It’s Spring: Check Your Car’s Air Filters & Air Conditioning

Brian England, Thu, May 03, 2018

With the arrival of spring, we can look forward to our first hot days and lots of pollen!

So, what does this mean for your car? Well, to start, cars are great pollen collectors. In fact, if you brush up against your car, you can transfer some of that pollen right into the car with you! So, during the spring it’s important to keep your car clean. Additionally, to lessen the impact of pollen, you will want to check the cabin air filter as well as the efficiency of the air conditioning.

 

Car covered in pollen

 

In general, the cabin air filter should be changed about every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. For many drivers, that’s about once per year, so it’s a good idea to plan to have your cabin air filter changed in the spring. That way, you can start the season with a clean and efficient system.

In most cars changing the filter and cleaning the housing takes about half an hour. The average cost of a cabin air filter from an original equipment manufacturer is $30, but there are exceptions. There is a BMW cabin air filter that costs $65, and some vehicles that have two air filters.

If you are particularly sensitive to pollen, then you can buy special filters that are designed to filter out even smaller particles than a “normal” filter would. For example, Bosch sells special HEPA filters that are designed to filter out microscopic pollutants like pollen, mold and other common allergens down to 0.3 microns.

Of course, to keep the pollutants out, you will need to keep your windows closed, and on warm days, that means running your air conditioner. Keeping the windows closed not only helps keep pollutants out, but it will also enable the air conditioner to work efficiently. Importantly, to maximize efficiency, you will also want to set your climate controls to the recirculating air position.

On the first hot day of spring try out your car’s air conditioning. If it’s not 100%, then it’s time to have it checked. We’ve written several blogs and articles on the A/C system in your car. We’ve linked to a few of them below.

If you are unfortunate enough to require an A/C repair, choose your auto service facility wisely. It’s important that you pick a service center that uses quality parts and, above all, performs a long-lasting repair.
For example, if you require a new AC Compressor, it’s important to have the rest of the system carefully evaluated, or the compressor can fail again. This is because when the compressor fails, it can contaminate the rest of the system leaving tiny metal particles. If these particles are not flushed, out they will destroy the new compressor.
This is what happened to the compressor in the pictures below.  In this case the compressor oil level was low and metal in the system had to be flushed out.
Damaged AC Air Compressor - 1
Damaged AC Air Compressor - 3
Damaged AC Air Compressor - 2
Also, a compressor replacement should include a new drier or accumulator, a flush, and in extreme cases the installation of a filter to catch the fine metal particles.

So, Happy Spring! Enjoy the warm weather and the great seasonal colors. Plus, make sure your car is all set to protect you from all of that pollen!

If you need A/C service for your car, and live here in the Columbia, MD area, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment.

About Brian England

 

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care) got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in the northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD, and a few years later, started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. A big believer in preventive auto maintenance, Brian's philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of adhering to a regular maintenance plan.