Engine Air Filter vs. Cabin Air Filter

Mechanic holding up an Engine Air Filter

If you’ve heard the term air filter or cabin air filter, you may be confused about how the two parts differ. While they do sound like they’re one and the same, they play very different roles in allowing your vehicle to function properly. Take a look below to understand the difference between these pieces. And we’ll also answer other questions you may have, like:



  • How many air filters does a car have?
  • What are the details of the engine air filter vs. cabin air filter vehicle functions?
  • How often should you replace a cabin air filter vs. an engine air filter?

Cabin Air Filter vs. Engine Air Filter: Vehicle Function

So, how many air filters does a car have? Most vehicles will have two air filters, the cabin air filter, and the engine air filter. Take a look below to see what each one does and how to know when to replace them:

Cabin Air Filter

  • Function: Your cabin air filter is designed to keep the air in your vehicle clean. As air from the outside passes through the filter, it’ll be cleaned and filtered by the cabin air filter so that the air coming through your HVAC system is nice and fresh.
  • Signs You Need a Replacement: If you don’t replace your cabin air filter, you may notice a mildew smell or reduced airflow from your HVAC system.

Engine Air Filter

  • Function: As you’re driving around Columbia City, your engine air filter filters the air going into your engine. It’s vital you have clean air entering your engine to maximize performance and minimize wear.
  • Signs You Need a Replacement: Reduced engine performance, increased fuel consumption, or even a check engine light could all be signs that you need to replace your engine air filter.

Cabin Air Filter vs. Engine Air Filter: Replacement Intervals

It’s important to pay attention to both filters and look out for the signs and symptoms that they’re in need of a replacement. When you do notice that they need to be switched out, be sure to contact us or schedule a service appointment. Our service center technicians will inspect your vehicle, fix the necessary parts, and get you back out on the Columbia City and Fort Wayne roads in no time.

So now that you know the difference between the two, how often must each be changed? It’s always good to reference your owner’s manual for specifics, but here’s the general rule of thumb as far as replacement intervals go:

  • Cabin Air Filter: Replace around every 15,000 to 30,000 miles.
  • Engine Air Filter: Replace around every 30,000 miles.

Schedule Car Air Filter Replacements With Nissan of Warsaw!

Now that all our Plymouth drivers know the necessary information to take care of their vehicle’s filters, we trust that you’ll come to us when you need help or have any questions. Then when you’re ready to come to our Warsaw dealer, take a look at our service specials for more savings!


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