How your cabin filter can help with hay fever

The weather may to be in two minds about it, but summer is officially here. It’s great news for most people, but it can mean itchy eyes, and rapid-fire sneezes: hay fever season.

A lot of people have allergies, typically to dust or pet dander, but hay fever specifically refers to allergies to the different types of pollen that periodically get released throughout the year. 

For those who suffer from hay fever, it can be very hard to find any sort of reprieve from the pollen onslaught – even medication can only do so much. Different pollens are more prevalent at different times, so hay fever can differ between people, with some being heavily affected during spring and others suffering through the later months of summer. In case you’re wondering, the general timescale for the different pollens, according to the Met Office, are: 

  • Tree pollen: March – mid-May
  • Grass pollen: Mid-May – July
  • Weed pollen: June – September

So, the hay fever season lasts from March to September, and while most people are only allergic to a few types of pollen, some really lucky ones are allergic to it all, meaning they get to enjoy all the delights of hay fever for a full six months out of the year. 

The air cabin filter 

The good news is that there is an easy-to-access safe space for those who suffer hay fever: your car. And it’s all thanks to the air cabin filter, the built-in protection system for outside pollutants. This wonderful little addition to modern cars acts as a type of sieve, catching pollutants (and pollen) from the air before they get filtered into the car’s interior, giving you a relatively pollen-free environment to enjoy whenever you want.  

The air cabin filter can usually be found just behind the glovebox – you’ll likely be able to access this if you need to, though you will need to first remove the glovebox itself to get to it (your vehicle's user manual should outline how to do this). 

Keep in mind though, this is not the same thing as your engine’s air filter – though it serves a similar purpose (just for the engine, rather than the cabin). The engine air filter keeps the air that is pumped into your engine for combustion clean and stops your engine from clogging up. This means that engine filters are incredibly important and should be checked, cleaned or replaced regularly to ensure that your engine is always running at 100%. 

The air cabin filter just affects the air quality for you (and your passengers). 

Replacing you cabin air filter 

While a clogged air filter won’t cause you any engine problems, it still pays to regularly replace your air cabin filter – the older your filter, the less air pollutants will be filtered out, which will result in lower quality air in the cabin.  

How often you should do this depends on a few factors: where you live, the amount of trees or grass around you, where you park your car etc., but generally, you want to replace your filter between every 15,000 miles – 30,000 miles, or every two years, whichever comes first.  

However, if you live in an area with a lot of pollution (a city) or you regularly park under trees, or if you just really struggle with hay fever, then it makes sense to equip yourself with a new filter ever year (best in the spring) to make sure your car is as pollen-free as possible. Signs your cabin air filter may need to be replaced include misty windows, or a musty smell inside the car.  

Replacing your cabin air filter is quite simple; there are a few guides online explaining how to do this. However, if you want to save yourself the hassle, then you can always book your car in for a service at your local Arnold Clark and one of our trained technicians will replace the filter for you. 

If you feel up to it though, here is a very general outline for replacing your cabin air filter: 

  1. Buy your replacement filter 
    Different makes and models have different filters, so make sure you get the correct filter for your car by using the Autoparts online parts checker – just pop in your registration and we’ll find the parts for your car for you!

  2. Locate your cabin air filter 
    Typically, it’s found behind the glovebox, but there are some vehicles that have the cabin air filter somewhere else (such as the bonnet). Your vehicle manual will give you all the details you need.

  3. Gain access to the filter 
    To actually reach the filter, you will probably have to dismantle parts of the glovebox – either the lid or the plastic surroundings. How to do this will be outlined in your car manual and will likely need a good screwdriver set (a few such sets can be found on as well, if you need one).

  4. Remove the filter 
    Before removing the filter itself, make sure to take particular notice of how it has been fitted. Remembering this will make fitting in the new filter that much easier, and some sites actually recommend taking a photo of the old filter before removing it as a reference point.

  5. Clean the area 
    There’s no point putting in a nice clean filter in if it’s surrounded by filth! Give the area a bit of a clean – if you have a cordless vacuum to hand, make sure to suck up as much debris as possible – and then wipe it all down with a damp cloth.

  6. Fit the new filter 
    Now that everything is nice and clean, pop in the new filter. If you took a photo before removing the old filter, make sure to use it for reference and check that your new filter is fitted correctly.

  7. Test the new filter
    Give your air con a test and make sure that everything is running smoothly.  

Congratulations, that’s your cabin air filter replaced! 

Looking to purchase a new cabin filter?  

We have a wide range of cabin and pollen filters available to purchase. You can use our registration lookup tool to see what product will suit your vehicle.   

Air For Life  

Your cabin air filter isn’t your only ally when it comes to the battle of hay fever – there are also some fantastic gizmos that help with all kinds of allergens. Air for Life offer a range of ionisers that target dust, pollen, and pet dander and don’t require any filters. Using a combination of NASA technology and human-friendly negative ions, these ionisers can be a godsend for those with sensitive noses. 

The Air For Life Car Sanifier is an easy-to-use plug-in ioniser that helps protect you from pollen, dust, and even bacteria and viruses – so you’ll be doubly safe! 

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Photo credit: Ratanapon Sangounsiritham via