Cabin Air Filter Replacement


Staff member
Nov 13, 2006
By Paul Amero, BAT Auto

A lot of late model vehicles, be they Import or Domestic, have Cabin Air Filters. It is a pretty good idea because they reduce the amount of dust entering the vehicle and help keep dirt off the evaporator core to reduce mold and odors when using the A/C. Like any filter they need periodic replacement and that is where our replacement procedure begins. I've used a 1998 Honda Accord as our example. This vehicle uses 2 cabin air filters, one for the fresh air intake and one for when the recirculation function is used. Both require some disassembly of the vehicle interior to access. Depending on your vehicle, it may be easier or harder to replace these filters. Some are replaced by removing the fresh air intake cowling below the windshield and some, like our Honda, require inside work. On our Honda, I had to remove the glove box. Refer to the photos for the locations of the screws securing it. The lower trim panel has to be removed in order to gain access to the bottom screws holding the glove box in place. It may seem like a jigsaw puzzle when you first do it and time consuming but it should not take any more than an hour at the most. Keep track of what screws go where. Mind you, the Honda I've shown is one of the more complex and time consuming cabin air filter replacements, it uses two filters. I wanted to show you an in depth replacement vs. some of the easier less complex systems to give you an idea of what you may have to remove in order to replace these filters. Cabin Air Filters are reasonably priced, Most are in the $15 to $25 range, but some for higher end vehicles can be in the $50 range. As you can see, both filters, after 5 yrs are very dirty and have reduced the airflow to the interior of the vehicle considerably.

The first step is gaining access to the filters and in the case of our Accord requires you to remove the glove box. Four screws inside the glove box on either side of the box and latch need to be removed. The two screws on the side are hidden under plastic covers which are shown removed. A small flat tip screwdriver is all that's required to pop them out.

The next step is to get to the remaining screws that secure the glove box and they are located behind the lower trim panel below the glove box. Remove the fuse panel cover where you will find two screws that secure the lower trim panel [Some models have more fasteners, before you start pulling, check to see if there are any other fasteners], the rest of the panel simply clips into the support frame and is released by pulling on the panel .

With the lower trim panel out of the way you can see the support bar. This is where the lower screws for the glove box are located, remove them.

This support bar also blocks the door and it has to be removed to gain access to the filters.
It's held in place with two screws, one on either side of the bar. Remove it, but be careful,
on the right hand side of the bar is a ground wire, be careful not to damage it

Once the support bar is out of the way we find the door to the filters unobstructed. The door has a latch clip on the bottom that simply pulls down and then you lift up on the door to remove it.

At this time it's a good idea to note how the filters are installed and reinstall the new filters with the airflow pointing in the correct direction

Remove the top filter and then the bottom one, they simply slide out and are indexed
so there is no wrong way to install them back in the plenum.
After being in place for nearly five years these filters are very dirty

These filters are housed in plastic frames that are to be reused so don't toss them away with the old filters.

Clean them up and install the new filters with their airflow arrows pointing in the same direction as indicated on the frame.
Once everything is clean its time to reinstall the new filters

Reinstallation is just the reverse of disassembly. Make sure all the screws are accounted for and tight.

The only tools required for this was a phillips screwdriver and a small flat tip screwdriver. The filters were about $40 including tax. You can consult your owners manual for maintenance on these filters.

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Paul Amero