Spring can be an unpleasant time of year for allergy suffers, with the first pollen in April causing watery eyes and sneezing fits. These allergy symptoms can have an adverse impact on driving safety because at 50 km/h, a sneeze can mean driving blind for around 30 metres. The Climatronic Air Care system in many ŠKODA vehicles effectively remedies this situation. Using various sensors, it monitors the air quality, and, if necessary, responds automatically. The cabin air filters in current ŠKODA vehicles are also crucial for clean air in the interior. They perform three functions simultaneously: they catch fine dust particles, prevent allergens from entering the interior, and can absorb unpleasant odours. However, this only works optimally if the cabin air filters are changed regularly, ideally in spring.
More than 150 million people in the European Union suffered from allergies in 2016, according to a survey by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). With effective interior filters and intelligent air conditioning systems such as the Climatronic with Air Care System, ŠKODA keeps the vast majority of pollen and fine dust particles out of numerous vehicles in the current range. The Czech brand is thus increasing driving safety for allergy sufferers and people with chronic breathing problems as well as comfort for all passengers, especially sensitive individuals and children – for example in cities with fine dust pollution and other regions with poor air quality.
Air Care system uses sensors for air quality and humidity
The Climatronic with Air Care System, which is available as standard or as an option in the new ŠKODA OCTAVIA as well as the KAROQ, KODIAQ and SUPERB, uses various sensors to measure the interior air quality and humidity. If it detects excessive air pollution, it automatically activates the air recirculation function. This prevents any contaminated air from outside entering the vehicle, and the existing air is cleaned by internal recirculation. During this circulation process, the air passes through a highly effective activated carbon cabin filter in the Air Care System each time. Not only does it filter small particles, but also pollen. In addition, unpleasant odours are absorbed; if necessary, the recirculation function also supports this; for example, when the smell of windscreen washer fluid enters the vehicle.
Three different cabin filters in use
ŠKODA uses three different cabin filters in its vehicles. In addition to the basic version for the entire ŠKODA model range, the manufacturer uses an activated carbon filter that, in addition to having the highest filter capacity, also absorbs unpleasant odours. The third version is a filter capable of removing allergens.
“I am convinced that today we offer our customers an optimal cabin-filter package in terms of air quality, filterability and price. We can keep the vast majority of the pollen and particles out of the vehicle interior, thereby contributing to the health and well-being of passengers,” says Jan Hrnčíř, ŠKODA coordinator for the development of air conditioning systems.
Regularly changing the filters increases the effectiveness
To ensure that the filtration remain highly effective, you should replace the cabin filter regularly. An ideal time to replace the filters is spring or early summer for two reasons. Firstly, after many winter journeys in the rain and snow, mould can appear in the filters. Secondly, with a new filter in spring, the system is optimally prepared for the first pollen. At the same time as replacing the filter, it is also a good idea to check the functioning of the air conditioning ahead of the warmer temperatures in summer.
Why are air conditioning systems not only one of the most popular, but also one of the most important equipment features of cars?
Jan Hrnčíř: Air conditioning systems were once considered a luxury, but now they are standard. They not only enhance comfort; they also significantly increase safety. This applies in particular to systems such as Climatronic that automatically maintain an optimal temperature and air distribution throughout the vehicle without the driver having to intervene: Once the desired temperature has been set, the driver can concentrate fully on driving, and the system does everything else. Climatronic also ensures optimum visibility since it automatically prevents the windows from fogging up when driving in adverse weather conditions; the driver no longer needs to adjust the air distribution or blower level.
Cabin filters are now an essential part of air conditioning systems. What can be achieved with them?
Hrnčíř: At ŠKODA, we use filters that remove fine dust particles, odours and – crucially for allergy sufferers – also pollen. This reduces the risk of the driver having watery eyes or sneezing and thus increases safety.
What are the differences?
Hrnčíř: The basic cabin air filter is a particulate filter. The next level up is the version with activated carbon to absorb unpleasant odours from the outside. In addition to these two variants, the most comprehensive filter also comes with a layer that removes allergens.
How effective are the individual filters? What size particles are removed?
Hrnčíř: All three variants belong to the F7 class, which means that they are highly effective in removing dust particles measuring a few micrometres. The filters are most effective in cities due to the particulate matter and air pollution there.
How often do the filters need to be changed? Does it depend on the region and environment in which the vehicle is mainly used?
Hrnčíř: We distinguish between two environments: The first group includes countries with low levels of particulate pollution, and the second group represents countries with high levels. The level of particles in the air due to road conditions and other environmental factors plays a significant role. For the first group, we recommend changing the filter every two years or 60,000 kilometres. For the second group, we recommend a more frequent interval of one year or 30 000 kilometres.