So your cabin air filter’s time is up, and you have to replace it. There are two types of replacement cabin air filters to choose from:
Both types of cabin air filters are good options, but which one is better? Which one offers the most value? Does it even matter which one you choose?
It matters which cabin air filter you choose, as OEM and aftermarket filters are different. When you look at various factors, it’s clear that OEM cabin air filters come out on top. (If you need more info on what a cabin air filter is, take a look at this blog post.)
Why OEM Cabin Air Filters Are Better Than Aftermarket Cabin Air Filters
OEM cabin air filters perform better than aftermarket filters. Here’s why:
- OEM filters are built to factory specifications with high-quality materials, whereas aftermarket manufacturers will typically use more cost-effective materials.
- Aftermarket manufacturers determine the design of their cabin air filters. The dimensions aren't typically the exact measurements of the OE filters.
- The pleat count on OEM cabin air filters is usually higher than that of aftermarket filters.
- OEM cabin air filters usually last longer than aftermarket cabin filters.
Let’s talk about each point in more detail.
1. Better Quality Filter Materials
Mazda's research and development team spent a lot of time developing OEM cabin air filters. That includes testing various filter materials. As a result, you'll find only the most durable filter material in OEM cabin air filters, the material best equipped to handle the airflow in your Mazda model.
It's common for aftermarket manufacturers to cut corners and use the cheapest filter materials available. This results in some issues. Cheap air filter material will either:
- Clog up fast and deprive your Mazda's cabin of clean air
- Let a lot of dirty air through to the cabin
2. Correct Fitment
When it comes to cabin air filters, fitment is everything. A poor-fitting cabin air filter will let some dirty air into the cabin. That defeats the purpose of having a cabin air filter in your car.
With OEM cabin air filters, you never have to worry about poor fitment. OEM cabin air filters are direct replacements, so they're always quick and easy to install.
Aftermarket manufacturers design their cabin air filters to fit various vehicles. That means chances are high an aftermarket filter won't fit your car well. Amazon has lots of complaints about aftermarket air filters not fitting right. Here are a few complaints:
- An Amazon user named Ronald Gatzke wrote, "[My aftermarket] air filter was not correct for my car. [It was] 1 inch too large. Misleading advertising here. Not car-specific at all. I had to throw it away."
- A 2013 Mazda 3 owner named Tessa was disappointed to find that her aftermarket cabin air filter was incompatible with her car.
- Another 2013 Mazda 3 owner, Sam, wrote, "[My aftermarket cabin air filter] was listed as compatible with my car, but it was not compatible. I had to return it."
3. Higher Filter Pleat Count
When it comes to air filters, the pleat count matters a lot. An air filter with a high pleat count:
- Lasts longer
- Catches more dirt and debris
It's because the more pleats a filter has, the more surface area there is. The higher the surface area, the more room there is to trap dirt and debris. As a result, the filter lasts longer.
You want to make sure that the pleats are deep, too.
OEM cabin air filters usually come with a higher pleat count than aftermarket filters. It's common for aftermarket filters to have loosely-packed, shallow pleats.
4. Longer Lifespan Of Filters
Normally, OEM cabin air filters last longer than aftermarket cabin air filters. It's because of the reasons we already discussed:
- Better quality materials
- Correct fitment
- Higher pleat count
Aftermarket cabin air filters may cost less money upfront, but OEM cabin air filters offer more value in the long term.
Where To Find An OEM Replacement Cabin Air Filter Online
A common complaint Mazda owners have is the fact that OEM cabin air filters are more expensive than aftermarket. If you want to save money on OEM filters, it's best to buy online instead of at your local dealership. In fact, we offer wholesale pricing for OEM cabin air filters. Check out our catalog of cabin air filters and see what we offer for your vehicle!