tell drivers where the cabin filter is located and when it should be changed.

It can be done manually or be brought into an auto shop and a technician can take care of the process.

It usually costs around $15 to $20 and can be purchased at most car shops.

The general rule, according to Firestone, is that a car's cabin filter should be replaced every 12,000 miles or 12 months.

Although it differs with the make and model of the car and the environmental conditions where the motorist drives.

"But depending on your driving conditions, it may be a better idea to change the filter more frequently due to increased contact with common pollutants like dirt and pollen," the mechanics advised.

It is recommended that people who live in areas with high levels of pollen, dust, and pollution, and those with regular wildfire seasons, should check and change them more often, according to AAA.

For more related content, check out The U.S. Sun's coverage of why drivers are just realizing the two key spots in their vehicles that need cleaning to improve odors.

The U.S. Sun also has the story on how a secret button could help some motorists be protected from a bioweapon attack.