BMW X5 cowling area.

Cowling area and cabin air filters: Why you should keep them clean

In Cabin Air Filter, Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Has it been a while since you cleaned out your vehicle’s cowling area or changed out the cabin air filters?

These maintenance items are often overlooked by drivers. However, checking them regularly can help drivers avoid problems.

Certain components can be found in the cowling, such as the cabin air filter and the windshield wiper motor.

During the fall and even the winter, leaves can pile up on the bottom of the windshield.

Cleaning the cowling area

New and rusted ignition coils for BMW.When water runs across the windshield, it goes into the cowling area and down the sides. We recommend clearing it on a consistent basis.

This may sound like another thing to add to your “to do” list, but it’s worth taking a few minutes to remove leaves and twigs.

Debris that collects in the cowling overtime could lead to a dirty cabin air filter and a musty or moldy smell in your vehicle. Other parts may be impacted, too.

This area became blocked on a BMW X5. The car was brought in with its check engine light on last week. The technician determined that the spark plugs and ignition coils needed to be replaced.

Because the vehicle had a clogged cowling area, water wasn’t draining properly. Instead, it dripped on the ignition coils overtime, causing rust buildup.

Another problem may happen as vehicles get older. The air intake for the car is normally located under the cowling.

If the drains are blocked up, then that water could start entering the cabin of the car where the air comes in through the blower motor. Next thing you know, your passenger side floorboards are wet. Leaves under the cowling area on a BMW.

That’s why you want to keep those leaves and pine needles off. The tiny helicopter leaves are the worst, because they can sometimes make it down between the openings in the cowling and collect below it. Cleaning the area off once a month helps prevent the debris from getting to areas where you can’t see it. 


Replacing cabin air filters

Cabin air filters help keep bacteria, pollen and dirt out of a vehicle’s front area.

They typically need to be replaced each year or so, depending on how much and where you drive the car.

This component is good for about 10,000 to 20,000 miles. If your drive home or to weekend adventures include dirt roads, you might change a cabin air filter sooner than drivers who mainly stick to paved roads.

If it’s been a while since cabin air filter replacement was performed on your vehicle, have your auto repair shop check it at your next oil change.

Mice and other animals sometimes take refuge in this part of the car. In fact, a couple of years ago, we worked on a Toyota where squirrels had built nests in the cabin air filter box

Rodents will also chew up cabin air filters. The material they are made out of are great for nesting. Animals are drawn to the insulation of wires, as well.

You can enhance the air in your vehicle further by having BG Frigi Fresh, a disinfectant, sprayed into the vents.

Maintenance matters

Vehicles are made up of many systems that need attention. Your car requires regular oil changes, flushes, and – when needed – brake repair, new tires and suspension work.

Through maintenance, you can keep it running for as long as possible and avoid premature or expensive repairs.

Cleaning the cowling area or getting a new cabin air filter may not sound like critical tasks. But the small steps of taking care of your vehicle can pay off in the long run.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located near Dale City, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.