Munich. Birch and grass pollen, mould, dust: clean in-car air is an important safety factor for more people than just allergy sufferers. Symptoms including burning eyes and running nose can weaken drivers’ concentration and dull reactions. Cabin filters provide a healthy climate; however, few car owners change them frequently enough. Dirty filters not only impair air quality, but actually increase the amount of allergens in the car interior. TÜV SÜD’s experts have three helpful tips.
Virtually all new cars in Western Europe are supplied with cabin or pollen filters as standard; they can also be retrofitted for some models. However, unlike the engine‘s air and oil filters, cabin filters are often neglected. The TÜV SÜD experts recommend replacing the filters every 15,000 kilometres or once a year – preferably at the start of the pollen season. “It’s high time to change the filter – at the very latest – when a musty smell is noticeable as soon as the air-conditioning or ventilation is switched on”, warns Jürgen Wolz from TÜV SÜD. If no action is taken or the intervals between changes are too long, the filter clogs up. The consequences are less fresh air in the car, fogged windows and the growth of mould and bacteria in the dirt collected in the filter, causing unpleasant odours. This poor in-car air then causes car passengers to open their windows and sunroof, providing access for pollen – a vicious circle.
Smart combination: Simple pollen filters trap air-borne particles including particulate matter, fungal spores, diesel soot and pollen and prevent them from entering the car interior. Allergy sufferers benefit especially from this protection, which makes their lives easier and safer as the weather grows warmer. Additional protection is given by combined filters, which are coated with active charcoal. They also filter unpleasant odours and toxic gases such as ozone and benzene and prevent them from entering the car.
This state-of-the-art breathing air filter thus offers a host of advantages; the additional level of comfort allows allergic and non-allergic passengers alike to relax, making for safer travel.
Changing the filter: Changing a pollen filter is usually a simple matter that takes around a quarter of an hour. To find out where the filter is located, consult your vehicle’s manual; it is usually in the passenger footwell or in the engine compartment below the windscreen. Accessing the filter often involves no more than removing a cover held in place with screws or clips; the filter can then be removed and replaced with a new one. Note: Many filters function only in one direction. In this case, pay attention to the marking on the filter (AIR FLOW). After changing the filter, ensure the date and mileage on the clock are noted.
Correct parking: Although trees give shade, they also shower pollen on any vehicles parked underneath them. When returning to a parked car, it is wise to leave coats or jackets in the boot to avoid spreading the accumulated pollen on the rear seat.