Today’s heavy duty trucks and drivers encounter all kinds of environmental challenges while on the road. Contaminants, allergens and other seasonal troubles can enter vehicles without a driver even cracking a window. If properly maintained, cabin air filters can benefit both driver and truck health by providing a barrier for these contaminants from entering the vehicle. Making cabin air filter replacement a part of your maintenance routine can help improve cabin air quality and HVAC system performance.
Routine Cabin Air Filter Replacement
A professional driver can spend up to 24 hours in his or her cab, which is why the air quality in this small space is so critical to a driver’s health. Bacteria, mold, pollen, diesel soot and other contaminants can enter the cab, whether through incoming fresh air or the HVAC system.
Roadside air contaminants are two to six times more concentrated inside the cab than they are outside. Inhaling this polluted air can cause distress and be a distraction, especially if a driver suffers from allergies or a respiratory illness.
Cabin air filters help filter out harmful contaminants before they reach the cab or affect the HVAC system, but over time these filters can become saturated with debris and need to be replaced. These filters should be changed every 50,000 miles or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Seasonal replacement is also encouraged for drivers who frequently experience severe temperatures or changes in climate.
Cabin air filter replacement is often overlooked, but another benefit of replacing this filter is that, in most cases, it can be done in 30 minutes or less. If you’re already in the bay for other work, it can’t hurt to have these filters inspected at the very least.
Warning Signs that Demand Cabin Air Filter Replacement
A common warning sign that may indicate your cabin air filter needs to be replaced is the airflow delivered throughout the cab. Saturated filters cause a restriction in airflow, which can affect the performance and operation of the entire HVAC system. This is particularly important during warmer months, when drivers rely on their air conditioning system most to keep them comfortable and alert.
Another common sign that may indicate a plugged filter is an unusual odor coming from the interior vents. An excessively contaminated filter can produce a dirty, musty smell throughout the entire cab. Plugged filters that have become moist can also create an environment that promotes the growth of mildew and such unpleasant odors.
Don’t ignore the warning signs. Be sure to inspect your cabin air filter, or have it looked at by a professional if you notice a pungent smell or that the airflow in your cab is less powerful than usual.
Cabin air filters may seem nonessential compared to the high technology systems on today’s trucks, but it’s important to make them a consistent part of your maintenance routine to improve air quality in your cab and maximize your HVAC system’s performance. Ignoring the warning signs will only worsen your cab’s air quality and may leave you with a bigger, more expensive problem than you had to begin with.