Article > Underhood Service

Cabin Air Filter Q & A



Question: How do you replace a cabin air filter?
Answer: First you have to find it. The cabin air filter is usually located behind the glove box or at the base of the windshield in the cowl area over the HVAC inlet duct. The exact location can be found in the vehicle owner’s manual or a filter reference guide.

On most Fords, the filter is located under the hood in the cowl area. On Chrysler models, it is located under the dash. On GM products, it might be under the hood (Impala, Lumina and Monte Carlo), under the dash (Avalanche, Silverado, Suburban and Tahoe) or behind the glove box (Venture). On Toyota, Lexus, Nissan and most Honda models, you’ll find the filter behind the glove box.

On vehicles where the cabin air filter is mounted under the cowl at the base of the windshield, some disassembly may be required to replace the filter. This may involve removing a plastic cowl cover. The area around the filter usually collects debris, so this area should be cleaned to remove any leaves, bugs or other debris before the old filter is pulled out. This will prevent any contaminants from falling into the HVAC inlet duct.

On vehicles where the filter is located behind the glove box, the glove box may have to be removed to replace the filter. On others, the filter can be accessed from under the dash and pulled out of a slot in the HVAC unit.

Most cabin air filters are flat-panel filters, but some have unusual shapes, so they will fit the HVAC inlet duct. Some filters also come in two sections to make replacement easier.

Q. How often should a cabin air filter be changed?
As often as necessary to prevent the filter from clogging, or in the case of cabin air filters that also absorb odors in addition to blocking dust, as often as needed to keep unpleasant odors to a minimum.

Under “normal” driving conditions for a vehicle driven primarily in a city or suburban area, or on paved highways, the average service life of a typical cabin air dust filter is about two to three years, or 25,000 to 30,000 miles. For a vehicle in a rural area that is driven frequently on gravel roads, the service life of the filter may only be six months or less.

Cabin air filters are very efficient and have electrostatically charged fibers that can trap particles smaller than 1 micron in size. Most quality cabin air filters will stop 100% of all particles that are 3 microns or larger in size and 95-99% of particles in the 1-3 micron size range. This prevents most pollens, mold spores and bacteria from entering the vehicle. Some cabin air filters are also treated with a chemical biocide to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria, fungi and algae.

When a cabin air dust filter becomes clogged, it restricts airflow into the HVAC unit. This may cause reduced airflow and cooling from the air conditioner and/or lower heater/defroster output during cold weather.

If the cabin air filter is a combination type that has a layer of activated charcoal to absorb exhaust fumes and other unpleasant odors, the service life of the odor filter is only about a year, or 12,000-15,000 miles of normal driving. So when odors start to become more noticeable while driving (and they aren’t coming from leftover pizza or dirty socks in the back seat), it is probably time to replace the filter.

Q: How much time does it take to replace a CAF?
Depending on the vehicle, replacement times are usually around 25-40 minutes, depending on location of the filter and housing removal.

According to ATP’s Interior Ventilation Filter Catalog, the BMW 3 Series has an approximate installation time at 45 minutes due to the removal of front dash panels.

On the other hand, CAF replacement for the BMW X5 is only about 10 minutes, since the filter is located in the center of the cowl under the hood.

In future issues, we’ll provide cabin air filter installation tips to show you the CAF location on select vehicles, the remove and replace procedures and estimated service times.


  Previous Comments
avatar   Ray   star   9/5/2011   9:32 AM

I have a 2004 F-250 Super Duty. I opened the access panel under and behind the glove box to install the filter that I bought at the parts store, since a filter was listed for my truck. In reading, I am told there is a kit to allow a filter installation - F65Z-18D477-AA. Ever seen one to buy aftermarket?

avatar   Larry Carley   star   8/8/2011   12:22 PM

for everyone who wants to know if their vehicle has a cabin air filter, and if so, where the filter is located, see this application guide:

avatar   patty   star   8/7/2011   3:42 PM

so if my 2004 tahoe DOES NOT have a in cabin air there anything I can do about the stale smell when i turn the air/vents on ? HELP

avatar   Redhead   star   8/6/2011   2:56 PM

F250 5.4 Does it have a cabin air filter? And d2006oes it have anything to do with the cooling of the air condition. I have never even heard of a truck having this filter.

avatar   Larry White   star   7/29/2011   11:35 PM

Does a 2005 Chevrolet Colorodo Truck have a cabin filter, and if so where is it located.

avatar   Bob   star   7/23/2011   5:42 PM

Where is the cabin air filter located on the 2004 Dodge 2500 4x4 diesel truck

avatar   charlie farrell   star   7/21/2011   9:18 AM

I removed glove box cover press white tabs on filter but it won`t come out a bar stops it do I need to take the screws on the dash out

avatar   willy johnson   star   7/17/2011   9:43 PM

where is the cabin air filter on a 2007 impala?

avatar   Larry Carley   star   7/17/2011   4:44 PM

No cabin air filter on a 1988 Ford F150.

avatar   paul tomasetti   star   7/17/2011   12:56 PM

does my 1988 ford f-150 4x4 have a cabin air filter. thank you!

avatar   Larry Carley   star   7/16/2011   10:31 AM

There is no cabin air filter on the 2004 Chevy Malibu either.

avatar   Larry Carley   star   7/16/2011   10:29 AM

The reason you can't find the cabin air filter on your Bravada is because it does not have one.

avatar   SHudson   star   7/15/2011   2:30 PM

Could anyone tell me where the cabin filter is located in a 2001 Olds Bravada.... I looked in the manual and could not find it there. Any help would be greatly appreciated.....

avatar   SHudson   star   7/15/2011   2:28 PM

Where is the air filter located on the Olds Bravada 2001 model?

avatar   Henry Voss   star   7/13/2011   11:44 AM

Hi! I have a Chevrolet Malibu Classic 2004. I removed the glove box, found the blower and pushed open the cover of the blower but could not find the cabin air filter. Could you please tell me where to find it, if the car has one. Thanks!

avatar   Karen   star   7/5/2011   5:05 PM

Can anyone tell me where the cabin filter is located on a 2004 Chevy Tahoe. I have found the replacement part but do not see where it is located on the vehicle. Thanks! :)

avatar   Mike A. Boychak   star   6/25/2011   7:03 PM

Does a 2008 Chevy Colorado have a cabin air filter? If it does where is it located.

avatar   Cheryl   star   6/24/2011   5:21 PM

Where is the cabin air filter located on a 2008 trail blazer? Or how can i get rid of the odor coming thru my vents when i turn on the air conditioner? I bought it used and it smells like a wet dog....Ive tried spraying febreeze into the vents but that doesnt work. I would appreciate any help u can give me.

avatar   Doug   star   5/17/2011   12:15 PM

Is the cabin filter for an 2009 Impala that same as the 07 and 08.


avatar   Scott Schafer   star   5/8/2011   11:13 AM

Where is the cabin filter located on a 2008 Chevrolet Colorado?

avatar   Larry Carley   star   5/4/2011   11:30 PM

You can look up the location of the cabin air filter in your Hummer in your owners manual. You can get one here free:

avatar   miguel   star   5/4/2011   9:06 PM

where is the cabin air filter in a 2008 hummer h2

avatar   Bicely   star   4/10/2011   9:54 PM

Where is the cabin filter located for a 2006 Chevy Equinox. Is it the same as the 2007 Equinox?

avatar   Larry Carley   star   3/21/2011   8:29 PM

For Bob: Your Trailblazer has no cabin air filter.

avatar   Larry Carley   star   3/21/2011   8:28 PM

for Anthony: Your F150 has no cabin air filter.

avatar   Bob Lewis   star   3/21/2011   7:12 PM

Where is the Cabin Filter located on a 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer and how do I change it ???

avatar   Anthony   star   3/21/2011   12:43 AM

Is there a cabin air filter in a 2007 F150 Harley Davidson model?

avatar   Larry Carley   star   3/6/2011   9:28 PM

for Jeff: for 2003, Chevy changed the HAVC unit and eliminated the cabin air filter on your truck.

avatar   jeff h   star   3/6/2011   12:59 PM

where in the ;;;; is the cabin filter on a 2003 chevy z71 does anyone really no?

avatar   PY   star   1/17/2011   12:33 AM

For Larry: Sorry for delay in thanking you for your knowledge. Your help is much appreciated.


avatar   Larry Carley   star   11/21/2010   4:02 PM

For Phel: The reason you can't find a place to install the cabin air filter is because there is no place. GM discontinued the cabin air filter in your vehicle in 2003 when they redesigned the HVAC unit, but the parts catalog never got the word, so there is still a filter listing for it. Whoops!

avatar   Phel Yee   star   11/21/2010   12:59 AM

I have a 2004 Chevy Suburban 1500 5.3L V8. I purchased the CAF (only 1 squarish filter) for my vehicle per PepBoys. I was able to open up the kick panel under the glove box sufficiently to get at the HVAC ducting behind it, but it looks like one entire piece of molded plastic housing spaning the whole passenger footwell. I did not see a door to slide open nor could I locate any screws for opening up the ducting system. I found 2 screws that held a sensor of some sort in place but nothing else. Any clues on how to replace the CAF?

avatar   adam miller   star   11/3/2010   9:28 PM

06 chevy impala does it have a cabin air filter? if it does where is it at?

avatar   sandy   star   10/26/2010   9:52 PM

I have a 09 nissan versa we can not find the air filter they said it is behind the glove box we took it out but could not see the felter help

avatar   jimy   star   10/26/2010   8:03 PM

I have a 2006 dodge caravan. 3.8 l eng.

different webs show different places. some show under the hood and some show under the dash on the passanger side. thanks

avatar   Andrew Markel, Editor   star   10/25/2010   6:13 PM

Chris, Nope no CAF.

avatar   Chris   star   10/25/2010   5:00 PM

Does a 2007 classic Chevy k2500LT have a CAF? If so where is the little bugger?

avatar   Andrew Markel, Editor, Brake & Front End   star   10/17/2010   10:49 AM

Max: a 2007 Chevy 1500 does not have a CAF

avatar   mike maxie   star   10/16/2010   5:15 PM

Does a 2007 chevy silverado 1500 have a cabin filter?

avatar   Larry Carley   star   9/24/2010   10:49 AM

For Heather: Your Tahoe does NOT have a cabin air filter. The GM catalog incorrectly lists a filter for your application, but there is no place to put a filter in the system.

avatar   Heather   star   9/23/2010   2:40 PM

I have a 2004 Chevy Tahoe. Where is the cabin air filter located. I found a replacement filter online, but I don't know where the old one is. I've had this car for 6 years now.

avatar   Larry Carley   star   9/11/2010   11:15 AM

For Rick: A/C odor problems are caused by microbes growing inside the HVAC unit on the evaporator where it is damp and dark. There are various A/C odor treatment products that can be sprayed inside the HVAC to help kill the bugs that are causing the odor. Lysol and Febreeze will also work temporarily, but you need a product that contains a biocide to inhibit the regrowth of the odor causing bugs on the evaporator.

avatar   rick whitling   star   9/11/2010   1:14 AM

thanks for responding. is there any inside air filter in the tahoe. sometimes it has a smell when i turn ac on. thanks again.

avatar   Larry Carley   star   9/9/2010   10:17 AM

For Rick: Your Tahoe does not have a cabin air filter.

avatar   rick whitling   star   9/8/2010   10:34 PM

i have a 2008 tahoe. where is the cabin filter? do you know to replace it? thanks for your time.

avatar   larry   star   8/15/2010   8:22 PM

Thanks for the speedy responce on the 06 F150 musky odor. Where is the air recirclelate intake vent? Could I spray lysol or freebreeze in this vent to help with the order. Thanks again

avatar   Larry Carley   star   8/15/2010   6:06 PM

For Larry: No cabin air filter on your 2006 F150. As for A/C odor, running the blower fan on HIGH for a minute or so after shutting off the A/C will help dry off the evaporator inside the HVAC. There are also aerosol biocides available in auto parts stores that you can spray into the A/C ducts to help kill the odor. A new air freshener also helps.

avatar   Larry   star   8/15/2010   4:19 PM

Does a 2006 F-150 Lariat have cabin air filter? Any way to get rid of musky smell when using a/c? Thanks

avatar   ben   star   7/30/2010   10:43 AM

thank you larry.also having fun chasing down a misfire! think i got it with the intake manifold. should never have gotten rid of that 79. sooooo much easier to work on!!!! thanks again.

avatar   Larry Carley   star   7/30/2010   9:58 AM

For Ben: GM changed the HVAC case in your truck in 2003 and did not include any provisions for mounting a cabin air filter.

avatar   Larry Carley   star   7/30/2010   9:57 AM

For Jean: I couldn't find any info on the location of the cabin air filter in your Nissan. The service literature says it has one but it does not say where. Must be a closely guarded secret only the dealers know.

avatar   ben   star   7/29/2010   6:40 PM

03 chevy 2500hd 6.0 ltr, does this year have a cabin air filter? if so, where?

avatar   Jean    star   7/22/2010   11:33 AM

Where is the in-cabin filter located on a 2009 Nissan Rogue? The owner's manual does not give the info, just says take it to the dealer, but I can buy the filter myself for 1/10 if I can find where to put it.

avatar   Larry Carley   star   7/12/2010   8:59 AM

For Louis: Some 99 F250s have a cabin air filter, and some do not. If your truck has one, you'll find it under the glove box. There is a removeable cover over the filter.

avatar   louis   star   7/11/2010   4:24 PM

does a1999 f-250 super duty have a cabin air filter?

avatar   Karl   star   7/3/2010   10:22 PM

does a 2009 F150 with a 4.6L engine have a cabin air filter? If so where is it located?

avatar   Andrew Markel, Editor, BRAKE & FRONT END   star   7/2/2010   10:12 AM

The 2004 does not have a cabin air filter.

avatar   Michael   star   7/1/2010   4:31 PM

Where is the cabin air filter located on a 2004 H2?

avatar   Larry Carley   star   6/7/2010   3:02 PM

For Kevin: Real men may not need a cabin air filter, but if the car maker put one in a vehicle, it's a good idea to leave it in and change it every year or two. The reason? The filter also keeps gunk out of the A/C evaporator and heater core. If the heat exchangers get coated with dirt and bugs, you can have odor problems as well as reduced cooling and heating efficiency.

avatar   kevin m   star   6/7/2010   2:34 PM

I have a 2008 Honda Civic. I drive with the windows down about 95% of the time. I've never owned a car with a caf before. I also ride my motorcycle every chance I get, so wind, dust, pollen etc. doesn't bother me at all. Can't i just just remove the caf all together and not put another one in. Seems to me it would save me time and money in the future.

avatar   Larry Carley   star   6/7/2010   10:41 AM

For Scott: The cabin air filter on your 2008 Chevy Impala is in the same place as that on the 2007 model. Same procedure, same filter.

avatar   Scott Hilbert   star   6/7/2010   9:27 AM

I read your description of the placement on the 2008 Chevy Impala cabin air filter, is it the same for the 07 as I imagine it would be?

avatar   Larry Carley   star   6/6/2010   3:16 PM

For Manny: The cabin air filter on your C230 is located under the dash on the passenger side. To change it, remove the cover, push the two remaining clips to the side, then pull the filter down and out.

avatar   Manny Acino   star   6/5/2010   3:15 PM

Want to change cabin air filter in 2000 Mercedes Benz C230. Where is it located. What are the steps to remove and replace it.



avatar   Larry Carley   star   5/25/2010   1:16 PM

For Greg: The cabin air filter on your Mazda Tribute is located in the cowl at the base of the windshield on the passenger side. You have to remove a plastic access panel to replace it. There are four screws on the panel cover.

avatar   Larry Carley   star   5/25/2010   1:14 PM

For Rainer: Your 2006 Ford F150 does not have a cabin air filter. No wonder you can't find it.

avatar   Greg Kubicki   star   5/25/2010   12:24 PM

Where is the CAF located for a 2005 Mazda Tribute S ?

avatar   Rainer Richter   star   5/21/2010   11:53 AM

Where is the location of the cabin air filter on a 2006 F-150?

avatar   Larry Carley   star   5/20/2010   11:43 AM

The cabin air filter on a 2007 Chevy Equinox is located in the cowl area at the base of the windshield. Open the hood and remove two plastic pins and a screw from the air inlet cover on the RH side. The filter is under the cover and pulls out.

avatar   James Gibbs   star   5/19/2010   4:14 PM

Where is the Cabin Air located in a 2007 Chevrolet Equinox? How often should the filter be changed?

avatar   Larry Carley   star   5/16/2010   6:24 PM

For Leo: Chevy engineers must have had their heads where the sun don't shine when they placed the filter under the cowl panel in the engine compartment under the hood.

To replace the filter:

1. Position the windshield wipers in the UP position, by keying the ignition OFF when the wiper reach the desired position.

2. Open the hood.

3. Position aside the rear hood seal halfway to the center.

4. Remove the washer hose from the right air inlet grill panel and position aside.

5. Remove the 2 push pin retainers from the right air inlet grill panel. Important: Do not remove the third push pin retainer from the right air inlet grill panel.

6. Position the left side of the right air inlet grill panel on to the windshield.

7. Remove the water deflector cover.

8. Now you can remove the cabin air filter. Wasn't that fun?

avatar   Leo Zabala   star   5/15/2010   9:05 PM

Where under the hood is CAF located in a 2008 Chevrolet Impala?

avatar   Al Bisasky   star   5/15/2010   3:03 AM

Thanks, Larry. I really appreciate your assistance.

Best regards,


avatar   Larry Carley   star   4/30/2010   10:44 AM

For AL: The cabin air filter on your Equinox is buried under the instreument panel on the passenger side. To replace it:

1. Remove the instrument panel compartment.

2. Release the retainer and open the service lid.

3. Replace passenger compartment air filter.

avatar   Al Bisasky   star   4/29/2010   2:57 PM

Where is the cabin air filter located on a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox LT AWD with 2.4L I4 Vin W?

avatar   Steve Cross   star   1/28/2010   2:23 PM

Where is the cabin filter on a 2005 BMW X5.

avatar   Jerry Gala   star   12/31/2009   5:26 PM

The cabin air filter location on a 97-03 and some 2004 Heritage F150 and F series pickups and also 99-04 F-150 Lightning Pickups are located under the passenger side of the dash just under the glove box. There is a black plastic cover that will need to be removed with 4 screws to make access easier to see where the filter can be installed. Most of these trucks DO NOT have the filter installed and you will need a kit # F65Z-18D477-AA or do what I did and take a very sharp razor knife to cut the plastic box under where the filter slides in...note this is easy to do and the lines are already there to show exactly where to cut. Then slide your filter into the airbox and cover the cut opening with a piece of duct tape to prevent leaks and there you go. Cabin filter installed without the special kit which is hard to find since it was discontinued years ago. It works great on my 2003 Lightning. If you need help with it you can email me at jford94,at,aol,dot,com

avatar   Ed Sunkin, Editor   star   10/27/2009   10:56 AM

I checked with my ATP filter replacement guide - the CAF is located underneath the glove box. Note: This filter can only be installed if the vehicle is equipped with Ford Retrofit Interior Vent Filter Kit part NO. F65Z-18D477-AA. 1) Remove the 4 screws on filter housing cover - remove vent housing cover. 2) Slide filter down and remove. 3) Installation is the reverse order or removal. Approx. Installation Time: 20 minutes.

avatar   Pedro   star   10/26/2009   10:14 PM

Can anyone tell me where is the cabin air filter for a 2001 F250, I have looked everywhere with out luck

avatar   Karen   star   8/28/2009   9:06 PM

Does a 1998 Jeep Cherokee or a 2005 Suburban have a cabin filter? If so where are they located?

avatar   Andrew Markel, Editor, Brake & Front End   star   5/25/2009   9:02 PM

In theory, yes. If the system has a lower pressure differential between the outside air and air in the ducts, the fan will not have to work as hard. This means that more air can flow into the cabin.

avatar   Byron Cokley   star   5/22/2009   6:01 PM

Will replacing the cabin air filter provide colder air conditioning in a vehicle??

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