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Breathe Easy - Cabin Air Filter Installation

How to Install a Cabin Air Filter

Has the inside of your vehicle started to smell musty? You aren’t sure where the smell is coming from but something has to be done – no one wants to ride with you!

The solution to the problem may be as easy as changing your vehicle’s cabin air filter. Cabin air filter? What is that you ask?

Most people are aware that their engine has an air filter that prevents dirt and debris from getting into the engine. Did you know that your car’s HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system has a cabin air filter?

Your vehicle’s engine air filter ensures that clean air reaches your engine. Clean air is paramount to your vehicle running efficiently. A cabin air filter performs the same function for vehicle’s HVAC system. It keeps dirt, dust, pollen and bacteria from getting into the ventilation system of your car. A cabin air filter also prevents leaves, bugs and other debris from entering the HVAC system.  It keeps the air inside your vehicle fresh which means that you and your passengers can breathe easy.

You should change your cabin air filter annually or every 12,000 miles. If you drive in heavily polluted areas or travel on dirt roads, consider changing the cabin air filter every 5,000 miles. If you suffer from allergies, you may consider changing the cabin air filter more often to ensure the quality of the air.

Replacing your cabin air filter with a high quality Champion cabin air filter is the best choice for your vehicle. It removes 98% of airborne contaminants such as pollen, dust and road dirt. Designed for optimal fit and performance, the optimized pleat construction of a Champion filter features carbon-enhanced media for maximum odor control.

Changing your vehicle’s cabin air filter is an easy job that most anyone can tackle. Read on to learn how to replace the cabin air filter.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step One

Find your car’s cabin air filter. The location of the cabin air filter can vary from vehicle to vehicle. In some cars it is located under the hood while in others it is found behind the glovebox or under the dashboard. Your vehicle’s owner manual will tell you where it is located. You can also ask a mechanic or other trusted professional to show you where it is found.

Step Two

Once you have located the cabin air filter housing, take out the old cabin air filter, remove the clips, screws or wing nuts that hold the housing in place. Take off the cover and then remove the filter. Look at the filter to see if needs replacing or if it will be good for a few more road trips. If it is dirty and grimy, the time has come to replace it.

Step Three

Clean the housing compartment. Before you install the new cabin air filter, it is worth the time to clean up the housing compartment and air intake duct. Use a vacuum to clean out any dirt and debris. Take a rag and wipe the inside of the air filter chamber to get rid of any dirt.

Step Four

Put the new cabin air filter in. Simply put the cabin air filter in the same spot where the old filter was (NOTE: be sure you install the filter with the correct air flow direction).

Step Five

Place the housing cover back on, putting any screws or clips you took off back on. If you had to remove the glovebox or dashboard to get to the cabin air filter, put it back in place by reversing the steps you used to take it off. That’s all there is to it! You and your passengers will be breathing fresh air and you’ll feel good knowing that you saved money not having a dealership or mechanic change it for you.

 Learn more about quality cabin air filters, find your car part, or find where to buy your auto part today.

The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.


  • Make sure your car's engine is cool before you start.
  • Ensure that you have the right Champion cabin air filter for your car. Read your owner's manual or use the reference catalog at the auto parts store to get the correct part number.
  • If the housing has tabs, don’t squeeze them too hard, they can break easily.


  • 15 Minutes


  • Screwdriver or other tool depending on how the filter housing is fastened. Find the location of the cabin air filter housing and see how it is fastened so you grab the proper tools.
  • Rag
  • Vacuum
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