Does your vehicle have a cabin filter and when last was its unit replaced?

Is your car out of its service plan? If so, does it have a cabin filter and when last was its unit replaced? We spoke to Jacques van der Lely from Bosch SA to freshen up our knowledge of in-car breathing.

Most motorists in South Africa spend long hours in their vehicles, and would inhale copious amounts of noxious vehicle fumes, dust particles and pollen, were it not for cabin air filters. Such filters - not to be confused with engine air filters - have been standard issue on certain vehicles since the mid 'Eighties and today, very few models in South Africa don't have them.

Cabin filters are usually replaced whenever a vehicle is serviced at its dealership. But, when a vehicle's warranty period or service plan is over, some owners either have independent garages carry out maintenance or service their vehicles themselves. Thus, are cabin filters replaced as often as they should be - given that they are not as crucial to the basic operation of a vehicle as other automotive consumables such as oil, brake fluid, air or fuel filters? How long do they stay effective?

Recently, Bosch SA began a campaign to create awareness among consumers who may have a demand for aftermarket, independently fitted air filters, Van der Lely told

Depending on particular specifications, correctly installed

cabin air filters effectively absorb pollen, dust, bacteria and odours that are not only unpleasant, but may be detrimental to passengers’ health.

A standard cabin filter consists of micro-fibre matting in sandwiched layers, and absorbs dust, pollen, bacteria and contaminant particles. Activated-carbon filters, in turn, are claimed to protect against odours and harmful gases, such as nitrogen oxide (NO2).

“When driving a vehicle without a cabin air filter, one needs to close off the ventilation in conditions that could be unpleasant to the driver’s respiratory system,” Van der Lely said. “But drivers of most modern vehicles take the ostensibly clean, odour free air they breathe inside the cabin for granted”.

Bosch recommends that motorists replace its cabin air filters at 15 000 km intervals to ensure maximum effect. But what if some models have longer service intervals than 15 000 km? Some older vehicles are serviced perhaps once a year, irrespective of the amount of mileage that was covered in periods between services…

In response, Van der Lely told that although the life (or efficiency) of a cabin filter would depend on the prevailing climate and levels of air pollution in the area where the vehicle (it was fitted to) operated, he had seen evidence of cabin filters that had become completely clogged after 15 000km.

This was particularly the case in densely-populated urban areas that are affected by air pollution generated by industrial plants etc. “A dead giveaway that your cabin air filter has lost its effectiveness is that exhaust fumes and other outside odours will also become noticeable,” he said.

Please note that some vehicles available on the market may have two or more cabin air filters installed, Van der Lely added.

Bosch currently manufactures cabin filters that are compatible with over 90 per cent of contemporary European-manufactured vehicles. For example:

Mercedes-Benz CLK (W 208), SLK (R 170), A-Class, C-Class (W 202, W203), E-Class (W124, W210 + W211), M-Class (W 163) and S-Class (W220), BMW 3 Series (E36 + E46), 5 Series (E34 + E39), 7 Series (E32 + E38), M3 and M5, Alfa Romeo 155, 164, 145, 146, 156, 166, GTV + Spider, Audi 500, A3, A4, A6, A8 and TT, Lancia Delta and Thema, Saab 9000, Ford Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo, Peugeot 405, 605, 406, 806, 206, 307 and Boxer, Porsche Boxster and 911 Carrera, Renault Clio II, Mégane, Scénic, Espace, Laguna, Laguna II, Laguna II, Vel Satis, Kangoo and Safrane, Opel Calibra, Corsa, Astra, Zafira and Omega, Volkswagen Golf II, Golf III, Golf IV, Polo, Jetta, Passat and Sharan, Citroën Xsara, Picasso, Berlingo, Partner, Volvo 850, Honda Civic, CR-V and Accord, Fiat Multipla and Ulysse, Volvo C70, V70, S40, V40, S80 and V70, Nissan Almera, Primera and Terrano II and lastly, Smart.

Original article from Car