How to Change Your Cabin Filter

Your car’s cabin filter (also known as a pollen filter) is responsible for keeping the air inside your vehicle as clean as possible, filtering out contaminants from the air circulated by your heaters and air conditioning.

You may also hear it referred to as an ‘air filter’ – however, it’s important to be aware that your car has different types of air filters, for the engine and for the cabin. When replacing your filter, be sure you’ve chosen a cabin air filter and not an engine air filter.

What is a cabin filter?

The main function of the cabin filter is to trap airborne particles before they enter your car’s cabin. These contaminates can include dust, pollen, allergens, mould spores, road debris, exhaust fumes, and other airborne debris.

Not only is this important for a nice atmosphere inside your car, but it can also ensure you’re breathing healthier air, as it helps to keep pollutants, airborne bacteria and pollen at bay.

What does a cabin filter do?

Most manufacturers recommend that you replace your cabin filter between every 15,000 and 30,000 miles on average.

We’ll replace your cabin filter during your Major Service, which we recommend every 24 months or 24,000 miles.

We also recommend replacing your filter after you use an Air Conditioning Antibacterial Cleaner to leave your car as fresh as possible.

How often to change cabin filter?

If you can’t remember when your cabin filter was last changed, there are a couple of signs to look out for to tell you that it might need replacing.

  • The air flow from your vents feels weaker than normal, or has gotten worse over time
  • There’s a musty smell inside the cabin – bacteria will grow on the trapped particles over time, resulting in a stale odor

How to tell if your cabin filter needs replacing?

Please note: this is a general step-by-step guide. Specific steps may vary depending on your car's make and model, so always consult your owner's manual for the most accurate instructions.

Before you begin

Since the filter and housing are likely to hold a lot of grime, we recommend you wear gloves for this process.

We also recommend laying some newspaper or protective sheeting in your footwell (if the filter is housed inside the car) to catch any fallout.

What you’ll need:

Step 1: Locate your cabin filter

The location of the cabin filter varies from car to car. It may be behind the centre console or under the bonnet, but most can be found behind the glovebox – for this step-by-step, we will assume the filter is located here.

Consult your owner’s manual or Haynes manual to find the location in your make and model.

Step 2: Access the old filter

To access the filter housing, you may need to remove the glove box door or other plastic covers. Again, your owner’s manual or Haynes manual will have vehicle-specific instructions. A screwdriver set may be needed to remove these parts.

You should now be able to see the filter housing. Detach anything securing it (usually plastic clips or a cover).

Step 3: Remove the old filter

Take a picture of the filter in the housing. This will help you with installing the new filter in the correct position.

Gently remove the old filter from the housing and compare it to the new one – if they look to be the same, you can dispose of the old filter. If not, you may not have the correct part.

Step 4: Clean the filter housing

Before installing the new filter, remove any debris from in and around the filter housing.

Use a vacuum to remove any loose dirt, then clean in and around the housing with a damp cloth.

Step 5: Install the new filter

Consult your picture to ensure you fit the filter in the correct position. Gently slide the new filter into place.

Once the filter is secured in the housing, reassemble the glovebox.

Step 6: Test the air con system

Now you’ve replaced the filter, turn on your air system. Check various settings and make sure the air quantity feels right.

You have now successfully replaced the cabin filter.