Driving without a cabin air filter can have serious consequences for your health and the performance of your car. Without a filter, the air inside your car will be filled with pollutants, allergens, and other debris that can cause respiratory problems and reduce the effectiveness of your climate control system. It's important to replace your cabin air filter every February, before allergy season hits, to ensure that you and your family are safe and your car is running optimally. The most obvious consequence of not having a cabin air filter is poor air quality. Without a filter, pollutants such as diesel fumes and burnt oil will enter the cabin, as well as allergens that can cause sneezing and other respiratory problems.
In addition, small leaves and other debris can get stuck in the system, depending on how large the inlet is for fresh air. If you notice an unpleasant smell coming from the air conditioner, it's likely that your air filters are not working properly. The lack of a cabin air filter can also have an impact on the performance of your car. A clogged filter can obstruct the airflow, causing the fan motor to fail or sucking the filter out of its housing along with all the debris. This can lead to lackluster defrost and defrost performance, as well as reduced air conditioning and heating functionality.
In extreme cases, it can even cause an allergic reaction to the air coming out of the air conditioner. It's important to remember that replacing your cabin air filter isn't just about air quality - it's also a safety issue and a maintenance requirement for your climate control system. A good rule of thumb is to replace your cabin air filter every February, before spring allergy season hits, especially if you live in an area with lots of trees. While there's no direct impact on engine performance with a broken or malfunctioning cabin air filter, it's not advisable to drive without one.