Cabin Air Filters For Your Car — Building Barriers Against ‘Bad Stuff’

Anyone who suffers from asthma or allergies knows there’s no telling when and where those triggers can set off a fit of sneezing or coughing and wheezing in adults and children. Whether it’s inside your home or your car, asthma and allergy triggers are everywhere especially in the spring season when we routinely see a noticeable spike in pollen, dust, mold and other contaminants in the air.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), “no city is free from asthma triggers and some cities are more challenging places to live than others.” Similarly, in the case of allergies, says AAFA, “There is no place safe from allergies in America and some cities are more problematic than others.” (

Fittingly, therefore, each year AAFA asks the President of the United States to officially declare May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. And, the first Tuesday of May is World Asthma Day. This year it is May 6th.

While most people who suffer from asthma and allergies know they can use air filters to control the allergens in their homes, few are aware that there is a similar device for their vehicle. Called a “cabin air filter,” this device is especially designed by automakers to ensure that the air one breathes inside a vehicle is clean and free from environmental pollutants when the windows are rolled up.

More than 100 million vehicles on the road in the U.S. today are equipped with cabin air filters. The owner’s manual will tell you if your car is equipped with one or not. Typically, the cabin air filter is located behind the glove box, under the hood near the windshield or under the dash.

“Normally, while driving – especially if one happens to suffer from asthma or allergies – the tendency is to roll up the windows to prevent breathing in dirty outside air,” said Kevin O'Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications for MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters, supplier of a variety of automotive filters to the North American aftermarket. “However, if the car’s cabin air filter is clogged, the occupants inside could be breathing in six times the contaminants than they would had the windows been down.” O'Dowd said.

A clean cabin air filter keeps the air inside the car clean and protects the driver and passengers against the “bad stuff.” This could include both – the invasion of pollutants from the air outside as well as “blowing” the dirt residing within the clogged air filter back into the interior of the vehicle.

Purolator offers BreatheEASY® cabin air filters in two styles depending on the part number, said O'Dowd. One is a particulate filter, and the other is an upgrade to an activated charcoal filter that has the ability to filter out noxious gases and unpleasant odors. A used cabin air filter can be replaced with either type, regardless of which was installed by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Replacement is generally simple for a do-it yourselfer (DIYer) or professional technician and many Purolator BreatheEASY cabin air filters come with detailed vehicle-specific installation instructions. Most can be installed in approximately 15 minutes.

Also, available to everyone are the Purolator PROs—a team of experts who will answer any filter-related question from anyone, free of charge, via personal e-mail. Purolator PROs can be contacted through the Purolator Web site at The Web site also includes a wealth of information on every type of automotive filter, including online part number look up.

To learn more about Purolator filters and the filtration category, please visit

To learn more about Purolator Breathe Easy cabin air filters, please visit

A Dirty Cabin Air Filter
A Cabin Air Filter In A Glove Box