What Happens When Your Car's AC Filter is Dirty?

Learn about what happens when your car's AC filter is dirty and how Firestone Complete Auto Care can help.

What Happens When Your Car's AC Filter is Dirty?

A dirty air filter can have a major impact on your car's performance. It can cause the engine to work harder and less efficiently, resulting in reduced fuel economy and dirty emissions. In extreme cases, it can even lead to complete power loss. One of the most common signs that your cabin filter needs to be replaced is reduced airflow from the air conditioning system grilles.

This is because the filter is either dirty or clogged, which restricts the amount of air that can pass through and requires more effort from the engine. Not only will this cause the air conditioning system to operate less efficiently, but it can also cause the engine to run less efficiently. If you haven't cleaned or changed the filter in a long time and your air conditioner doesn't blow cold air like before, it could mean that the system has frozen due to restricted cold air flow. A dirty air filter also makes the AC fan motor work harder, which can cause it to burn out and need to be replaced.

In addition, a clogged cabin air filter works less efficiently and consumes more energy, putting a strain on your alternator. It also cannot capture particles efficiently, leading to a dirty and smelly cabin. A decrease in fuel consumption is often a sign that something is wrong. A dirty filter can reduce oxygen flow, forcing your vehicle to burn more fuel to compensate.

Not only will this increase your expenses at the pump, but it can also be expensive if you have a mechanic working on the cabin air filter. And a musty smell inside your car isn't the only potential problem that can arise from an old cabin air filter. It can also affect your air conditioning system and have a strong impact on the power of the entire vehicle. If you're in the car for a long trip and you notice that the air doesn't seem to move no matter how high you raise the air conditioner, it could be a sign that the filter is clogged. You may also notice an increased amount of dust and allergens in the cabin if you are allergic.

This is because a clogged cabin air filter works less efficiently and cannot capture particles effectively. Replacing your cabin air filter may seem simple, but it's an important part of scheduled maintenance services as it can help ensure your vehicle performs as it should. Unfortunately, many people neglect this recommendation and don't change their cabin air filter for much longer than recommended. This is likely because they do not understand the real dangers of doing so. The most serious risk for anyone who does not change their cabin air filter is an acute failure of a major vehicle safety system that will be very expensive to repair. Alternatively, take your car to a Firestone Complete Auto Care near you to have a professional technician ensure your cabin air filter is fresh and clean.