Car Maintenance: Changing the Cabin Air Filter

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FRAMFresh #CollectiveBias

Recently, I shared 10 Car Maintenance Tips & Skills All Moms Need to Know, because I think it’s important to be empowered around car safety & maintenance – and not to mention it can help extend the life of your car. Today, I’m sharing with you how to chance the Cabin Air Filter in your car.

Why you need to change your car's air filters - for your family's health and for your car's performance

The air inside your vehicle can be up to 6x dirtier than the air outside. Dirt and allergens can enter the car and essentially become trapped there, for you and your family to keep breathing in and reacting to.

Some of you already know that Ella has some allergies and will actually be having surgery soon to remove her tonsils & adenoids, so keeping the air around her clean is really important to me – but I had no idea about cabin air filters until we recently.

We bought my dad his dream car this past summer, however the previous owner had been a cigar smoker… and that car reeked of cigars. I offered to get it professionally detailed, but my dad suggested that we see what changing the air filter did – and it went a long way to removing the smell. So naturally, it got me thinking about my own car and if my own cabin air filter could use some refreshing.

A cabin air filter cleans the air entering the vehicle – removing dust, dirt, and allergens. A clogged cabin air filter can not only block the flow of fresh air coming into the system and block output into the cabin of the vehicle, it can also restrict the air entering your vehicle’s ventilation system which could cause your air conditioning or defrosting system to not work as it efficiently should.

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How to Change your Cabin Air Filter

We used a FRAM Fresh Breeze cabin air filter for our demonstration, which removes up to 98% of dirt, dust and allergens and uses natural deodorizers to absorb and eliminate odours. They recommend changing your cabin air filter annually or ever 24,000km so it’s some pretty low-key maintenance.

Look in your car’s manual to find out where your cabin air filter is located. Often they are located under or around the glove box.

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Place a towel or some newspaper down on your car’s floor to catch any falling dirt or debris.

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Remove the cabin air filter cover – mine just required a Philips head screwdriver.

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Carefully pull out the old cabin air filter – you can see all of the leaves and dirt already!

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Carefully dispose of the air filter and wash your hands to keep the new filter clean.

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Remove the new cabin air filter from it’s packaging and check to see where the arrows indicate how to insert it.

Carefully shimmy the new cabin air filter up into the crevice, and then re-secure the cover.
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While we were changing the cabin air filter, we also took the opportunity to change my Engine Air Filter. (Chances are if one needs changing, the other one needs it as well.)

A clean air filter improves airflow and prevents dirt and dust from entering and damaging the engine, and can increase acceleration, horsepower, and improve overall engine performance.

Whereas a dirty air filter restricts airflow, which can contribute to decreased acceleration, horsepower, and reduced overall performance.

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I purchased both the FRAM Fresh Breeze cabin air filter and Extra Guard Engine Air Filter at my local Canadian Tire – the filters for smaller cars are out on the shelves in the Auto Maintenance area, however my new car is an SUV that requires bigger filters, so those were kept behind the counter at my location. (So if you don’t see yours on the shelf, ask an associate.)

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What is the best thing you do to improve the experience of driving your car?

Check out other tips and tricks for changing out your filters here and here.

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12 Comments

  1. This is a great tip for improving the air quality in your vehicle and keeping it running well. I need to do this in my own car. #client

  2. Car’s cabin air filter is one of the most essential part of a car. Its primary function is to keep the air inside the car cabin is clean. But if someone does not change it on a regular basis, then the filter could get clogged with dirt, and dust and can not filter the air efficiently. It can also affect the performance of defroster and also heating and air conditioning. Recommendations when it should be replaced vary by manufacture, some say in 12000-15000 miles and some say even longer. But it actually depends on how one drives and where. I will follow the tips that you have mentioned in the blog and still if I face any problem then I will take the help of an expert to resolve the issue. Thank you for sharing.

  3. No doubt, the cabin air filter is one of the most consequential components of a vehicle. It is a feature which is mostly found on old-fashioned automobiles. Basically, it serves the purpose of cleaning the air that comes into the interior through oxygenation, warming, and air conditioning system. Some manufacturers recommend to replace it in every 12000 miles, while some others propose to change it in every 15000 miles. Does anyone know the reason? It is mainly because the replacement depends on how much one drives and where he drives. Well, over the time it gets contaminated with dust, pollen, and debris and a clogged cabin air filter will reduce the flow of air in climate control system and won’t make the filtration process as efficiently as supposed to be. Hence, a car owner should inspect it on regular basis and replace it timely, either by his own or taking the help of a car specialist, which will make his car durable and fuel efficient.

  4. If you think about the maintenance of the car never ignore the condition of the air filter. When you see there is more dirt present inside the air filter basic step to change the cabin of the air filter. It prevents your vehicle entering from dirt and dust and provides fresh air in your car. It is recommended to change air filter in every 24,000 km. Keeping the knowledge about the changing the cabin of air filter help you change it yourself. This maintenance also improves airflow and prevent dirt from entering and damaging the engine and can increase acceleration, horsepower, and improve overall engine performance.

  5. When you think about the maintenance of a car you can’t ignore the maintenance of the air filter. Clean air filter cabinet cleans the air entering the vehicle – removing dust, dirt, and allergens. A clogged cabin air filter block the flow of fresh air coming into the system and block output into the cabin of the vehicle. Keeping idea about its basic maintenance makes your vehicle free to move on the road. It is good to change the cabinet when your car covered distance of 24,000 km. A clean air filter improves airflow and prevents dirt and dust from entering and damaging the engine, and can increase acceleration, horsepower, and improve overall engine performance.

  6. Air filter plays vital role in the vehicle and needs maintenance at a regular interval like other parts of the vehicle. It provides pure air to the cabin of the vehicle. However, it’s effectiveness reduces with the flow of time and hence needs replacement after certain time interval. However, some people underestimates the importance of regular air filter maintenance, which could cost them a lot in the near future. Because damaged air filter couldn’t purify the air effectively, as a result of which concentration of hazardous contaminants increases inside the cabin of the vehicle. Hence could affects the health of the passengers as well as the interior components of the vehicle.

    1. I am still having problems with pollen and gunk and maybe even dust mite issue because of my cabin filter that I wasn’t even aware of in my 2014 Jeep Cherokee and I think now I’ve developed some kind of allergic reaction to the pollen and the dirt that may still remains in my air filteration system that no one knows how to clean out the remainder the gunk that looks like cream colored and black specks the size of head dressmaker pinOr smaller. I have turn my fan on high recirculated the air and heat it’s good for about one or two days and then it’s back to square one all over my dashboard and it’s visible because my interior is black.
      I’m at my wits and if somebody knows would have in your engine clean get rid of this finally let me know Please

  7. Air filter is an important component of the vehicle which needs maintenance on a daily basis like other components of the vehicle. Cabin air filter provides purified air into the cabin of the vehicle. Clean air filter purify air more effectively than dirty one. So, the condition of the air filter needs to be inspected at a regular interval and if the air filter is too old or too dirt, then it becomes essential to replace such air filter with suitable substitute in order to get purified air. Apart from air filter, other types of filter used in the vehicle also needs maintenance.

  8. Some people underestimates the importance of air filter inspection. Cabin air filter protects the passengers from different types of contaminants including dust particles and different types of foreign microscopic organisms. It needs maintenance at a regular interval like other components of the vehicle. The condition of the air filter should be inspected properly and replacement of clogged air filter is really necessary to ensure effective performance of the vehicle.

  9. Cabin air filter cleans the air that comes to the interior. It catches dust,pollen and other air borne materials that makes the riding unpleasant. Therefore we should take proper care of the cabin air filter. Even if we take it’s care it needs to be replaced every 12,000-15,000 miles according to the manufacturer. Cabin air filter must be inspected at regular interval and if it is found to be old or dirty, then replacement of the dirty air filter is urgently required.

  10. Thanks for addressing the importance of cabin air filter. Foreign microscopic contaminants like dust particles and microbes could damage different components of the vehicle an also have a catastrophic effect on the health of the passenger. However, the role of such a filter is often ignored by many people which could be very dangerous. So, the condition of different types of filters used in the vehicle including the cabin air filter should be inspected regularly and if necessary should be replaced with suitable substitutes. For more assistance, visit https://carbahnautoworks.com/bmw-service/

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