How to Change Your Cabin Air Filter

The majority of cars on the road today were built with a cabin air filter installed. Learn everything you need to know, including when and how to replace it.

What Does the Cabin Air Filter Do?

The cabin filter exists to remove contaminants from the outside air that is pumped into the cabin interior when the fan is on. Air passes through a media material that is permeable to air, but which catches dirt and other stuff that might be with the air. Eventually these filters get clogged up as the contaminants get caught on the filter media. A bad cabin air filter won’t clean the air as effectively, and it can noticeably restrict the air flow.

How Often to Change Cabin Air Filter

Replacing your cabin air filter only takes a few minutes and helps protect your lungs by keeping the air inside your vehicle clean. If you notice restricted air flow from your climate control vents while you’re driving around, it’s probably worth checking the filter. As a rule, it should be replaced every 15,000 to 30,000 miles or if you notice they are dirty during an inspection. If you want a precise service interval, check your owner’s manual.

How to Change Your Cabin Air Filter

1. Safety First

Park your vehicle on a flat, dry surface and make sure the parking brake is on. In some situations you may need a screwdriver or socket set, but most installations can be done by hand.

Sometimes the filter can be pretty dirty, so you may want to wear safety gloves and goggles, and even put a covering down on your passenger side floor mat. This is in case dust or debris fall out when removing the old filter.

2. Get to the filter

Open and, often times, remove the glove box to access the cabin air filter. The owner’s manual should have detailed information on removal. This may require a screwdriver, or simply pressing down on a tab or two.

Some vehicles allow access without removing the glove box, but there are others where the cabin air filter is accessed from under the hood. The owner’s manual or a Repair Guide will have detailed information on location & removal for your vehicle.

person showing how to remove glove box

3. Remove old cabin air filter

Remove the old cabin air filter and any debris. Note the placement of the old filter. You may want to vacuum the area.

4. Install the new filter

Install the new filter. Note the direction the old filter was installed and match the new filter. Air flow direction is usually indicated by arrows on the filter.

person showcasing an open glove box.

5. Install the glove box

Install the glove box. Install using the same steps you did for removal.

When it’s time to change your engine air filter or cabin air filter, visit your neighborhood AutoZone. We can help you find the right fit for your vehicle.

If the job is too big for you, seek out one of our Preferred Shops to help you do the job.

Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on and AutoZone Advice & How-To’s are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZone’s knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.

Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

FREE Loan-A-Tool® program requires returnable deposit. Please note that the tool that you receive after placing an online order may be in a used but operable condition due to the nature of the Loan-A-Tool® program.

Related Posts