For the owner of a fleet of vehicles, taking care of each one isn't a matter of choice. Getting the best performance and efficiency from the fleet means keeping them in the best possible shape at all times. Saving mileage by keeping your filters doing there job is something very few folks realize they can do.
Not only are you getting regular oil changes, keeping the tires aired up, and inspecting for damages after each return, you also need to think about how to maintain the little details of each car. Vehicles are finely tuned machines and every aspect has a part to play in efficiency and power drain.
While most fleet owners know that the AC can reduce your mileage and up the price of every trip, not everyone realizes that there is a way to both boost your AC power efficiency and the work environment for your drivers.
Your car has two air filters and you may only be changing one of them when you do your regular engine maintenance on each vehicle. For good quality air inside the cabin of your car, you need to change your internal air filter about every 15,000 miles.
For the average American driver, that comes out to about once a year but your fleet will probably need more frequent
changes because they work on the road. Missing even one year of maintenance is inadvisable but many vehicle owners drive the entire lifetime of the car without changing the cabin air filter once.
It's no wonder some vehicles get a lingering musty smell that just won't go away. It's probably the air filter.
Engine Air Filter
The engine air filter is the filter one most people know about when asked to list the parts of a car. Its purpose is to clean air that is used to run through the engine. A clogged engine air filter leads to low efficiency because it blocks a clear passage of air through your engine.
This filter is also always included in the users manual and regular check-ups with your mechanic should keep you replacing it on time. If you maintain your vehicles literally 'by the book', then you are definitely already replacing this filter right on schedule with each of your vehicles. Doing this will help the engine to run more smoothly.
Cabin Air Filter
This filter is installed by the manufacturer, and may well have been in place since the car was brand new. Depending on how old your vehicle is, this could mean that the air from your vents has been flowing through decades of dust, mold, pollen, and traffic smog. Because this filter isn't vital to the driving or electrical functions of the car, it is often left off maintenance checklists and sometimes excluded from the user's manual entirely.
Lingering odd smells and low cabin air quality can be most often attributed to an old air vent filter along with lower gas mileage as your AC has to work harder to blow through a clogged up filter.
Changing Your Filter
While exact configuration varies by make and model, most cabin air vent filters are accessed through or behind the passenger glove compartment. You may need to open the glove compartment or remove it entirely to get to the air filter slot. Consult your users manual or mechanic to know for sure. Once you find it, remove the old filter.
You may want to wear gloves and cover your face for this part, and possibly vacuum your car afterward depending on how old the filter is. For the highest quality air flowing through your vents, Look for HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) grade replacement air filters. These are made with the same technology used for cleanrooms and hospitals.
If you haven't been changing the air filters for your fleet, or have been changing them at too-long of intervals, make sure to do a full update soon to improve both the air quality for your drivers and the mileage as your AC can finally 'breathe easy' and stop working so hard to keep up with thermostat demands.
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