When Should You Change Your Cabin Filter?

October 6th, 2022 by

Beginner Car Maintenance - Changing Your Cabin Air Filter

This blog post will answer several questions you likely have about the cabin air filter in your car. How often should you change your cabin filter? How to change your cabin filter? Why should you change your cabin filter?

Beginner Car Maintenance – Changing Your Cabin Air Filter

Imagine this, you are sitting in your car waiting patiently behind a city bus on your way home. As the bus pulls forward you heard the engine grumble and a big black plume of smog comes out of the exhaust right toward you. Your cabin filter is what protects you from those pollutants and airborne particles you don’t want to breathe in.

Your cabin air filter is a part of the HVAC system of your vehicle. The air filter catches dust, dirt, microbes, and other contaminants. If you notice a strange or bad smell when using your heating and cooling system or when driving. It is best to change your cabin filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles.

Changing your cabin filter is easier than you think. It is also one of the easiest beginner car maintenance tasks. Cabin filters are generally inexpensive and made of special paper. Filters with activated charcoal, filtration rating, and brand names will be more expensive.

How to Replace a Cabin Air Filter

The first thing you will need to do is check your vehicle maintenance manual on the location of your cabin filter. Most new cars have the cabin filter behind the glove box. A much older vehicle may have the cabin filter under the hood with the engine. We recommend wearing gloves and having a flashlight and screwdriver just in case.

Open the glove box fully and take everything out. To disconnect the glove box damper gently press the side walls of the glove box inward and pull gently. If the side walls do not want to budge take your flashlight and check the sides. There may be one or more screws holding it in place. Remove them and try again. You should be able to see the filter right away. Depending on the brand the frame may a bright color, white or black. You’ll know the filter by the rectangular shape and two pressure tabs locking it in place.

Just like the glove box press on each tab and pull the cabin filter out of the filter slot. Before chucking your old filter into the trach be sure to confirm that your new filter is the same size. Take a look at the airflow arrow of the new filter is pointed in the correct direction and place it into the slot. When the filter is in its correct place you will be able to hear or see the tabs on each side snap into place. Place the glove box back into place replace the screws if needed and you are done!

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