The engine air filter first featured on the 1915 Packard Twin Six. Over two decades later, the 1938 Nash Ambassador featured the first cabin air filter, but several decades passed before modern luxury cars featured them. Today, many economy and mid-range automobiles also offer cabin air filters. What does the cabin air filter do? How long does the cabin filter last? How do you replace the cabin air filter?
The engine air filter keeps dust and contaminants from getting into the engine, where it accelerates wear and forms performance-robbing deposits. Similarly, the cabin air filter prevents dust and pollen from getting into the passenger compartment, where it can cause all manner of performance-robbing effects on the driver and passengers. Just ask anyone who suffers from allergies.
Just as the engine needs to breath clean air, so do we, which is why our noses and throats have built-in filters to keep out most of whatever’s floating around in the air. Still, those who suffer from allergies know that nose hairs and mucus don’t cut it, especially when driving through several zones of airborne pollutants, such as pollen, dust, dirt, and soot. The road is also a smelly place, for which certain cabin air filters are well-suited.