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K&N Cabin Air Filter

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Lately I've noticed I've been getting a strange smell from the vents after starting the truck that would dissipate after about 5 minutes. I figured I would start with the Cabin Air Filter since I don't recall ever changing or checking it. My truck is almost at 25,000 miles so its probably about time. Anyway, it was pretty dirty, so I went to pick up another one and actually ended up with a K&N cabin filter just to try it out. I have ZERO interest in using a K&N air filter for the engine and I'm perfectly happy with the OEM ACDelco paper filter. I just thought I would give it a try in the cabin since you don't need to oil it and its washable. There is a kit to "refresh" it when the time comes to give it a cleaning so we'll see what happens at that point. The good news is the smell is gone after starting the truck.


Curious if anyone else uses one of these for their Cabin filter? Or am I the test dummy? ?

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Odor could be mold/mildew in the AC system.  Cabin air filter is only going to filter out outside air so I doubt a different brand will do anything but cost you money. 


The penetrating vapor quickly controls and eliminates unpleasant smells caused by sources such as smoke, moisture, humidity, food, and biological odors.



Edited by elcamino
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I was going to see how the new air filter worked before I went in and did anything more drastic. I haven’t noticed the smell at all since the new filter was dropped in so hopefully that was it.


I only really noticed it after leaving my truck at the airport for a week while we were on vacation. Not sure if that has anything to do with anything. We got back from the trip and started the truck and it smelled a little like vinegar or maybe an old stanky sock for most of the 20 minute ride home. I’ve got teenagers so that was the first thing I looked for! It slowly got better and better through the week lasting about 5 minutes for a few days and then only a few seconds after starting the truck.


Figured I’d work with the easiest solution and go from there. I’ve got an oil change coming up so I figured I’d mention it to them when I brought it in if the new filter doesn’t seem to be working. Which it does for now at least.

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Does the smell you’re talking about smell like wet dog crap? Because I’ve had that for a bit, and can not seem to get rid of it. Did the filter swap work for your odor issue?

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Hmmmmm... not really dog crap, but an old gym sock for sure. Not sure which is worse! Yikes! And yes, the filter seemed to of gotten rid of the odor after driving the truck for a couple days after replacing.
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I was looking at getting one just for the reusable feature.


Since I live in the desert and the city at that, I have my truck on recirc 100% of the time when the HVAC is on. My cabin filters get a good work out. K&N sounds like the ticket instead of having to remember to order new carbon filters every once in awhile.


Glad people are having good luck.

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3 hours ago, Donstar said:

Do you remove your floor mats periodically to clean? I once discovered dampness under the driver's side mat.  It was from an antenna leak.

I do remove a few times a year to clean and vacuum, but I have never thought to check for dampness. Good tip, thank you!

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