In 1934 Australians were world leaders in automotive air quality, rolling out the new ‘Ford Coupe Utility’. In the previous year, a letter arrived at Ford from a Gippsland farmer who said: “I want you to build a car in which I can take my Mrs. to church on Sunday and carry my pigs in the back on Monday”.
At the time there was no passenger vehicle that could possibly transport pigs to market whilst being fit for a lady. Perhaps the farmers’ wife was previously being driven around in a van or a truck and the idea of going to Church still smelling like she had just come from a pigs pen wasn’t very appealing.
Perhaps this farmer got the idea from the outhouse. In those days of lower hygiene standards having the toilet completely separated from the house would ensure no bad smells would enter into the home.
The humble ute combined the comfort and cleanliness associated with a sedan combined with the load carrying capacity of a van. Having a seperate area for passengers was a leap forward in hygienic transportation because the passengers weren’t exposed to the smells and allergens given off by other goods being transported in the vehicle.
Unfortunately today Station Wagons, Vans and Hatchbacks are still used to transport tools, pets, petrol containers, plant life, etc… (even being used as makeshift motorhomes) which creates a haven for mould, bacteria, dust, pollen and other allergens. If you regularly transport things like these a sedan, ute or a van with a completely separate passenger area is a much better alternative for air quality.
Obviously cleaning the interior of your car is an important aspect of air quality. Keeping wet items away from the upholstery will prevent mould and bacteria from growing. Also giving your car a good steam clean once a year will keep your interior looking and smelling like it should.
Modern cars will often come with cabin air filters which filtrate the air coming in your car through the vents. It is important to clean and replace cabin filters regularly. The cabin filter shown is a K & N version that can be cleaned every 10,000kms or so and will never need to be replaced. Most other cabin air filters made from inferior materials cannot be cleaned as effectively and are considered disposable.
It is also good to note that older cars often have more stains in the interior and more mould – especially in hot, humid climates. Also older cars tend to leak oil and other engine fluids which can create more of a toxic environment inside the car. That being said a well-kept older car would most likely still have better air quality than a newer car with a dirty interior.
The use of a refillable air freshener is a cost-effective way to keep your car smelling nice. If you refill the air freshener with something like eucalyptus oil it will help clear your airways and prevent allergy symptoms.