Munich - Itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing – springtime is pollen season. At the wheel, allergies are more than a nuisance; they are actually a safety risk, as their symptoms can weaken drivers’ concentration and dull reactions. Cabin air filters offer relief. 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. TÜV SÜD's experts have three helpful tips.
Birch and grass pollen, mould, dust: clean in-car air is an important safety factor for more people than just allergy sufferers.Given this, virtually all new cars are supplied with cabin-air or pollen filters as standard. However, according to TÜV SÜD's experts, motorists tend to neglect these filters. The 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 Eberhard Lang, TÜV SÜD. Otherwise the filter may clog 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, allowing pollen to enter the vehicle – 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. 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.
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 manual. Be aware that some filters function only in one direction. In this case, pay attention to the marking on the filter (AIR FLOW). After changing the filter, ensure you make a note of the date and the mileage on the clock.
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.