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Cabin air filters are much like the A/C or furnace filter in your home. They help keep the air quality of your vehicle fresher.



What is a Cabin Air Filter

Air that is blown inside your vehicle passes through the cabin air filter to be purified and cleansed, making it healthier for you and your passengers. Cabin air filters are designed to protect drivers and passengers from pollen, smoke, smog, mildew, dander, fungus, mold spores, dust, and other pollutants and contaminants. Regular replacement helps keep the air in your cabin safe for you and your passengers.

How do Cabin Air Filters Work?

Your vehicle's cabin air filter is positioned at the top of the air intake ducting. As your vehicle draws air into the cabin area, the filter captures harmful contaminants in its media. Most cabin air filters are in or around the glove box area. Some are located under the hood of the vehicle.

How are Cabin Air Filters Made?

Most cabin air filters are made of filter media and formed in the shape of a panel. The non-woven media is generally folded into pleats to better catch the contaminants. Some cabin air filters are pressed or molded shapes with non-woven media.

Why do Cabin Air Filters Fail?

  • Severe duty driving
  • Heavy Pollen
  • Lack of annual replacement

What are Symptoms of Cabin Air Filter Failure

  • Musty smell
  • Windows fog
  • Poor air flow through cabin vents

What are Implications of Cabin Air Filter Failure?

  • Interference with A/C performance
  • Damaged circulating fans by preventing air flow
  • Poor window fog clearing due to poor air flow

When to replace your cabin air filter

Most manufacturers recommend removal and replacement of your cabin air filter once a year or after 12,000 to 15,000 miles of driving. However, this is just a rough guideline. If you routinely drive ni places with poor air quality, like the desert where it’s dusty or urban areas with smog, then you may need to replace your cabin air filter more frequently.

How to Replace you Cabin Air Filter

You may want to have the technician install a new cabin air filter as you’re having other maintenance performed on your vehicle. However, if you do your own maintenance, you’re more than capable of replacing your cabin air filter by yourself. No special tools are required and it’s easier than an oil change on most vehicles. Just follow these steps:

  • Start by purchasing an OEM quality filter
  • Use your service manual to locate the cabin air filter. Your manual may also have more detailed instructions concerning removal and replacement of the cabin air filter
  • If your cabin air filter is behind your glove box, remove the fasteners holding the glove box in the dash. If your filter is not near the glove box, consult your service manual for removal and replacement instructions
  • Wiggle the glove box free just enough to expose the filter housing
  • Remove the soiled filter and replace it with a new one
  • Reinstall your glove box

After replacing your cabin air filter, you may notice that your heating and air conditioning blow harder through the vents than they did before. If you’ve experienced symptoms of allergies while driving, you may notice your symptoms go away or lessen after the filter has been changed.

If you have questions or concerns about cabin air filters, your vehicle's emissions system, or any of your vehicle's components, come to your local Pep Boys where we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need. Our ASE certified technicians are here to help - from information to installation!