How to Replace the Cabin Air Filter

Most modern cars have many types of filters that need to be replaced every so-often miles. One of these is the air filter for the air conditioner, which is commonly called the Cabin Filter. In this quick tutorial, I’ll show you how simple it is to change the cabin’s air filter in your car so you can do it yourself while saving some money and avoiding scams from stealerships dealerships.

If you read my post on How to Win at the Dealership, you can see how expensive it can be for a mechanic to “maintain” your cabin filter. But it’s actually pretty simple.

Most cars will have the cabin filter behind the glove box. The first step is to actually check if you need to replace the filter to verify what a mechanic tells you is true and not a scam.

As a rule of thumb, it is recommended that cabin filters be replaced around every 20,000 miles. I personally don’t like using this rule because everyone’s driving habits are different. Different a/c usage, windows up or down, city vs country driving, air quality where you live, weather… all these things affect the air which is getting filtered.

So my rule is once the filter starts looking filthy , I change it. Back to the first step!

1. First thing, find your glove box!

2. Open the glove box all the way. You might need to push a clip out of the way to get it open all the way.

3. With the glove box out of the way, look for a rectangular filter box

4. Push the release clip to remove the cover. Some car models might have screws. A basic screw driver will work.

5. With the cover removed, pull out the filter. Notice the UP arrow indicating the airflow direction.

6. Take a look at the filter. If it still looks clean and white, just dust it off for any particles it might have. A few good blows and puffs should loosen any small particles. If the filter looks dirty and doesn’t look white like new, replace it. Make sure to replace it with the arrow pointing UP.

Still good, back in you go!

Now assuming you need to replace the filter but don’t have the new one yet, just put the old one back in place. You can go to a local auto parts shop or your car dealer and order the new filter. The store will easily get the filter you need by asking you your vehicle model and year.

This literally takes less than 10 minutes and will save you a lot of money. It took me longer to write this blog post and take the pictures! My dealership wanted to charge me $108 for this. I bought the original new filter for $25 and did it myself. Had I gotten an aftermarket filter it would’ve been even cheaper. Plus, nothing beats the satisfaction of doing things yourself!

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