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How to Replace Cabin Air Filters

Shashank Nakate
Cabin air filters fitted in the vehicles are meant for our safety and protection. It is, therefore, necessary to understand how to replace them, and it doesn't even require any technical knowledge.
Air filters are used in various applications, such as the cabins of automotives, aircraft, and internal combustion engines. These were first installed in automobiles in Europe during the 1980s. Most of the car models released after 2001 have it installed in them. They are located either beneath the dashboard or behind the glove box.
Most of the cars possess only one air filter, while some of the costly or premium vehicles could have two or three filters. They are generally of two types, namely particulate air filters and activated carbon air filters.
Particulate air filters: The particulate ones keep out pollens, dust, bacteria, and mold from the air.
Activated charcoal filters: The activated charcoal filter is sophisticated and protects the occupants of the vehicle from harmful gases.

Reasons for Changing Air Filters

The cabin air filters do the important task of keeping the air free from soot, exhaust gases, and odors. If these are not changed on a regular basis, it might lead to the accumulation of dirt, impede the airflow, and create problems in the cooling and heating of air.
It may also cause health problems in the occupants of the car, especially children and seniors. It is advisable to replace cabin air filters every 12,000 to 15,000 miles of the distance covered by the vehicle.

How to Replace Them

The first step in changing the filters is to check whether the car has one or not. Many people are not even aware that their automobiles have one. They don't require any special tools for it to be replaced. Just opening the access door should serve the purpose.
  • For changing the filters located under the hood, one needs to remove the wiper blades, cowl vent louver housing, and other items such as the washer bottle.
  • Before installing the filter, the chamber should be cleaned with the help of vacuum, followed by wiping it with a damp cloth.
  • Care should be taken to see whether the filter is installed properly or not. There is a danger of a 'bypass' to develop, if the filter is not fitted perfectly. The bypass allows the unfiltered air to pass through and renders the air filter almost useless.
  • While purchasing a new filter, taking along the old one helps in the verification. The original filter equipment has all the necessary instructions written on it.


It is easy to replace the air filter all by yourself. However, one should also follow some safety precautions.
  • It is necessary to handle sharp instruments and hot objects with due care.
  • It is not advisable to smoke or drink when one is working near the car engine.
  • One should also avoid wearing a necktie while changing the filter.
The guidelines presented here should be of help in changing the air filters with ease. It is important that you follow all the safety precautions in a proper manner, since it takes very little 'effort' to mess up a simple job.