Where Do Car Air Vents Lead To? (Explained For Beginners)

Car air vents have evolved over the past years and have become common features in all cars.

Since they are designed to control the flow of clean and crisp air in your cabin, their performance usually relies on the general functioning of your vehicle.

Additionally, because of high user demand, we are currently noticing that this vital equipment can be installed in several places in your car to offer comfort.

They are made perfectly, so they do not distort or deform while installing them. But the concern is whatever place you decide to install your car air vents, where do they lead to?

Here’s Where Car Air Vents Lead To

Car air vents usually lead to the cooling and heating system of your car. We usually see only the small part, but the remaining part of the car air vents is usually inside the dashboard below the windscreen.

Car a/c heater front driver vent
Car a/c heater front driver vent

Typically, when air is pushed in the duct system under high pressure while driving, it moves to the heater, which is part of the cooling and heating system, where it’s warmed when needed.

Air may also enter the grilles above the bonnet, move through the ducts, and eventually exit through the air vents on the dashboard.

The engine heats the air if it’s cold while the refrigerant cools it. All this depends on the temperature control system that you have applied to your car.

Some vehicles usually have vents around the rear-seat area, some in the edge beneath the windscreen.

For other cars, you will see them at the front of side windows. They all lead to your HVAC system. Vents by the front of side windows usually enable warm air to be blown on window glass to reduce misting.

For the rear seat area, you will find exit vents pointing to the outside. Primarily located in an area of low pressure to generate air while your car is moving, thus making you have a comfortable ride.

You can constantly adjust the car air vents to face where the front-seat occupants are. It doesn’t pose any danger.


Can My Car Air Vents Intake Emit Harmful Gas? E.g., Car Exhaust While In Traffic?

Your car air vents can only emit harmful gas if they are blocked. What usually happens is that air squeezes and pushes itself against your car vent when you obstruct the vent. When the push is continuous for an extended period, there is an increase in pressure.

The combination of high-pressure and insufficient airflow usually damages the HVAC heat exchanger. When the damage occurs, it causes the emission of carbon monoxide and ductwork leakage.

Additionally, carbon-fueled engines usually contain carbon monoxide, a harmful gas. So, if you always expose them to diesel fumes, it may cause breathlessness and coughing.

Always ensure you have not blocked the air vents and perform thorough maintenance regularly to your cooling and heating system.

What Does the Car Air Vent Filter Protect Me Against?

You can locate your car air vent filter in the HVAC system’s air intake. When the outside air is absorbed into the system by the blower motor, it usually goes through the car air vent filter before it gets into any HVAC. So, the air vent filter usually protects you against some things listed below.

Take a look…

1. Pollution

The car air vent filter usually reduces the pollution that enters your cabin. It stands in the middle of the air you breathe inside the vehicle and outside. This implies that it prevents smog, smoke, ash from fires, and dirty exhaust from you inhaling them.

A good car air vent filter will always ensure pollution stays out of your car, making you breathe fresh and healthier air inside.

2. Bad HVAC Air Flow

Your car’s engine usually powers the HVAC system, which includes the car air vent filter. So, when the filter is clean and unclogged, it reduces the machine’s work strain, making you improve fuel efficiency.

In the long turn, your cooling and heating system will work better, making you experience calm and pleasant air inside your cabin. So, the filter will always protect you from hot climatic conditions by giving you good and not insufficient airflow.

3. Allergens

Are you always prone to allergies? Especially environmental allergies? Well, air vent filters help to reduce disturbing allergens that enter your car.

The allergens and pollen may continuously develop on your filter regularly, so always change the filter frequently to avoid any inconveniences.

4. Some Odors

Odors and smells are usually in the air. Also, mold is said to be unhealthy to breathe in because it may make you sick. However, the air vent filter always comes in handy to help keep these smells at bay and keep your cabin smelling fresh by filtering unpleasant air.

5. Dust and Dirt

The car air vent filter protects you from dust, dirt, and other debris from reaching you or even clogging your cooling and heating system. It filters the debris and supplies only clean air, making you and your passengers breathe easily.

It’s always advisable to perform a thorough check on your car air vent filter regularly. Additionally, always replace it and unclog it when it gets clogged for the smooth running of your other systems.

How Should I Keep Car Air Vents and Filter Clean?

The first and the most vital thing you can do to keep your car air vents and filter clean is to clean them. Please don’t wait till dirt accumulates; Always clean them regularly to avoid malfunctioning.

Here are procedures you can follow for successful cleaning. The procedures differ in cleaning products.

Procedure 1

The products you will need include:

White Vinegar, Warm Water, and Lemon Scented Cleaning Vinegar

Mix white vinegar and warm water to create a homemade car air vent cleaner.

For those who can’t stand the vinegar smell, try to use lemon-scented vinegar. If it’s hard to find the lemon-scented one, incorporate a teaspoon of lemon juice into your white vinegar.

The lemon scent usually assists with eliminating the smell of mold from the car air vents.

Note: If you want to remove a foul smell from the vents, use a scented car air conditioner cleaner.

Foam Paint Brushes

They are affordable but effective. Their shape and size make it easy to squeeze and clean through the deepest ends of the vent slats. Also, they allow you to clean the car air vents without necessarily making any cracks and scratches on them.

Microfiber Towel

You will need a towel to wipe off the car air vents dry after cleaning.

Dish Detergent and Hot water

You will use dish detergent and warm water to clean the foam brushes to be ready for subsequent use.

The Steps

1. Using a foam paintbrush immersed in your homemade solution, clean your vent slats by thoroughly rubbing them between the vent slats while pressing on them.

2. Rinse out any dirt accumulated on the brush and continue cleaning.

3. Once you have wiped off all the dust, debris, or dirt, take a dry foam paintbrush and use it to wipe off any moisture. You can also wipe with a towel if you have one.

4. Finally, clean the brushes and towels with warm water and dishwashing liquid. Then let them dry before you store them.

Procedure 2

The products you need include:

Enzymatic Cleaner Spray

Enzymatic cleaner spray is made explicitly for the A/C treatment. It works well for your air vents too. Typically, it is a disinfectant spray that you can use to eliminate dirt in the ductwork and A/C vents.

You can get it in a spray bottle alongside an attachable straw that simplifies application.

The Steps

1. Switch off the car engine and remove the keys from the ignition. Then close all the windows and doors before you can start spraying.

2. Ensure your air conditioner is off also.

3. Take your disinfectant and attach its straw to spray the car air vents.

4. Place the straw into the vent and spray it thoroughly. Ensure you have cleaned all the vents in the car, including the vent by the dashboard, driver’s side, passengers’ side, and windshield side.

5. After spraying, switch on the engine, allow your A/C to operate at its maximum level, and then re-circulate it.

6. Now, spray your intake vent beneath the glove compartment without a straw. Then re-set your air conditioner to a fresh air intake. Get out of the car and close the door.

7. With the straw attached, continue spraying the cleaner on the outer air intake vents by the windshield. Some vehicle models require you to open the hood to access the exterior air intake vents.

8. Once done cleaning, switch off the engine and open your windows and doors for ventilation.

Procedure 3

The products you need include:

Professional Car Steamer

Some dirt usually sticks when left for an extended period. Because of that, you require a professional car steamer to get rid of body oil, mold smell, and tough stuck dirt.


After using a steamer, you will use a towel to dry the vents.

The Steps

1. Gradually allow the steamer’s nozzle to penetrate over every vent slat. And just like that, the steamer will eliminate every tough dirt as quickly as possible.

2. After you notice significant results, wipe the vent slats using a towel. You may see moisture inside the vents, but that should not worry you. Instead, let the fan run at its maximum to eliminate moisture.

3. Finally, check your cabin filter to ensure it’s working correctly. Replace it if damaged or clean it using the products and steps shown above.

Here are additional practices you can carry out to keep your car air vent and filters clean.

  • Don’t allow debris and other dirt to get inside your air vents. Always clean them frequently.
  • Dry out the fan blower and the vents regularly.
  • Replace the cabin filter frequently or when it’s damaged.
  • Avoid blocking the car air vents.

Should I Keep the Car Air Vents Closed and Recycle Internal Cabin Air?

While it is possible to close the car air vents and recycle cabin air, it is usually advisable not to do so. Closing the air vents has more harm than good.

First, by closing the air vents, you restrict the airflow, which increases the pressure inside the ducts leading to leaks in your cooling and heating systems, causing the emission of harmful gases like carbon monoxide.

It also hinders the energy efficiency of the cooling and heating system and enhances the growth of mold. Moreover, it reduces the HVAC system lifespan and imbalances air pressure, among other damages.

So, if you can, please only close the vents occasionally. If you want good air, turn on the air conditioner and use the recirculation button to recirculate only air inside your car for a calmer atmosphere.


We hope this article has benefited you, and now you can see where the car air vents lead to.

Always ensure you clean them and have an expert check them so that you may enjoy a relaxed and comfortable ride even on those bumpy, hot, and warm terrains.

If you notice anything unusual with your car air vents, kindly consult a professional HVAC technician to assess and diagnose the problem before it worsens.


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Why You Shouldn’t Close Vents to Control

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Benefits of Changing Your Cabin Air Filter

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Can Air Conditioners Produce Carbon Monoxide?