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How to Know When To Replace A Toyota Cabin Air Filter

Whether your cabin air filter seems to be on its last leg or you're just wondering if you should replace it, this guide is for you. We'll show you how to tell if your cabin air filter is clogged or not.

How Long do Toyota Cabin Air Filters Usually Last?

Cabin filter

The amount of time your Toyota cabin air filter may last depends on a variety of factors. It can last as little as 12,000 miles or as long as 30,000 miles. It depends on:

  • Whether you use an OEM or aftermarket cabin air filter (OEM cabin air filters usually last longer)
  • The condition of the air outside (dirt, dust, and bug infested areas clog up air filters much faster than areas with clean air)
  • Whether you go off-roading or not (one drive in the Baja 1000 race or constant driving on dirt and dusty roads will clog up your cabin air filter pretty quickly)

You can either check your cabin air filter once a year or wait until some symptoms crop up to see if the filter needs to be replaced yet.

The Most Common Signs of a Bad Cabin Air Filter

The most common signs of a clogged cabin air filter are:

  • Increased allergy symptoms
  • Reduced airflow through the A/C vents
  • Window fog doesn't clear as quickly as it used to.
  • Air pollutants entering the cabin

How to Check Your Cabin Air Filter

Change filter

Image Credit: PaulsTravelPictures

To see if your cabin air filter still has any life left, you'll have to take it out and visually inspect it. The location of the air filter and how you can access it depends on which Toyota model you have. For example, you can find the cabin air filter in a Tacoma behind the glove box.

Many car owners order a replacement cabin air filter before checking their old one. It's so they can replace the cabin air filter right there if they find that their old one is bad. It's a good way to save time. If the old cabin air filter is still OK to use, at least the new one will be readily available when the old one finally goes bad. You can find great discounted prices on genuine OEM Toyota cabin air filters in our catalog of air filters.

Accessing the Cabin Air Filter

Image Credit: YourCarAngel

To check your cabin air filter, you'll have to find out how to access it. You can find that information in the owner's manual or in a model-specific tutorial. If you own a Tacoma, here's how you can access the cabin air filter:

  1. Pop open the glove box on the passenger's side.
  2. On the far right side of the glove box, there's a black tube that's connected to the door and the glove box. It helps open the glove box door smoothly. Disconnect it first. It pops off sideways. This step is important because if you don't disconnect it first before opening the glove box farther, it'll break.
  3. Squeeze both sides of the glove box, and it will pivot outwards further than normal.
  4. Gently yank the glove box straight towards you.
  5. At this point, you can see the cabin air filter housing. Squeeze the two plastic latches to release the access cover. It will pivot downwards.
  6. Slide the filter towards you to remove it.
  7. Inspect the cabin air filter.

What to Look For

You just want to see if the filter still has some "breathing room". To do this, hold the filter up against a bright light (like the sun). If you can see the light shining through, then the air filter is still OK to use. If there's no light shining through, then toss it and put in a new cabin air filter.

Got any questions about checking your cabin air filter? Feel free to contact us!

Written by Jason Lancaster