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Understanding the Difference Between Cabin Air Filters and Engine Air Filters

Photo by Kayle Kaupanger on Unsplash

Air filters are a vital part of your car’s well-being. As we will see in this article, outside of keeping your vehicle clean, air filters are also useful for your health. And a bonus to that, we’ll also go over the differences between the two kinds of air filters in your vehicle’s system. 

There are 2 kinds of air filters.

One of them is the engine air filter, and the other one is the cabin air filter. We’ll give you brief summaries of both of the air filters and also provide some facts to each of the summaries, so that you will very easily distinguish them when the time comes for a change or when you are referring back to your owner’s manual.

Engine air filters:

What do they look like, and where are they located?

The shape of the air filter can vary from round to panel-shaped, depending on the vehicle. The engine air filters are located under the hood, near the front of the engine (most of the time.), and are covered by housing. There should be an opening in the housing that allows the engine to take significant volumes of air. 

What’s their usage?

The engine air filters are like your engine’s own vacuum cleaner. They protect the heart of your car from the debris and the tiny dust particles that can potentially damage it. Even a small amount of dust can be devastating for your engine.

Do they have to be changed?

Yes, just like most vehicle parts, engine air filters also need a regular check-up because they can eventually clog and reduce the performance of your car and increase the fuel consumption

Cabin Air Filters:

What do they look like, and where are they located?

Unlike engine air filters, these guys are located under the dash, generally in the area of the passenger seat, and resemble a panel-shaped object.

What’s their usage?

And instead of taking care of the engine, they take care of your well-being. If you don’t cough or sneeze in your car during your allergies season, it’s probably because the cabin filters are doing their job. Your ride will feel much smoother (for both you and the passengers) if your cabin air filter is in top shape.

Do they have to be changed?

If you don’t change a clogged or old cabin air filter, you’ll experience anything from weird smells to minor headaches. Check your owner’s manual to walk over all the steps.


If you drive on dusty or dirty roads frequently, you have to change and/or clean your air filters more often than the usual industry standard. Although they are fairly easy to maintain, a lot of drivers leave them to chance which leads to everything from mild to severe consequences.

The air filters may be tricky to fix sometimes, but luckily, with quality technician check-ups, you can avoid every problem and ensure your car’s top shape for the next adventure! Contact Dubwerx today for an appointment with our specialist technicians. We look forward to meeting you and your Audi, Volkswagen, or Porsche. We are located at 6323 Madison Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45227, and our hours are Mon - Fri: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM.


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