Cabin Air Filter Replacement

My 2007 Mazda3 has a cabin air filter, and according to my dealer its recommended for replacement every 15,000 miles. Unfortunately I didn’t even know the car had such a filter, and the maintenance schedule said nothing about changing it regularly. After perusing some of the forums online, I discovered it’s existence and looked into replacing it at 30,000 miles old. It was my first major dissection and, for the benefit of all, here’s how I did it.

Step 1: Get your replacement air filter. They are not always easy to find for some reason. I had to have mine special ordered at the auto parts store. It was a Wix 24482 if you want to use the same one as I. It will come as two separate filters.

Step 2: Disconnect the negative terminal on the battery. Death by electrocution is not advisable.

Step 3: Open the glove compartment and remove the silver trim above it. There are several plastic latches that keep the trim invisibly secured on. If you slip a flat-blade screwdriver underneath and gently pry on it, it will come loose. There’s also another on the far left next to the LCD display. Once loose, remove the right side by sliding the trim to the left.

Step 4: Detach the glove box. There are 2 screws holding it in under where the trim was, along with two more latches on either side. You may need to fiddle with the trim plastic dash on the right a bit to get the box loose.

Step 5: Unplug the glove box light. There are two clips – one on either side. Using a flat-blade screwdriver you can pry them apart to release the light. This should allow you to remove the glove box completely and put it out of the way for the next few steps.

Step 6: Remove the dark plastic panel near the the passenger’s left foot. There is a plastic grommet that holds it in place. Again, a screw driver will allow you to pry the middle portion off and then allow the whole plate to come off.

Step 7: Remove the other plastic panel directly beneath the glove box area. It is held in with two clips on either side. It should come right off and expose more of the underside.

Step 8: Remove the large, beige plastic panel that holds the plugs for the wiring harnesses. There are two clips (Mazda seems to like the number 2), which need to be rotated. The plastic will come down. Notice how the rear rests on a round piece of plastic in the back – allowing the unit to rotate down.

Step 9: Unplug the wiring harnesses. There are three – one large green, one large blue, and one small blue. They are all held in with the same design: Squeeze the sides in, pull up on the latch, and pull the plug straight out. Needless to say be careful not to bend any of the pins or force anything in/out of positions. Let the harnesses dangle – threading them out from around things as you pull the plastic panel down.

Step 10: Remove the metal piece that the wiring is held in place on. A 12mm socket wrench took care of this easily enough. Just drop it out of the way. If you need more slack in it, the wiring can be remove from the metal piece by squeezing the clip on the back.

Step 11: Finally! Gain access to the air filter compartment. There are two screws on the bottom, one wiring latch on the top, and a really hard to see screw on the far upper right. The plastic piece will come off.

Step 12: Remove the two filters. Yes, there are indeed two filters stacked on one top of the other. Pull one straight out and the other will fall down. Remove the 2nd the same way. Now might be a good time to note how they go back together. There is a groove on one that allows the other to slide into place – making essentially one big filter that can be taken apart to slide through the small hole.

Step 13: Realize how dirty your air filter is and wonder what lung damage you have after breathing all that ick in. Reassembly is the reverse of disassembly. Slide in the top piece and while holding it up with your hand inside the cavity, place the bottom portion in the groove and slide it in. The rest is straight-foward. Enjoy cleaner air.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>