Changing your cabin air filter

Updated: September 24, 2013
Changing cabin air filter

Many cars have a cabin air filter that filters outside air coming into the cabin. A cabin air filter is recommended to be replaced every 12 months or 10,000-15,000 miles (16,000 - 24,000 km).
Signs of a clogged up cabin air filter include reduced air flow and bad odor coming from the air vents.
A cabin air filter clogs up faster if your car is parked under trees or if you drive on unpaved roads.
In some cars a cabin filter is easy to replace, in others, it's better to let your dealer have it replaced it for you. Here we are replacing the cabin filter in the 2009 Toyota Corolla:

Replacing the cabin filter in the 2009-2013 Toyota Corolla

Changing cabin air filter step one

In this car, Toyota made it very simple and provided the instructions in the owner's manual; it is a fairly easy task.

Changing cabin air filter step two

The first step, as per this manual is turn the engine OFF; of course, we don't need it running. The next step, open the glove box, locate the damper and slide it off.

Changing cabin air filter step three

Now, the manual says push in each side of the glove box to disconnect the claws. What it means is there are two claws sticking out on each side (see the next photo); to pass them out of the glove box opening, you need to squeeze the glove box gently from each side.

Changing cabin air filter step four

Here you can see the claws we are talking about.

Changing cabin air filter step five

Here is what we got behind the glove box. Click on the photo to see the larger image.

Changing cabin air filter step six

This is easy: remove the filter cover.

Changing cabin air filter step seven

Pull the old filter out carefully, as it might be filled with leaves and other debris. This one looks dirty.

Changing cabin air filter step eight

Here is the new cabin air filter we bought from a Toyota dealer.

Changing cabin air filter step nine

All we need now, is to install everything back in the reverse order. Make sure install the filter the right way. This manual says The "↑UP" marks shown on the filter should be pointing up. Slide the filter back carefully; check if the cover closes properly.

Changing cabin air filter step ten

Again, push in each side to make the claws go back in.

Changing cabin air filter step eleven

Lastly, push the damper back into its place. Done. At a dealer, this job typically costs from $30 to $70 for labor plus about $20 for a part.

If you want to better filter out odors, you can buy an activated charcoal cabin air filter that better absorbs various smells. We have tried it, it does work better.

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