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How to replace your cabin filter

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Updated 12 Oct 2019

Joel Ilton

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Most modern vehicles these days are fitted with a cabin air filter.

This filter cleans the air that comes into the interior from outside of the vehicle. It traps dust, pollen and other airborne particles that can make riding in a car unpleasant, especially if you have asthma or other allergies.

To keep the air fresh inside your vehicle, it is recommended to replace this filter regularly, especially if you live in dusty or poor air quality environments.

Thankfully, this filter can be relatively easy to change, and is something you may be able to tackle yourself.

Most filters are located behind the glove box, or behind the center console, although some European makes will have the filter located under the bonnet, where the air enters into the cabin.

Many auto parts stores, such as Supercheap Auto, carry cabin filters for most popular makes and models.

Tools Required:

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Rubbish receptacle
  • Socket set

Replacement Procedure - Located behind Glove box

  1. The first step is to locate the filter. Most vehicle handbooks will display the cabin filter location. If it’s behind the glove box, open the lid and remove the screws that hold it in place.
  2. Next, slide the box out and place it in a safe location.
  3. Looking into where the glove box was, you should see a rectangle door. The cabin filter will be located behind this door. Simply squeeze the tabs, or remove the screws that hold it in place, and place to one side.
  4. You should be able to see the filter – it will either be a white, soft fabric filter, or have a hard plastic frame around it.
  5. Pull the filter out, and discard.
  6. Inspect where the filter sits for any larger pieces of debris, remove and place in a rubbish receptacle.
  7. Slide your new filter into the housing, refit the door and glove box, and you’re done!

Replacement Procedure - Located in Engine Bay

  1. If your filter is located in the engine bay, firstly remove the cover that sits over the top of the filter.
  2. You may be required to remove one or both of the wiper arms, which are easily removed by using a ratchet and the appropriately sized socket to unto the one nut that holds the arm on.
  3. Mark the placement of the wiper arm on the spline, so you can relocate it accurately when it is time to refit.
  4. Once removed, simply twist the arm gently until it works its way loose.
  5. Place to one side, and then remove the cover over the filter.
  6. Unlock the tabs and remove the filter from the vehicle.
  7. Clean out the holder where the filter sits to remove any debris, and then slide the new filter into place.
  8. Refit the cover over the filter and the wiper arm (if required), making sure to line it up correctly, and test the system to make sure everything is operating correctly.

Replacing your cabin filter is one of the easiest ways to keep your vehicle in tip top shape, and will have you and your passengers breathing easy once again!

Following these instructions will allow you to replace your cabin filter, but if it seems a little overwhelming, or you are worried about not completing the job safely, it is best to get a professional to carry out the repairs required.

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Image credit: car vent - C

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Written By

Joel Ilton

Finding a passion for cars from a young age, Joel carried out work experience as a mechanic whilst at school before starting an apprenticeship after finishing year 12.

After almost 10 years on the tools and in customer service, he moved into the IT realm as a Data Analyst and In-House mechanic at AutoGuru.