Pollen filter: how much does it cost?

Car pollen filter £10-£50

How much could I save by replacing my own pollen filter?

Changing a car pollen filter is usually a straightforward job on most cars, and should take a matter of minutes. However, on some models pollen filter replacement requires panels and components to be removed beneath the dashboard. This is explained in step-by-step fashion in your Haynes Manual, and you'll be able to complete it with ease, but the time taken will give you a clue as to what a garage will charge you in labour fees, namely up to £100.

As for the pollen filter itself, you'll probably be presented with several options when shopping for a new filter, made by manufacturers such as Bosch, Mann or Crossland – some are constructed from paper, others are fabric and yet more are impregnated with charcoal. It's up to you which you buy, but bear in mind that some of the cheaper options can be half the price of the premium pollen filters.

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How a car’s pollen filter works

Pollen filter

A car’s cabin filter, also called a pollen filter, stops particles from entering the passenger cabin. It catches dust, pollen and other fine pollutants.

A pollen filter can be made from several different materials, but most feature cotton/paper fibres that coat the ribbed or pleated surface (for maximum surface area). Some filters contain carbon or charcoal, which helps to reduce odours from traffic pollution entering the cabin.

This task requires little or no experience, using basic tools, depending on where your filter is installed, and will take a few minutes to half an hour to complete.

When to change your pollen filter?

“Poor air flow from the vents can be caused by a clogged pollen filter”

Car makers tend to recommend that pollen filters are renewed every 12,000-15,000 miles or around once a year. If you don’t know when yours was last changed there are a couple of things to look for that tell you it’s time to renew it. First, air flow from the vents may be poor. This reduces over time, so it’s difficult to spot but it’s caused by a clogged filter.

Another sign that it may be time to change your pollen filter is a musty smell in the cabin. This can also be caused by a build-up of bacteria in the air-con system, and can be cured by turning the fan speed and temperature up to max for 10 minutes or so, but it’s a sign that the pollen filter needs to be replaced.

All cars are slightly different, so if it is time to change your pollen filter, find your car for specific instructions.


A musty smell in the cabin could be a sign that the pollen filter needs to be changed

How to change your pollen filter

Here's an example of how it's done. Find the full step-by-step for your car

A very brief summary of the task:

  1. Locate your car’s filter (every Haynes manual has full instructions)
  2. Remove the necessary panels to reach the old filter
  3. Remove the old filter and make sure the new one matches before discarding it
  4. Insert the new pollen filter and replace any fittings you removed earlier

Why you should change your pollen filter

Why you should change your pollen filter

A pollen filter is an easy thing to neglect. After all, it’s hidden away out of sight and isn’t something you’re likely to inspect on a regular basis, if at all. However, in these days of increased air pollution it’s important to make sure their air inside your car is as clean as possible, so change your filter at the recommended intervals.

A clogged pollen filter is likely to create unpleasant smells over time because bacteria will grow on the trapped particles, so your passengers will thank you for replacing it. If there are bad smells you should try the air-con fix mentioned above or use an air-con cleaning product at the same time the new filter is installed.

Can a pollen filter be cleaned? Other than being 'treated' with an aerosol while it's in situ, to kill bacteria that may have built up within it, no, a pollen filter can't be cleaned. The materials will break down if you try to wash them.

Tools you may need

Only basic tools are required for this job, depending on the location of your filter.

  • Flat-bladed screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver

Parts you will need

  • Pollen filter - Try to buy the best quality you can, preferably with a carbon filter if that’s an option