How To Replace a Cabin Air Filter That’s Behind the Glove Box

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Cabin air filters are a new feature found on many late model vehicles. These filters are responsible for filtering the air that enters the vehicle when the heating and air conditioning (AC) systems are in use. They prevent any debris, such as dust and leaves, from entering the vehicle’s ventilation system, and also help keep the cabin odor free and comfortable for the passengers.

Over time, in much the same way as an engine air filter, cabin filters accumulate dirt and debris, hindering their ability to filter airflow, and need to be replaced. Common indicators that you need to replace your cabin air filter include:

  • An increase in noise, along with a decrease in airflow when using the heating or air conditioning systems

  • A faint odor present coming from the vents (due to a dirty, overly saturated filter)

This article covers how to replace the cabin air filter in cars that require the glove box to be removed in order for the filter to be changed - these cars include some Toyotas, Audis, and Volkswagens. It is a relatively simple procedure, and very similar across a wide range of models.

Materials Needed

person removing items from glove box

Step 1: Clean out the glove box. The cabin air filter is located within the dashboard, behind the vehicle’s glove box.

  • The glove box will need to be removed in order to access the cabin air filter so take everything out of it first.

  • Open the vehicle’s glove box, and remove any paperwork or items that may be there to prevent from falling out when the glove box is removed.

person removing glove box screws

Step 2: Remove the glove box screws. Once all items have been removed, unfasten the glove box from the vehicle.

  • This step may require the use of hand tools, and may also vary slightly from model to model. However, it is usually a very simple task.

  • Note: In many vehicles the glove box is held on by one screw, or is simply held on by plastic tabs that can be pushed free. Use the flashlight to thoroughly examine the bottom and sides of the glove box, or refer to your vehicle owner’s manual to determine the proper method for removing the glove box.

hands tkaing out cabin air filter

Step 3: Remove the cabin air filter. Once the glove box is removed, the cabin air filter cover should be exposed. it is a thin, black plastic cover, that has tabs on both sides.

  • Remove it by pressing the plastic tabs to release it, and expose the cabin air filter.

  • Note: Certain models use screws to retain the plastic cover. In these models one need only remove the screws, using a screwdriver, to be able to access the cabin filter.

person installing new air filter

Step 4: Replace the cabin air filter. Remove the cabin air filter, by pulling it straight out, and replace it with your brand new filter.

  • Tip: When removing the old cabin filter, take care to be gentle and not to shake off any debris, such as leaves or dirt, that may be loose on the filter.

  • When removing the cabin filter, take note that some models will also house the cabin filter in a black plastic square housing. In these cases you only have pull out the entire plastic sleeve, and then remove the cabin filter from that. It pulls straight out, in the same exact manner as models that do not use the plastic sleeve.

person screwing in last part of glove box

Step 5: Put the plastic cover and glove box. Once the new cabin filter has been installed, reinstall the plastic cover and glove box in reverse of the order in which you removed them, as shown in Steps 1-3, and enjoy the fresh air and flow of your new cabin filter.

Replacing a cabin air filter in most vehicles is usually a simple task. However, if you don’t not feel comfortable taking on such a task, your filter can be replaced by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic.


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Number of Reviews

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Honorio

18 years of experience
782 reviews
Honorio
18 years of experience
Honda Odyssey - Cabin Air Filter - Sunnyvale, California
Honorio arrived before our appointment time, he was courteous and professional.  He took the time to listen to my concerns, clearly explained my issue, and what my options were.    He made it easy to use this service since it was my first time.
Toyota Corolla - Cabin Air Filter - Sunnyvale, California
Great guy! Very patient, thorough and most of all, honest! My main motivation for sticking with yourmechanic.com is the honesty of their mechanics. Keep it up folks!

Jeffrey

26 years of experience
853 reviews
Jeffrey
26 years of experience
Toyota Highlander - Cabin Air Filter - Charlotte, North Carolina
I LOVE Jeffery! He has been taking care of the cars driven by my son and me for about 2 years. He is always willing to explain things about my car to me and he shows me the parts he has replaced. I totally trust Jeffery. He treats my car like it is his own.
Mazda 3 - Cabin Air Filter - Charlotte, North Carolina
I have had Jeff work on my vehicles severs times, and he is excellent. He works very hard and is knowledgeable and friendly.

Jonathan

12 years of experience
151 reviews
Jonathan
12 years of experience
BMW X3 - Cabin Air Filter - Warwick, Rhode Island
Jon worked with me on getting the work done on my car even though the weather conditions were not great, he showed up on time and completed the work in a timely manner. Jon had a great personality and made recommendations for future work I needed to get done on my vehicle. I would highly recommend him.

David

17 years of experience
22 reviews
David
17 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra - Cabin Air Filter - Denver, Colorado
Loved working with David. He was on time and went over and above to get my daughter's car in good working order.

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