Air Conditioning System Air Filter



When I last took my Honda in for service, the tech asked me if I wanted to change my air conditioning system air filter. I had never heard of such a filter and wondered aloud why it wasn’t a part of regular (15K/30K) maintenance. Then I asked what it would cost. $90 I was told and I begged off. Should I have replaced it? Is this a critical part? If so why isn’t it part of scheduled maintenance? I have some concern because I heard another tech asking the same question of another customer when I went to pick up my car that day. Are air conditioning filters in need of regular replacement? My car is a V-6 2002 Accord with 40K on it.


Many cars now have filters in the air conditioning ductwork. It serves the same purpose as a filter on a home heating and air conditioning system. If this filter becomes clogged, the air flow through the system will be diminished.

It may be possible to change this filter yourself at a lower cost. Auto parts stores may have an after-market filter. The owner’s manual on my Toyota 4Runner tells how to change this filter. Perhaps your owner’s manual may also have this information. As I said, this is a rather recent feature. The 2000 Ford Windstar that I used to own had this feature. It is a nice feature if you have allergies.


That’s a new one on me. My GMs both have cabin filters that do that job.
Mine don’t cost no $90 either.


Cabin filters ARE Air conditioner filters. It’s just termonolgy.

As for cost…$90 is EXTREMELY high. I just replaced the filter on my 4runner this weekend. Cost me $11 (which I think is very high also) and took me all of 5 minutes to replace.


Q: Is this a critical part?
A: Only if you expect your heater and a/c to work properly. A restricted airflow can lead to fogged windows, which can be a safety issue.

Q: If so why isn’t it part of scheduled maintenance?
A: Because some people want to do it themselves, and because other don’t know the answer to the question above.

Q: Are air conditioning filters in need of regular replacement?
A: Yes, although the replacement interval varies with the make of the car. The ultimate authority on this topic is sitting in your glove compartment. If you read the relevant section of your Owner’s Manual it will speak to this issue. And, the Maintenance Schedule that is in your glove compartment should give you the recommended replacement interval for your model.

As with so many automotive topics, reading the Owner’s Manual supplies very vital information.