Filter fanatics

We’ve all been guilty of not replacing the filters in our lives. This could be because of expense, lack of time or simply the belief that this is an aftermarket money spinner by manufacturers. We generally relate everyday filters to water, the kitchen extractor fan of the vacuum cleaner. And if we didn’t replace these, what’s the big deal, the water is fine from the tap and so it will take a little longer for the kitchen smells to go, we’ll just open the window.


What about car filters - this is sorted out with our MOT or at least with a service, isn’t it? Sadly not! There are 4 types of filters in your car. The oil filter, fuel filter, engine air filter and cabin air filter. None of these are standard in an MOT but an MOT can be upgraded with an oil and filter change. Be aware that this is only the oil filter. The fuel filter will be replaced with any car service (interim and full) and the engine air filter will be replaced with a full service.


What about the cabin air filter which is part of your air conditioning system and brings outside air into the cabin after filtering it? Studies are increasingly linking vehicle air quality with safety. Toxins in the air can affect concentration and mood, cause watery eyes, headaches and more which may lead to higher incidents of accidents.


Sounds important, so why isn't this standard? If you get a full service with a main dealer, they will replace the cabin filter as standard. However in the UK, we favour local garages for MOT and servicing, perhaps reasons of location or because they tend to be cheaper. According to Professional Motor Mechanic (PMM), there are 3 reasons why cabin filters aren’t replaced in the aftermarket as standard:

  • Customers won’t pay the extra charges

  • Some mechanics don’t know the location of the cabin filters or they are unsure how long it will take to fit (can be hard for a technician locate it if they don’t have specialist knowledge of the car they’re servicing)

  • Garage owners can exclude this from a full-service to enable their prices to be competitive

The guidance from manufacturers on replacing your cabin air filters is every 12-15,000 km but with variances such as driving in high polluted areas, you may need to change your filter more frequently. If we use the guideline figure of 15,000km as the lifespan of your cabin air filter, at a speed of 60km/h, a standard filter must refresh the equivalent of an average sized house up to 300 times a year (Denso, Jul 2020).

It is a scary thought that some of us are driving around without ever having changed the cabin filter once let alone every 15,000 km. It is crucial that more is done to raise awareness of vehicle IAQ and the impact this can have on our health and our ability to drive safely. Garages play a vital role in helping to educate customers. Filters can be expensive especially if you include labour so it is worth checking your car manual to find out if your cabin filter is designed to be replaced without any tools so you can do it yourself.


So what does this mean for Airbon? If your replacement cabin air filter doesn’t include an activated charcoal filter (most don't), the Airbon box can be used to remove the pollutants that are too small to be captured by a regular filter. As with all filters, the Airbon box will need to be replaced but this is a very economical and an easily accessible way to remove toxins from the air you breathe. To save you from having to remember to change your box, we offer a subscription service where we automatically send out replacements.