How Much Does an Air Filter Cost? An Expert's Guide

A cabin air filter is an essential component of your car's arsenal, providing you with clean, non-toxic air to breathe. Many aftermarket air filters promise to increase power and acceleration by creating better airflow. The filters come in different sizes and shapes specific to certain vehicles, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The cabin air filter is usually located under the dashboard and behind the glove compartment, and the air that passes through it enters through the base of the windshield and does not pass through the engine. In the past, vehicles used to have several air inlets (intentional or not) that allowed air to pass through the front of the vehicle.

The Department of Energy (DOE) tested three vehicles - a Buick Lucerne, a Dodge Charger and a Toyota Camry - and compared their fuel economy and acceleration to a new, clean engine filter with the same characteristics as a clogged filter. If you drive most of the time in dirty or dusty environments, you should be aware that the filter needs to be changed more frequently than the recommended maintenance interval. If fanning the folds of the air filter with your hand causes dirt to fly out and your hand to get dirty, it's time for a replacement. Behind the glove box is a panel, which is held by pins or hooks, which is removed to access the cabin air filter. The engine control light can come on if the engine fails or shows a “poor” state, meaning that the mass air flow sensor is contaminated or has completely stopped working. The air that enters the vehicle mixes with the fuel in the combustion chambers, so it must be cleaned.

If dirt or other debris gets into the engine and engine oil, it could damage cylinder walls, piston rings, and other parts. If you search online for a replacement filter, you'll find that prices vary greatly depending on your vehicle's make and model. The most expensive filters are usually for “exclusive” brands such as BMW. The DOE tested three vehicles - a Buick Lucerne, a Dodge Charger and a Toyota Camry - and concluded that reducing airflow “had no significant effect on fuel economy” according to federal fuel economy testing procedures. Changing the air filter in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system regularly is critical to keeping it running efficiently and extending its lifespan. A good rule of thumb is to inspect the air filter (or have a mechanic do it for you) at least once a year.

Ericka Boughner
Ericka Boughner

Certified travel junkie. Infuriatingly humble twitter geek. Hardcore food scholar. Award-winning travel buff. Award-winning travel lover. .