Since there was so much wildfire smoke in the air in August and September, we've had several people ask us if that would affect their engine air filter.
No, forest fire smoke won't do anything to your engine air filter. The smoke particles are so tiny, they just pass through the filter like other small particles. The smoke may irritate your eyes and lungs, but it's harmless to your engine.
However, most cars have a cabin air filter, which is designed to clean the air blown out your cabin air vents. This filter will remove the small particles that bother people and smoky air will shorten its life.
A lot depends on how often you use your heater and air conditioner, or even just turn on your fan. Also, most cars allow you to choose between ouside air or recirculating cabin air. When you recirculate the air, the filter is bypassed and not used. When you switch to bringing in outside air, your filter is engaged and this will eventually clog it up.
Some cabin air filters are conveniently located and easy to replace.
Generally, a cabin air filter will last a few years, depending on your inside/outside air setting, and how often you use your air conditioner, heater and blower fan. You'll know the filter needs replacing when it seems like you're not feeling enough air when you're set to outside air, but the air volume suddenly increases when you switch to recirculating the air. A clogged filter will reduce your comfort and make your blower, air conditioner and heater work harder. If you think your filter might need replacing, stop by and see us. You can also schedule an appointment online.