Ewwww, What’s that Smell – Replace Your Car’s Cabin Filter in Minutes



Driving two boys and a dog in the Handymobile several times a day can lead to some truly funky odors. The other day I found myself wondering what the latest funk could be attributed to. Was it the stinky socks and shoes left behind from water day at school?

stinky_shoes Or was it the countless remnants and crumbs that tumbled out of the kids’ mouths? snack_crumbs Or was it just a bad case of dog breath? doggie_breath There really is no telling exactly what causes the funk in my car. But, I can tell you that there could be one more culprit: very-dirty_cabin_air_filter That would be a filthy cabin air filter! This month I learned that it is easy to replace your car’s air filters. And just like you need to replace your home’s filters regularly, you should replace your car filters too! I’m embarrassed to say that I never changed my cabin filter. I just assumed the garage did it when they changed my oil four times a year. Well, I was sorely mistaken. I literally just had my oil changed this month and asked the mechanic if they automatically changed the air filter too. He answered, “Yes, ma’am. But, only if it needs it.” See, I figured I was fine. But, then I was contacted by Blogher and asked if I wanted to write a post about changing my car’s cabin air filter using a FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter. I was intrigued. And after watching the installation video on the FRAM Fresh Breeze website, I was confident knowing how to find the air filter. Okay, are you ready for this? This is the instructions for replacing your air filter on a 2003 Honda CRV. But, you can look up the instructions for your car here. Changing the cabin air filters was super simply! I can tell you that this took me under 10 minutes to do. And probably would have taken under 5 minutes if I hadn’t photographed every step. Here’s the pictorial how to guide, but you might want to look up the video tutorial for your specific car on FRAM’s website. Tools:

  • Two hands
  • Maybe a flat head screwdriver

Instructions: Open your glove compartment and empty it of all the squished granola bars, unused fast food napkins and salt packets, and that key that you were looking for 5 years ago! What, no gloves in my glove box? Whoever named it a glove compartment didn’t live in the south? open_glove_compartment Locate the stops (or glove compartment release levers) inside your glove compartment. stops_in_glove_compartment Pry the stops out and then remove them from the glove box. pull_stop_out Peek inside and look for the cabin filter cover. You might have to get down on all fours and look up into the dashboard. cabin_filter_housing Press the release lever and remove the cover. remove_air_filter_door Pull the first cabin filter out (your car may only have one filter, my car has two.) remove_old_filter Slide the tab for the second filter over to the left and remove it next. slide_remove_2nd_cabin_filter Hold your nose lest you sneeze your pollen-bombed head off: very-dirty_cabin_air_filter Yuck!!! Seriously, what constitutes “when needed” in the mechanics eyes! No wonder I sneezed every time I turned on the A/C in my car! We were breathing all that pollen, tree debris, dust and who knows what else. Bleck! close_up_dirty_auto-filter To remove the filter, pry up the old one and insert the new one in making sure the arrows are pointing down. remove_old_filter_replace Be sure to install the filters with the two tabs close together. line_up_tabs Re-insert the new filters by reversing the process of removing them. 1. Insert the first filter and slide it to the right. 2. Insert the second filter. 3. Replace the cabin filter housing door. 4. Press it firmly to lock in place. re-install_cabin_air_filters Lift the glove box back up and re-insert the stops. Press the stops in firmly to lock in place. insert_glove_compartment_stopsI can certainly breathe easier knowing that the new filters I installed are clean and will filter 98% of dust, dirt, and allergens. And the Arm & Hammer® Baking soda and charcoal filter will remove odors from the air entering our car. Sayonara cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes!

FRAM Fresh Breeze cabin air filters may be purchased online at Amazon.com or at your local Walmart, O’Reilly Auto Parts, or Meijer. ***Download a $3 off rebate***
You might like to follow FRAM Fresh Breeze on Facebook and Twitter for tips and discounts on cabin filters!

AND FRAM® is also giving away a $100 Visa Gift Card to one of my readers. All you have to do is follow the directions below letting me know what are your favorite tricks for keeping your air clean and healthy (home or car)?

 THE SWEEPSTAKES HAS ENDED. The winners have been notified via email.

*UPDATE: I’ve been driving around for a few days now and I can honestly say that the air in my car smells better and I haven’t sneezed once when turning on the air. PHGFancySign Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for FRAM via Blogher. I was sent two complimentary FRAM FreshBreeze Cabin Filters and compensation for my time. All images and copy are my own. I will always alert you when I am writing a sponsored post.



  1. My trick that keeps us living is our dogs get baths every 3 weeks. Without it my brain explodes!

  2. I probably need to do this because the insides of my car windows need to be cleaned.

  3. We just got a new Trane AC for our home last year and I am loving the ionized filter. I just have to take it out every few months and blow it with the air compressor. It also sucks all of the humidity and allergies out of the air. With a shedding dog and cat, I’m noticing less dust than before.

  4. Sharon Mochtyak says:

    Gosh, I had no idea that there even was such a filter. I am going to do that asap. I have been keeping a jar candle in my cup holder to make my car smell nice. Would much rather have a clean filter to clean the air instead of trying to hide it. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Mami2jcn says:

    I air out my house and my car by opening windows. I also have air filters at home.

  6. Mami2jcn says:


  7. Suzanne T says:

    We always change our indoor air filters on the first day of the month. It makes it easy to remember. I’ve never changed my car’s air filter though. I’m getting grossed out just thinking about what’s in there!

  8. We change the air filters often and open the windows every day

  9. Lisa Brown says:

    We just keep windows open in the car and house all the time.
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  10. Lisa Brown says:
  11. soha molina says:

    At home, I open the windows constantly and also use an air freshener.

  12. soha molina says:
  13. stephanie says:

    i keep the windows open

  14. stephanie says:
  15. Deidre Miles says:

    Thanks for this post! I never had thought about there being an A/C filter, but it totally makes sense! As far as the air filter that the mechanic checks when you get your oil changed, that would be your engine’s air filter. That filter is under the hood of your car and is easily changed as well. Changing the engine’s air filter yourself will save you $10-$20 at the mechanic when you get your oil change. I don’t think they ever check your A/C air filter unless you specifically ask them to. Now I’m off to check mine out! :)

  16. I keep baby wipes in the car, they come in so handy for sticky fingers and spills!

  17. I keep my windows open at home to bring fresh air in.

  18. Cynthia C says:

    I open windows to let in fresh air.

  19. Cynthia C says:
  20. Jessica To says:

    I change the air filters in my house every 3 months.

  21. Just want to second the comment about the engine air filter vs the cabin filter! The engine air filter is usually much bigger, so they’re easy to tell apart. Anyway, I have an air purifier but I’m going to look into a plugin ionized filter too!

  22. Last fall I bought my first new to me car since my youngest was in diapers(she is almost done with high school). My rule is no dog(s) and no one eats in my “new” car. So far, so good!

  23. i open up the doors and windows on days when the pollen count isn’t high outside…or the humidity…

  24. Christy H says:

    I keep wipes in my vehicle so while I’m going through the car wash, I wipe down all the surfaces I can reach!

  25. Sheila B. says:

    WOW! I never knew! Well, I knew there was an engine air filter…but a cabin one? I’m on it! 😀 Thank you so much! At home I keep the air as fresh as possible by replacing the furnace filter at regular (if not sooner) intervals through the year. Kansas gets pretty dusty so that is a critical element. But, my favorite, which is one I am implementing today in this gloriously tolerable 80 degree weather is to open windows to create a cross breeze. It really takes any musty smells and drives them out! :-)

  26. I change the air filters in my house every 3 months. I’ve got to go check my car cabin filter.

  27. We change our air filter monthly. That seems to help.

  28. Slightly embarrassed to admit it but I had no idea there was a filter to change. Oops. Definitely going to try this out, my car has been smelling less than fresh lately. I suppose I should do the same with our house too. Thanks!

  29. Change the air filter in your furnace often.

  30. I don”t think I’ve ever had this changed. Going to get a new filter tomorrow and change it out!

  31. Brandi Sims says:

    Open the windows & clean, clean, clean!

  32. Great information – I will definitely be downloading that rebate and getting a new filter ASAP! Our car stinks – now I think I know why! LOL! I use baking soda when we have spills, but it still never smells very fresh!

  33. Kelly D says:

    I open the windows as much as possible to let fresh air in and I try to use natural cleaning products to keep the air my family breathes healthy and fresh

  34. Kelly D says:
  35. I love smell good things like candles, air fresheners and just a clean house!

  36. I’d love to do this, however, I’m afraid it might void my warranty or something crazy like that. I had mine changed some time ago by the dealer & it didn’t help one bit & it was quite expensive. I’d love to but am thinking I better not. Great advice though, Thanks

    • Colleen, I’d ask a few dealers or a garage mechanic about that. Your warranty isn’t voided if you change your oil filter, so I doubt changing your air filter would void the warranty. Besides, how would they know? 😉

  37. Lora W. says:

    Well, apparently I’m not keeping the air clean in my car. Thanks for the great info! We each have an air purifier in our bedrooms that we run at night.

  38. Lora W. says:
  39. Erika Jones says:

    I keep a reusable trash bag in my car and empty it very time I get gas. I also keep a tub of baby wipes in the car for all those grubby hands and occasional spills.

  40. Shelley says:

    We change the air filter in our house once a month. I had no idea cars had cabin air filters. I can’t wait to go check mine out to see how dirty it is. Thanks for a great giveaway!

  41. I like to keep Yankee candle air fresheners in the car. I had NO idea there was an air filter other than under the hood! I cant wait to replace mine! You are awesome with these handy fixes… I Love You!

  42. I keep houseplants to help with keeping the air clean! :)

  43. Holy Cow! My husband bought a truck that has an unpleasant smell in it. We’ve been buying air fresheners to keep it under control. I had no idea that maybe the filter needed changing. I had no idea there WAS a filter! Thanks for this great tip!

  44. Dorothea says:

    I buy filters for my heating and cooling system that are good for a year, but as an easy reminder, I replace the old filter with a new one when the seasons change – in June when the air conditioner needs to be turned on, I put in a new filter, and again when the furnace needs to be turned on in November.

  45. Debbie C in MN says:

    I am doing this today! Up till now I just opened windows which of course is good but now I want to see what my cabin filter looks like! Thanks!

  46. Changing filters regularly is a great tip! It just gets rid of so much junk.

  47. Let me say, I had absolutely NO IDEA you could change a filter! How could I not know this? I try to keep all garbage OUT of the car, and since my Boston rides with me almost everywhere, I make sure to vacuum often and keep an air freshener in the car at all times!

    • Me too, DianeB! I don’t have any idea how to change the filter. This site has taught me so much. This is a perfect site to learn how to become handy at all times. Thanks a lot! :-)

  48. News to me, thank you for the tip I plan on changing mine this weekend!

  49. Lisa Kubin says:

    I did not even know that there was a cabin air filter in my car. Running out to buy a Fram filter! My car is relatively new but always smells bad I have tried all kinds of air fresheners. Hope this solves my problem. Thanks for sharing and the chance to win!
    Lisa K.

  50. I am so glad I happened upon your blog. Thank you for your clear instructions as well as the photos. It make me feel that the project is ‘do-able’.
    For our house, my husband vacuums out the vents that a/c & heat flow through. We got a type of filter that has some extra properties. ( Wish I knew the official name!). He takes them outside and cleans them well. After they completely dry, he puts them back. He says he notices a difference in the air right away.
    We have an air cleaner in one room also. I don’t know about his car filter. He has a Honda accord 2004. So I will show him your instructions!

  51. courtney b says:

    lots of air freshners, we like scentsy – and opening the windows to let the breeze in

  52. courtney b says:
  53. amy pugmire says:

    I like to dust weekly and wipe down my car as well. and chance the filters regularly.

  54. amy pugmire says:
  55. Tweet: https://twitter.com/OneFrugalGirl/status/352555219298689027
    onefrugalgirl AT gmail DOT com

  56. Stick used dryer sheets in hidden places. It helps things smell fresh.
    onefrugalgirl AT gmail DOT com

  57. I did not even know this was a thing! I just use the febreze air fresheners and try to dust when i notice it. The pollen is so bad where I live I always sneeze turning on my car in spring. My filter is probably disgusting!

  58. Linda J says:

    Thanks for sharing this. My car will now smell new again…

  59. Shawn B! says:

    Once heard that rule of thumb is a plant per room, to keep your air quality pure!

  60. Cindy C. says:

    I have a 2006 Chrysler van. This will definitely be a project for this weekend.
    Two teenage boys and all their friends I cart around to and from football, weightlifting etc. plus a 65 pound dog can add up to SMELL.

    A few years ago, I found the greatest sanitizing, germicidal product. Admittedly, it is initially expensive; but it’s worth it’s weight in gold.


  61. Susan Smith says:

    I didn’t know my car had an air filter. I keep my car fresh by using an air freshner and keeping the garbage out of my car.

  62. Susan Smith says:
  63. June Lisle says:

    I generally just air out my home and care with open windows and maybe air freshener.

  64. June Lisle says:
  65. Barbara says:

    I love to open my windows whenever the weather permits…..just love fresh air. Another clean air feature is that my husband does regularly change the furnace filters. That’s not only good for the furnace but for our health, too.

    Thanks, Brittany for the opportunity!

  66. Nataly Carbonell says:

    I try to keep both my car and home clean and humid free and smelling fresh, I spray air fresheners and lit up candles. I also turn on the air purifiers sometimes.

  67. Nataly Carbonell says:
  68. Took your advice and bought a new car air filter today to swap out the old one. I can’t remember when the last time it was replaced. Guess what, it’s missing from my car! I have to go back and look in my repair files to see when it was supposed to be done. Took all of ten minutes, start to finish and I stopped to stamp my feet over the missing one from the car.


  69. Jessie C. says:

    I mix lemon juice and water in the spray bottle and spray around our home and car once a week to help.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  70. Jessie C. says:


  71. Julianne Johnson says:

    That’s great! I will have to check my filter!

  72. Julianne Johnson says:
  73. tiffany lane says:

    Had no clue my car hd a air filter..I open my windows frequently

  74. tiffany lane says:
  75. I air out the house my opening up windows. I also use an air purifier. :)


  76. pam in illinois says:

    I am so glad for this post! I had a terrible smell coming from my air conditioner. I didn’t even know there was a filter in my car! Unfortunately, I can not find the filter for my car anywhere. There isn’t even a slot for it in the store.
    I guess I will have to try and find one on line but some of the places I looked said it wasn’t available. There is one for my car but not in stores .
    So my hunt is on!

  77. June S. says:

    I use scented candles to help my home smell fresh & clean.

  78. Adrienne Gordon says:

    in the car, always try and leave my windows open when we get home.

  79. Clean ceiling fans often, it’s amazing how much dust and grime they accumulate and consequently spit around the room when they are on.

  80. Starr Greenwell says:

    I have my air conditioner filter in my car changed regularly and I have a large filter on my air/furnace at home and change it in spring and fall.

  81. sherri crawford says:

    i will fill a small bowl with baking soda and set it out to absorb odors

  82. We use  air fresheners. 

  83. twitted this today, 09/07

  84. Margaret Smith says:

    we like to open our home and car windows when possible. We also like to use air freshners and light scented candles at home.
    Thanks so much.

  85. Margaret Smith says:
  86. I use an air filter in the house to keep the air fresh

  87. Stephanie says:

    I change the house air filters twice a year and have the a/c units checked and cleaned annually. I also try to open the house up to fresh air as much as I can when the weather cooperates!

  88. nannypanpan says:

    my trick at home is to use baking soda to naturally absorb odors and i love to leave windows/doors open

  89. I make sure my filters are changed regularly as well as keeping up with dusting, vacuuming, etc.

  90. Angela Kinder says:

    We change the window AC air filter and make sure that all the fans are clean. We probably need to change the car’s air filter.

  91. We open the windows to air out the house, when its nice out and regularly change our filters.

  92. Mary Calabrese says:

    I always remove my trash at the end of each drive. Nothing gets by!

  93. Denise S says:

    I crack open windows whenever the weather is good enough and change the furnace filter once a month.

  94. Wild Orchid says:

    We always have the windows open when the weather is pleasant to let the fresh air inside.

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  95. Wild Orchid says:


  96. Margot C says:

    I don’t do much. In the house I open the windows. what I NEVER do is add so-called “air fresheners” – blech! Now I will change that car filter thingy though; that looks doable. Thanks!

  97. Margot C says:
  98. i use homemade cleaners around the house!

  99. Cathy Truman says:

    Open the windows as often as I can and change filters every month.

  100. Christina Sparks says:

    I use an air Air ioniser and dust every other day

  101. Open windows and homemade Febreze! :)

    chambanachik at gmail dot com

  102. Stephanie V. says:

    open windows when I can, change air filters

  103. mickeyfan says:

    We recently had our home’s air ducts cleaned. Now THAT was gross–seeing what came out. And this filter in the car? Who knew there even was one?

  104. Jennifer B says:

    at home I try to keep lots of plants in the house , that helps with air quality

  105. Barbara M says:

    I like to diffuse Purification essential oil – big help!
    Thank you.

  106. Barbara M says:
  107. Anastasia says:

    I try to keep the air fresh by keeping it circulating Open windows to let in an outside breeze. Use fans to spread that breeze around, pushing new air in and old air out

  108. Anastasia says:
  109. I replace my filters 2x a year.

  110. I use Febreze in my car to help with smells, works well too!

  111. Karen Gonyea says:

    We open windows as often as possible and vacuum a lot to pick up dander and dust !!

  112. i use candles in the house

  113. Stephanie Larison says:

    We use lots of candles in the house

  114. i run my fan a lot to circulate air

  115. Shemp DeYoung (@shempgames) says:
  116. Janna Johnson says:

    using an air purifier with a hepa filter

  117. We have an air purifier in our house. I love how it works!

  118. Shannon says:

    I believe in lots of indoor plants!

  119. Shannon says:
  120. Jacob LaFountaine says:

    Quick wipe with moistened wipes

  121. We run two air purifiers in our house.
    dolniaks at consolidated dot net

  122. we have the air ducts cleaned

  123. Jennifer says:

    We change our furnace filter monthly, even the expensive kind. With 4 animals and 3 humans in our house any dust and dander we can get that way, helps.

  124. ~I’ve always been happy with air purifiers that have HEPA filters~

  125. Kyl Neusch says:

    open up my windows

  126. Debbie B says:

    I use an air purifier

  127. Debbie B says:
  128. joseph gersch jr says:

    we use an air purifier in house

  129. Betsy Barnes says:

    For the car odors, I keep a box of baking soda under the seats of the car. :)

  130. Betsy Barnes says:
  131. Heather S says:

    I keep my windows(with screens) open often to naturally air out my house. Nothing replaces fresh air. I also have my car cleaned out and detailed once a year, vents and all!

  132. Heather S says:
  133. We have an air purifier and HEPA filters in our furnace. When the weather is nice I open the windows.

  134. I try to keep the windows open on days where it is not too cold or too hot in order to get new air in and smelly stuffy air out.

  135. Lisa V. says:

    We use carpet deodorant when vacuuming as we own pet.

  136. s riches says:

    One thing I do is to clean the litterbox every day.

  137. Linda Brooks says:

    I use air fresheners to help keep the house smelling clean

  138. Linda Brooks says:
  139. I roll the windows down whenever we drive home (lots of trees). Hopefully that fresh air pulls the stink from the back seat where my 2 boys sit! (sometimes it even works)

  140. Thanks! I didn’t know there was such a thing. I found out my car doesn’t have a cabin filter but there is an easy mod. No more spring mildew smell!
    -Andrea, RealPracticalHousewives.com

  141. LAMusing says:

    We have an air purifier at home. In the car I just roll the windows down 😛

  142. I never even thought about the car air filters! I usually use car air fresheners, but I’ll have to have my daughter look up the filter instructions!

  143. my favorite tricks for keeping air clean and healthy in my home is changing the air con filer often. Wow, totally didn’t think of my car’s filter need to change at all until your post. Great tips and step by step in using the FRAM! Now, I better get one quick! Appreciate your post!

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  144. Selene M. says:

    The obvious is the best – keep those filters changed regularly!!

  145. That had never crossed my mind, but my car desperately needs that filter replaced! I’ll look into this weekend.

    Clean air in my house is a combination of replacing the a/c filter often, keeping the ceiling fan blades clean, and scooping the cat boxes daily.

  146. April V. says:

    We keep the house full of plants – they’re the best air filter there is. Sadly, I’ve never changed the cabin filter in my car. I’ve changed an air filter on an old car but that was in the engine and I believe a different part altogether. I’m going to look into this!

  147. i use plants in the house to keep air healthy!

  148. Rebecca Graham says:

    In the summertime, I open the windows.

  149. diane Baum says:

    I fill my house with plants

  150. Marcia Goss says:

    Trash, especially from fast can really make your car smell funky, so keep your car cleaned out.

  151. Marcia Goss says:
  152. ky2here says:

    Do extra cleaning – treat the problem, not the symptom. You don’t need lots of aromas if you’ve removed the source of the odor.

  153. ky2here says:
  154. Erica Best says:

    it helps when the window is open and plug ins

  155. Erica Best says:
  156. Janice Cooper says:

    Changing the filter and using plug-ins

  157. Janice Cooper says:
  158. Samantha Daleo says:

    I try to keep my car fresh by cleaning it and wiping the seats down. I also make sure the air filter is changed on every oil change. As far as my home, so far all I am doing is vacuuming and dusting but I am enjoying all of the tips and ideas from your blog post as well as your readers comments.

  159. tina reynolds says:

    We open the windows in the house and the car and of course baking always adds a fresh smell to the house.
    Thanks for the chance.

  160. tina reynolds says:
  161. Jennifer says:

    as a single mom, I am always crunched for time, especially in the mornings, so this looks like a great way to treat myself and not lose time!

  162. Rosanne says:

    Pretty simple no cigarette smoking no pets and keep kids to a minimum. Then open the windows

  163. My trick for keeping the air clean in my home is keeping the air filter changed, making sure I dust and vacuum a couple of times a week, and running the hepa filter on my Rainbow vacuum.

  164. open windows usually

  165. Ali Rylands says:

    Air freshener is always key!!

  166. I like to use air fresheners and open windows to let fresh air in.


  167. Linda G. says:

    love the fresh air, open windows whenever possible

  168. heather says:

    clean the windows and open them clean the car

  169. Becky Richied says:

    I am constantly going around and cleaning filters in the house, it’s amazing how quick they collect dust.

  170. Daniel M says:

    keep cleaning or changing the air cleaner filters

  171. Ellie W says:

    We replace out filters often and we also use an air purifier. We have several allergy sufferers here.

  172. Ellie W says:
  173. Peter G says:

    I get the vents and dryer vent cleaned professionally once a year. I change all the filters and have an air purifier in the house.

  174. My best tip for keeping air clean is to regularly change your filters and keep a clean car/home!

  175. I use febreeze and let things air out

  176. tracey byram says:

    I use natural cleaning produucts and oil burners

  177. The biggest thing I do to keep my home air clean is to not use conventional cleaners for home or body, and that includes avoiding typical air fresheners too. I buy all green everything.

  178. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    I use air fresheners and try to clean my car out once a week

  179. Amanda Sakovitz says:
  180. kathy pease says:

    I like to burn scented wax melts in an electric crock

  181. kathy pease says:
  182. Tim Moss says:

    Change or clean the filters in the air conditioner in the house for better performance.

  183. Betty C says:

    I don’t have a cabin filter in my car but I sure would like to have one. I rely on open windows when the weather permits.

  184. Betty C says:
  185. Tabathia B says:

    I open the windows and use candles

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  186. Tabathia B says:

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  187. susan smoaks says:

    To keep the air clean at home we have lots of green house plants.

  188. Mihaela D. says:

    We open the windows in the house and the car and use Febreeze

  189. thischickwins says:

    regular cleaning and throwing out your garbage frequently sounds simple but its what works

  190. Thomas Murphy says:

    I change filters ofter and use febreeze.

  191. Thomas Murphy says:
  192. lots and lots of lysol to keep my room clean.lol

  193. Lisa Garner says:

    I love using a little essential oil on an old car air freshner.
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  194. Lisa Garner says:

    I Tweeted: https://twitter.com/lisalmg/status/362682016191348737
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  195. I open the windows whenever possible.

  196. Sarah L says:

    I use essential oils in a diffuser in my house and in a cotton ball in my car.
    Thanks for the contest.

  197. Sarah L says:
  198. Christine D says:

    In my car, I keep my windows down while the car is in the garage. In my house, if the weather is nice, the windows and sliding glass doors are opened. Otherwise, I use fragrant candles. Mop my floor with a nicely scented cleaner. In the bathroom, I use pretty stick diffusers

  199. Heather S says:

    lysol and air purifier

  200. Deborah Anderson says:
  201. Deborah Anderson says:

    change filters often & open windows whenever possible

  202. I know it’s counter-intuitive, but the slightly-dirty air filter actually does a better job at catching pollen and dirt than a clean one.

    The filter is a bunch of fibers in a sheet that all the air gets sucked through. If there’s a little bit of dirt in the filter, that actually makes it better at trapping particles than if it’s just the filter paper/cloth/foam. (The new dirt gets stuck in clumps with the dirt that’s already there.)

    Think about a dirty sink strainer–are you worried about it letting more food bits into your drain when it gets clogged? No. It just stops draining eventually. The problem with dirty air filters is likewise: if there’s too much dirt in the filter, it’s harder and harder for your HVAC blower to pull air through. twigs and leaves are definitely a problem–but they won’t necessarily make your car smelly and they don’t make it dusty.

    If there’s a bunch of stuff in the filter that’s growing even tinier particles–like mold–that doesn’t get stopped by the filter anyhow, replace the filter ASAP. In that case, you’re just giving yourself a fresh blast of mold spores every time you turn on the fan. That’s not something that should normally happen, though–unless your air filter is getting wet and not drying out for some reason.

    In industrial applications, they use a restriction gauge to tell you how much air is getting through the filter–when it’s too difficult for the fan to pull air through, you replace the filter. Passenger cars don’t typically have that sort of indicator, but it’s not hard to tell if your HVAC system is having a hard time blowing at full capacity. If the filter is mostly clean except for twigs and leaves, and doesn’t have anything growing on it, you can safely shake it off and re-install it. If there’s a thick, caked-on layer of dust, it’s probably clogged enough to make replacement worthwhile (unless you really feel like vacuuming it out for some reason.)

    Another case that gets me to replace a filter right away is rodents. Feces and urine can foster viri and bacteria that won’t get stopped by the filter, so if you notice a rodent problem anywhere else in your car, definitely check the cabin air filter.

  203. When your mechanic says he changed your air filter he means the one that filters air entering your engine that’s used for fuel combustion. Cabin filter also known as polen filter or inner space filter is something most mechanics are not really concerned about since it doesn’t affect your car performance. Your best bet is to chance it yourself which in most models shouldn’t cost you more than 20 dollars and 5 minutes of your time. It’s best to change it every 15-20k miles or more often if you drive in dusty conditions (pretty much the same as the air filter).


  1. […] 8. Change the Air Filters – Keep the car smelling great and help your HVAC system run more efficiently by changing your air filter with every 1-2 oil changes. This is an easy DIY job, learn how to change your air filters here. […]

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