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#4455439 - 07/10/17 04:20 PM True Story about Cabin Air Filter
Smokescreen Offline

Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 3232
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I was riding with a friend of mine with a 2009 Ponitiac G5 on a particularly hot day of more than 95F, well too hot for me. As he fired up the car he cranked the A/C and a little bit of cool-ish air petered out. I asked him if his fan was working correctly and he said on a previous trip he had the system pressure tested and the fan is working on all speeds and then charged him a fee (..of course) as he and his kids were quite uncomfortable during the trip.(115F)

I asked him when was the last time he changed his cabin air filter and he replied he had no idea what that was. As I explained its purpose, I opened his glove box and confirmed he had one. We pulled into a car parts store and I proceeded to remove his cabin air filter for inspection. It was the.most.nasty filter I had ever seen. It was stiff and the pleats were spread wide open, with each one more than 3/4 full of silt, with leaves and bug on top so that all the top of the filter was covered. It was a factory original completely choking off the airflow.

I said to him, I believe I have found your problem and we proceeded to purchase a new filter. Upon beholding a new filter next to the old he could not believe it. I mentioned that with increased airflow not only would his A/C work to its potential, but in the winter he would get more heat velocity. He promptly offered to buy me blizzard and sang my praises all the way back to the road trip origin.

Moral of the story, when you acquire a used vehicle, check the cabin air filter along with all the other items in the once over.
09 Corolla 1.8L-370Kkms(231Kmi)-PP,Denso
05 LeSabre 3.8L-210Kkms(131Kmi)-Sopus,Wix
03 Sierra 2500 6.0L-204Kkms(127Kmi)-Sopus,Wix

All with mpg > EPA

#4455447 - 07/10/17 04:27 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Smokescreen]
69GTX Offline

Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3684
Loc: Connecticut
Changed my first ever cabin air filter in 2015 thanks to Bitog (13 yr old car)....after nearly 40 yrs of driving. Who knew?

My 18 year old car doesn't have one....not that it matters much seeing is it's parked inside 99.5% of the time.

2002 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 81K mi /PPlat 5w30/FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs

#4455449 - 07/10/17 04:27 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Smokescreen]
AirgunSavant Offline

Registered: 07/22/15
Posts: 3588
Loc: MD
Good for you helping him!!!
I did the same on my mothers Mitsubishi Outlander at 32k miles and
I was surprised it looked super clean.. Replaced it anyway..

#4455469 - 07/10/17 04:59 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Smokescreen]
slacktide_bitog Offline

Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 5630
Loc: USA
my car doesn't have one cylon

#4455470 - 07/10/17 04:59 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Smokescreen]
Bud Offline

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 1547
Loc: Texas
Change mine yearly after spring pollen season.
2016 Honda Pilot EX-L with NAV.....Mobil 1 0w20 AFE and Ultra XG7317

#4455483 - 07/10/17 05:10 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Smokescreen]
SpecM Offline

Registered: 10/08/14
Posts: 49
Loc: NC, USA
He took the car to a shop and they didn't check it?

At my shop, we ALWAYS check HVAC filter during any inspection/test/diagnosis of the blower OR A/C. Its too easy to check, and it can make a big difference in HVAC performance (as you found out!)

Plus, its an easy sell. Most cars: .2h labor and $15-25 for the filter. (that's what I charge anyway)

Edited by SpecM (07/10/17 05:11 PM)

#4455484 - 07/10/17 05:12 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Bud]
webfors Offline

Registered: 06/06/06
Posts: 4595
Loc: Great White North.. eh
Originally Posted By: Bud
Change mine yearly after spring pollen season.

Bingo. The OEM maintenance schedule is too long IMO. I pulled ours out of the Honda after 2 years and it was nasty. What a difference in air quality.
17 ATS 2.0T AWD, Bulk 5w30, PF64 OF
17 Dodge GC, PP 5w30, Defense OF
15 DL650, RT6 5w40, OEM OF
Small engines; RT5 10w30

#4455505 - 07/10/17 05:29 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Smokescreen]
chiefsfan1 Offline

Registered: 09/27/14
Posts: 1152
Loc: Missouri
Change mine every year. The get really nasty.
MacBean Clan Motto: Touch Not A Catt Bot A Targe. (Don't touch this cat without a shield).

2011 Toyota Camry XLE 2.5 I4
2014 Escape SE 1.6 EcoBoost AWD

#4455536 - 07/10/17 06:14 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Smokescreen]
E150GT Offline

Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 1018
Loc: San Antonio, TX
I can't image what it looked like. If mine looked like this at 20k miles, his must have been awful.
20170614_132655 by JOHN, on Flickr
1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD - 100k
1995 F150 XL 4.9 reg cab 5 speed - 247k 5w30
2016 Mazda 6 manual 6speed - 46k 5w30

#4455566 - 07/10/17 06:50 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Smokescreen]
Linctex Online   content

Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 5211
Loc: Waco, TX
I wonder why the 2000's era F150's never got one?
"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."

#4455645 - 07/10/17 08:15 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Linctex]
HangFire Offline

Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 2505
Loc: Central Maryland
Originally Posted By: Linctex
I wonder why the 2000's era F150's never got one?

I wonder why my '99 Taurus never got one, until I "changed" the filter... and found it was missing from the factory.

That car had so many issues, must have been a Monday morning or Friday afternoon car.
Various musings:

#4455657 - 07/10/17 08:26 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Smokescreen]
i_hate_autofraud Offline

Registered: 05/19/16
Posts: 675
Loc: Canada

Ditto on the cabin filter for sure! Everyone's driving conditions are different, mine has not loaded
up but cleaned it and used it again no prob!

I'd like to see a "cold air return" filter to keep inside car dirt and dust
off the A/C evaporator that can easily stick, get wet and lead to smells and mould!

I took a large new scotchbrite pad, cut to shape and fitted it over re-cir intake under the dash
and at the end of the year, it has stuff on it!

#4455753 - 07/10/17 10:04 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Smokescreen]
oilmutt Offline

Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 417
Loc: Connecticut 06033
The 2005 Malibu does not come with cabin air filter,through trial and err i found the 2005 Saturn Ion, Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G6 fit just fine.To this day when the wife takes the Malibu to the dealer they refuse to install a cabin air filter because GM says they don't make one for her car.
'05 Chevy Malibu 6cyl,119k, Syn. Oil (owned)
'16 Toyota Camry,4cyl 9k Syn Oil (owned)
'05 Saturn Ion, 4cyl, 191k, Syn. Oil (managed)

#4479792 - 08/05/17 10:57 AM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: oilmutt]
Kira Offline

Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 4768
Loc: Champlain/Hudson Valley
Lots to say....old timers won't change their ways.

A thoughtful, macro intelligent, successful man with a 2002 Saab 9-3 for sale used a posh repair shop in his posh neighborhood.

We bought the car and found the original CAF (126K) easily reachable under the plastic cowl.

MAYBE the errant instruction of "remove the wiper arms" scared the mechanics into silence....or they just didn't think that way.

#4480150 - 08/05/17 07:09 PM Re: True Story about Cabin Air Filter [Re: Smokescreen]
Errtt Offline

Registered: 11/14/10
Posts: 2780
Loc: California
Had a neighbor who had taken her SUV in to get the AC serviced because of practically almost no air flow couldn't cool her at all. She got charged by the tech doing a system check only to tell her her system was fine. Drove off and no better. Later took into a shop and they replaced a nasty CAF. All better now except the $$ put out for all this.
Right after the CAF replacement, next day she came over telling me about it - she didn't know about any CAF and wanted to know if there was such a thing. Live & learn
add - sure wished she would have spoke up 1st

Edited by Errtt (08/05/17 07:11 PM)
Edit Reason: add

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