This pictorial guide walks you through the steps of replacing the cabin air filter in your 2003-2008 Toyota Corolla. The cabin air filter should be changed every 6-18 months, depending on the types of environments you typically drive in. According to the vehicle maintenance schedule, this should be performed every 30,000 miles. Get a printable pdf version of the maintenance schedule here.
The cabin air filter is really straightforward to change out, and will usually take between 10-20 minutes.
Here are the tools and supplies you will need, with links to purchase on Amazon:
If you prefer the video version, check this out, otherwise, keep reading.
The cabin air filter is accessed through the glove box, so the first step is to remove it. To do this, go in through the passenger’s side door, and open the glove compartment.
Next we will remove the glove box. In order to do so, locate the retaining arm on the right-hand side of the box. It is held in place with a Phillips screw.
Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screw and gently pull the retaining arm off of the plastic connector.
Now the glove compartment is held in by the friction of the retaining tabs on both sides. You need to press the two sidewalls of the glove-box inward in order to let the glove compartment swing downward.
Once the two tabs are free of the walls, the entire glove-box will swing downward, and you can pull it out toward you, gently. It is now free of the vehicle. Set it aside.
Now, locate the cabin air filter cover. Looking into the area where the glove compartment was previously, the cover is the black rectangular piece.
It has tabs on both sides of it that will need to be released.
Press inward on the tabs and pull gently to release the cover.
The cover will come off, revealing the old filter. Set the cover aside.
Pull out the old filter. If you waited too long to replace it, like I did, it will be covered in debris, so pull it out slowly to minimize the amount of debris that falls down into the fan.
Now that the old filter is removed, it would probably be a good idea to use a vacuum and a small hose to clean out any debris that may have fallen down into the fan. If you hear a ‘flutter’ when the cabin fan is turned on, there is a chance that something like a leaf has fallen down in there, and is brushing against the fan blades. Vacuum all of that out.
Here is a picture of the old and new cabin air filters side by side.
I bought the cheapest cabin air filter I could find on Amazon, but after researching it for this article, the next time I do this, I will probably purchase the premium cabin air filter, since the price difference is negligible. A cabin air filter in-store at Walmart was approximately twice as much.
Now put in the new filter in exactly as the old one was. Make sure you get the orientation of the new filter correct. I have seen conflicting information about this, depending on if the filter is indicating flow direction (which is down in this case), or if the arrow is indicating “this side up”. Different filter makers appear to have different conventions. In the majority of cases, the correct orientation is for the arrow to be pointed in the direction of the airflow, which in this case is pointing DOWN.
The filter may feel like it is sticking out a little bit, this is normal, since the cover has a slot in it for the filter to protrude into.
Next, put the cover back on, and press the plastic tabs on both sides into the slots until they click.
Now we can put the glove compartment back in. Line up the plastic hinges on the bottom, and gently push them together. This is what they look like, and how they fit together.
Once the hinges are aligned, swing the glove-box upward and press it inward, until the tabs on the sides snap back into place behind the plastic walls.
Reconnect the retaining arm. Then get the screw started with your fingers.
Screw in the screw the rest of the way. Not too tight, this is plastic and you don’t want to strip it. It is not really load-bearing anyway.
Close the glove compartment, and make sure it closes and opens properly. If it does not, re-check that the hinges are seated properly.
I hope this guide helped you! As I mentioned, this is really an easy maintenance to perform yourself.
Click the link below to find the latest prices for this filter on Amazon.