What’s A Cabin Air Filter?

A cabin air filter, also known as a passenger compartment air filter, is a filter located in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system of a vehicle. Its primary function is to clean the air that enters the cabin or passenger compartment, removing pollutants such as dust, pollen, and other allergens.

A clean cabin air filter helps improve air quality inside the vehicle and enhances the overall driving experience. In addition, a clogged or dirty air filter can reduce the efficiency of the HVAC system and cause unpleasant odors, so it’s important to replace it regularly as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

The cabin air filter is typically a folded-paper filter placed in the outside air intake, for the vehicle’s passenger compartment. Some of these filters are rectangular and similar in shape to the combustion air filter. Others are uniquely shaped to fit the available space of particular vehicles’ outside-air intakes.

When to Replace Your Cabin Air Filter?

When it comes to replacing your cabin air filter your vehicle’s manufacturer’s time period can vary. Recommendations can be anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 km (every 1-2 years), but how often you change your filter can also depend on factors such as driving frequency and climate.

Depending on your environment, for example; if you live in a highly populated urban area, there is a high possibility you will need to replace the air filter annually.

Other signs you need a new filter, are:

  • Reduced airflow through your climate control system
  • Persistent bad odors
  • Breathing Problems
  • Reduced Power Output from the Engine
  • Window Fogging

Even if you don’t have these warnings, we recommend having your cabin air filter replaced every 12 months. This will insure you’re breathing fresh clean air all year round and your AC is performing optimally 

Finding the Cabin Filter

Locating the Cabin Air Filter

Many cabin air filters are located behind the glove box and are easily accessible by freeing the glove box from its fasteners. Others are located under the dashboard and may not be easy to reach, or under the hood where fresh air enters the climate control system.

Not having any luck in finding the cabin air filter? Check either of the locations below.

  1. Above the blower in the back section of the outside air intake, a location well protected from moisture.
  2. Between the blower and the rest of the HVAC case.

In rare circumstances, if the owner’s manual doesn’t pinpoint the exact location of the cabin air filter, check behind the glovebox or look under the dash on both driver’s and passenger’s sides. If you notice a removable rectangular plastic cover then you’ve found your filter.

Cabin Air Filter Cost

Depending on the type of car you drive, brand quality, and the auto shop you go to, the replacement of your cabin air filters can range from $45 – $77.  If you wish to replace the filter yourself, you can purchase a cabin filter from your local automotive parts store, such as Supercheap Auto.  Make sure that the filter you purchase is for your vehicle’s make and model.

If you don’t want to install the cabin filter yourself, you can choose to use a car air conditioning expert like Jack Frost, who will supply and install the cabin filter for you.


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