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

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.


Next Step

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Recent Cabin Air Filter Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(806)

Rating Summary
777
21
5
2
1
777
21
5
2
1

Pardeep

21 years of experience
1068 reviews
Pardeep
21 years of experience
Toyota Prius L4-1.5L Hybrid - Cabin Air Filter - Fremont, California
Mr. Singh was on time, gave good advice and did the services very well. By the way, this is the third time I have my car serviced by him.
Volkswagen Jetta - Cabin Air Filter - San Jose, California
I was getting worried since my car is getting to be pretty high mileage. Pardeep took his time to go over all the needed repairs going into great detail why each repair was needed and how immediate it was to the safety of my vehicle.

Joel

11 years of experience
146 reviews
Joel
11 years of experience
Ford Escape L4-2.5L - Cabin Air Filter - Lewisville, Texas
Joes was extremely professional, patient, and knowledgeable. Including explaining future repairs needed
Toyota Prius C - Cabin Air Filter - Corinth, Texas
Joel was very professional and knowledgeable. We weren’t sure for a while what the issue was with my car. Now it runs like a champ. Thanks

Roberto

12 years of experience
304 reviews
Roberto
12 years of experience
Volvo XC60 L4-2.0L Turbo - Cabin Air Filter - Richmond, Texas
Roberto is very good, thorough guy. He changed the brake pads, engine filter and cabin filter. I recommend him.

Thomas

12 years of experience
96 reviews
Thomas
12 years of experience
Audi Q5 V6-3.2L - Cabin Air Filter - Cedar Hill, Texas
Thomas did a great job with changing my oil, replacing my fuel pump, air filter, and cabin air filter! He communicated with me, kept me informed, and was very professional.

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