ALLERGY AND YOUR CAR/CAR FILTERS: AIR INTAKE FILTERS

There are two basic types of car filters:

• Air intake filters

• Portable interior filters

Air Intake Filters

Air intake filters work by fitting thick fabric or electrostatic filters over the air intake to the ventilation and heating system of a car, to prevent or reduce particles, such as pollens or fumes, entering the car. Air intake filters permit you to continue to run ventilation and heating systems as normal while the filter is operating. For full effectiveness, keep windows closed. One make – the Micronair – is fitted during manufacture as standard to certain models of car, and is available as optional on others (see page 427). It cannot be fitted after manufacture. Another make – the Icleen – can be fitted on cars of any make or age.

The Micronair is made of non-woven fabric with an electrostatic charge. The charge attracts particles, and the thick fabric web prevents larger particles passing. The filter has been shown on controlled tests to be 100 per cent effective against pollens and larger particles, 70 per cent effective against virtually all smaller particles, and 50 per cent effective against the tiniest of particles. The filter medium loses its charge after one year and needs replacing. This can be done by main dealers as part of a yearly service, or separately. The cost of replacement (including parts and labour) would be between £19 and £25 at 1992 prices, depending on the dealer.

The Icleen filter is made from a thinner fabric web than the Micronair, without electrostatic charge. No test information is available on performance, but reports from users say it makes a noticeable difference, especially in heavy traffic. The filter is simple to fit – a competent DIYer or any garage can do it – and needs changing every six months. A pack of two filters costs £43 (at 1992); available from SBP Limited (address below). A garage would charge about £15-20 to instal or change the filter.

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