by Lori Straus
A cabin air filter will cost you maybe $10 or $20, and replacing your old one will take you about 15 minutes and save you a trip to the garage. The result: Much cleaner air inside the car. What? You didn’t know you had a cabin air filter? Then replace it as soon as possible, because it should be replaced at least once a year. (You’ll understand what we mean when you pull yours out, especially if you’ve waited longer than a year to replace it.)
Buy a Replacement Filter
Like home furnaces, different makes and models of cars require different filters. Check your owner’s manual on specifications for your filter. If you walk into an auto parts store and ask for a cabin air filter “for my Ford,” the person behind the counter won’t be able to help you. Make sure you have the make, model, and year handy.
Replace Your Cabin Air Filter
Most cabin air filters are located behind the glove box in the cabin, which is very easy to access. We’ll provide generic instructions here, but refer to your owner’s manual for instructions relevant to your vehicle.
- Empty your glove box.
- You may have a limiting stop arm on the right side of your glove box. Remove the pin that attaches the arm to the glove box. You may need a screwdriver for this.
- Place a hand on each side of the glove box and push your hands toward each other. This should release the box and let you remove it.
- Place a towel on the floor to catch any debris as you continue working.
- If you see a faceplate, remove it. This is usually done by pressing tabs on the outside toward the middle like you did for the glove box.
- Remove and dispose of the air filter, paying attention to the direction in which the arrow on the filter frame is pointing. Be careful not to release any of the dust and debris caught in its folds.
- Vacuum and wipe down the cabin air filter housing so everything is as clean as possible for your new filter.
- Paying attention to the direction of the arrow on the frame of your new filter, insert the new filter so that the arrow is facing in the exact same direction as the arrow on the old one was.
- If you had to remove a faceplate, put it back now.
- Put your glove box back, reversing the steps you took to remove it.
- And you’re done!
Not Complicated at All
Replacing your cabin air filter not only helps you breathe cleaner air, but it will also allow air to circulate more freely. This makes your ventilation more efficient, but there’s another bonus: you’ll be able to defrost your windshield faster in the winter. So, now that you know you have a cabin filter that helps clean the air inside your car, remember to switch it out whenever it gets dirty.