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Changing The Cabin Air Filter In Your Car: All You Need To Know

Changing The Cabin Air Filter In Your Car: All You Need To Know

If you are interested in changing the cabin air filter in your car, follow these simple steps:

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


  1. Confirm you need an air filter
  2. Purchase the new filter
  3. Prepare your vehicle
  4. Locate the old cabin air filter
  5. Remove the old cabin air filter
  6. Compare the new and the old cabin air filters
  7. Install the new air filter
  8. Test the new air filter

Your vehicle contains hundreds of interactive components. Some of these components are major, like the engine, transmission, etc. However, some minor components are essential and critical for your vehicle to operate properly, as the filters.

Your vehicle contains a lot of filters, and every filter is responsible for restricting the flow of certain contaminants or dirt. One of the very common filters that you'll see in every vehicle is the cabin air filter. This air filter is an important element that plays a major role in the status of the air inside the vehicle.

The good news is that changing the cabin air filter is not a complicated job, and it's something you can do by yourself without needing a professional mechanic. This way, you'll save a ton on labor costs and do the job effectively without needing to wait for a long time until we get an appointment.

This article provides it with all you need to know about changing the cabin air filter in your car. More specifically, it highlights the role of the cabin air filter in your car and walks you through a step-by-step procedure on how to change the cabin air filter yourself without needing a mechanic.


What is the cabin air filter, and what does it do?

Before we dive into the details about changing the cabin air filter in your car, it is essential to get a good understanding of the role of this filter and where it's located in your car.

The cabin air filter is a small filter responsible for filtering the air getting inside your vehicle's interior. Whatever air comes through the AC vents runs through the cabin air filter to clean up before reaching the passengers.

This filter has certain material that prevents contaminants or dirt from passing through and getting to the vehicle’s interior. That's why maintaining a clean cabin air filter helps maintain the health of the passengers. The air filter becomes an extremely critical component, especially respiratory health problems.

Overtime views, the cabin air filter is expected to clog, and when this happens, you'll notice that the air coming towards the vehicle’s interior is not clean. As a result, it might carry a lot of outside contaminations. Furthermore, a clogged cabin air filter restricts airflow, resulting in other problems in certain components like the AC system.

Changing the cabin air filter in your car: all you need to know

As we highlighted before, the cabin air filter is essential for your car. When it's clogged, you have to immediately replace it to maintain healthy air getting inside the vehicle.

If you're planning to change the cabin air filter, follow these simple steps:

1.    Confirm you need an air filter

Before you move any step further and change the cabin air filter, you must understand that your vehicle's problem has to do with the cabin air filter. In other words, there is another common air filter that causes major mechanical problems and is in the engine.

The engine air filter is located inside the engine compartment, and it's responsible for maintaining clean air towards the combustion system. Therefore, you should check with your mechanic and confirm that you're dealing with a bad cabin air filter, not a bad engine air filter.

2.    Purchase the new filter

Before starting the job, you'll need to confirm that you got the right filter. The most accurate source of information for the right type of cabin air filter is your vehicle owner’s manual. The manuals would have details about the cabin air filters code and number that you should refer to before making any purchase decision.

Some other people prefer to look at the old filter first and perform a visual comparison to confirm they purchased the right air filter.

3.    Prepare your vehicle

Whenever you do any car repairs, you'll have to consider safety first. Therefore, you want to choose the right place for doing the job. For example, it's recommended that you park your car in a flat area where there is no danger around. A perfect location would be your house garage or probably driveway.

Also, the old cabin air filter is expected to be very dirty, and that's why you want to do the job in an open area so you don't inhale any of the dirt that could be coming from the cabin air filter. You also want to replace the air filter without any kids or other people nearby.

4.    Locate the old cabin air filter

Typically, the cabin air filter should be located around the cabin area. Still, if you don't know where exactly it is located, you can easily refer to your vehicle's owner’s manual to get an accurate direction.

You can also search for online videos or pictures to show you where this filter is for your vehicle type. There are plenty of available YouTube videos that walk you through the process subway step.

5.    Remove the old cabin air filter

When you take out the cabin air filter, you must take it out gently without ripping it off or damaging it and allowing dirt to drop on the different components around it.

A good pro tip here is to take a quick picture of the cabin air filter because you'll have to install the new one in the same direction to ensure that the cabin is facing the right airflow direction.

6.    Compare the new and the old cabin air filters

A good check would be to compare the old cabin air filter to the new one you just purchased. This way, you confirm that you're choosing the right size and model.

7.    Install the new air filter

By referring to the picture you took for the old air filter, you should easily install the new one gently in the right location.

8.    Test the new air filter

At this point, you notice that the air in your vehicle is much cleaner, and whatever warning signs or other problems you are dealing with should be gone by now.

How often should I replace the cabin air filter?

Learning about changing their cabin air filter helps you maintain healthy and clean air. However, it is also essential to understand how often you should replace the cabin filter so you don't deal with sudden damages without paying attention.

Typically, the cabin air filter is expected to last between 15,000 and 30,000 miles. However, you need to keep an eye on any other symptoms that indicate that the cabin air filter is failing prematurely.

What are the symptoms of a bad cabin air filter?

Although the government air filter is expected to last between 15,000 and 30,000 miles, there are some instances where it goes bad and gets clogged prematurely. This happens because of driving in an environment where the air is extremely dirty or other site-specific conditions that make the filter clocked faster.

Therefore, you must learn about the common symptoms of a vet cabin air filter. Once you notice any of these symptoms, you should go ahead and replace them immediately to prevent dealing with other complications that will cost you a lot of money.

Let's take a look at some of the common symptoms of a bad cabin air filter:

1.    Issues with the airflow

One of the first and most common symptoms you will immediately notice when the air filter is bad is poor airflow coming from the air vents. This is not surprising because as the air filter gets clogged, there will be very little room for air to get inside the car, and the entire porous media will be completely clogged, preventing any air from reaching the passengers.

2.    Weird odor coming out of the vents

Also, as dirt gets clogged on the air filter, it will start making weird odors. Therefore, you'll notice that the smell will be extremely bad whenever you turn on the air conditioning. The longer you wait on a clogged air filter, the stronger the smell gets, making the driving experience very uncomfortable.

3.    Loud fan noises

The more you drive your car, the more you'll notice when the noises are different. In other words, typically, the fans should make a very soft continuous noise every time you turn on the AC system. However, if you realize that this noise is getting sharper and stronger, it might be an indication of a clogged air filter pure

The more the clogging, the harder it is for the ear to run through the smaller areas in the air filter. That's why the fan will start making very loud noises that will grow louder when you ignore the problem.

4.    Issues with windows fog

It might sound strange that the windows fogged are linked somehow to the air filter. However, that should not be surprising because the cabin air filter removes the window's fog.

The air coming out of the cabin air filter is also used to remove the fog and ice from the windows, and if you feel that this air is not strong enough and it's not doing its job as before, you might want to check on the cabin air filter.

5.    Troubles with the cooling and heating systems

Obviously, since the cabin air filter is one of the first things that air faces before reaching the different AC systems, you will immediately notice that your car is not getting warmed up or cooled down every time you turn the AC or heating systems of a bad air filter.

Keep in mind that the AC and heating systems might have other problems causing the issue, and therefore, you cannot immediately assume it's a bad cabin air filter. However, you can perform a quick visual inspection of the cabin air filter to check whether it's approaching the end of its lifetime.

Some customers might clean the cabin air filter and not necessarily replace it, especially if it's filled with dirt only and it looks in a decent condition.

Changing the cabin air filter in your car: Final thoughts

Like the rest of the filters in your car, the cabin air filter is an essential component that cleans many of the contaminants and prevents them from reaching the vehicle. More specifically, the cabin air filter restricts the flow of any dirt or debris and prevents it from reaching the passengers.

Since the cabin air filter is expected to clog over time, changing the cabin air filter is one of the very common jobs that you will run across during the lifetime of your car. This article walked you through all you need to know about changing the cabin air filter in your car yourself without needing a mechanic.

While changing the air filter is a simple job, if your car has other major problems, it might not be worth your effort to change this filter. In other words, if you know that the engine doesn't start or the transmission has major complications, it would be better to focus on fixing these problems rather than changing the filters.

Keep in mind that many of the major car problems require extremely high repair costs, and if that's the case, you might want to think about selling your car and using its value to purchase a better vehicle that doesn't have any problem.

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