Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A DIY Project for You...

Quote for the Day:
"I'm strong, I'm tough, I still wear my eyeliner."
---Lisa Leslie 

Today I took my car in for it's 30,000 mile "well-baby" check-up.  (Oil change, etc.)  When I was perusing the maintenance book to see what all I needed to have done I saw "change cabin air filter".

Hmmmm...I didn't know there WAS a "cabin air filter".  Raise your hand if YOU knew there was a "cabin air filter" in your vehicle.  Yeah...I didn't think I was the only one who didn't have that bit of knowledge.  LOL  I know all about indoor filters for the home A/C and heating units, but not about one for the car.

In trying to figure out how much $$$  to plan on paying for this task, I asked Andy where the filter was and how much work was involved in changing it.  He said it was behind the dash and that it was a hassle to get to...meaning $$$$ for labor.  :(  

Well... ya know...there's this here new-fangled thing called the "world wide interweb" and on it is a place called "Googles".  If you go to "googles" and ask it a question, this here "interweb" thingy will give you all sorts of answers!  :)

So I googled how to change the cabin air filter on a 2011 Rav4 and found a great video that showed just how easy it actually was to do!  YAY!    I also saw where some posters had said that their dealer wanted $80 to change the filter.  WHOA, Nellie!  So while I was at the shop getting the oil changed I sent Andy over to the auto parts store to buy a $15 replacement filter and when I returned I changed the filter MYSELF!  :D  (With Andy looking on, cheering and on-the-ready to lend a hand if needed.)

To get to the filter I had to release the glove compartment by squeezing in on both end panels to pop the pins out of the holes...

There was a pin holding the hydraulic arm onto the right side of the glove box that I had to squeeze together with a pair of channel locks (fancy name for special pliers) and push through the hole in the arm to detach it and let the box swing freely.

This allowed full access to the area behind the glove box.

Since I had watched the video, the filter holder was easily found.  The cover popped right off and the filter slid out easily.  With 31,500 miles on the car, this is what the filter looked like.  EWWWW...GROSSNESS!!!

Here's the old one compared to the new one...

Andy pulled the old one apart a little bit so I could show you what kind of things the filter stopped from entering the car...

Now it was time to slip the new filter into the slot...

This was easy to do...it just slides in.  There is one caveat...there is an arrow on the filter that shows the direction the air should be flowing through it.  I've read that you have to make sure you get it in the correct way and I've also read that you don't have to have it in the correct way, as long as if you pull it out you put it back in the same direction so as not to dump any contents into the car's vent system.  I chose to put the filter in the "correct" way with the arrow going in the direction of the air flow.  Hey, Folks, it's not that difficult to figure out which way the air is flowing through the system....if I can do, ANYBODY can do it!  It's not rocket surgery!  ;)

Once the filter was in, I just popped the front back on...

...reattached the hydraulic arm and popped the pins on the sides of the glove box back into their holes...and put everything back into the glove box, including the channel lock pliers.  They'll be right there handy for the next filter change in 30,000 miles!  :)

And there you have it!  Now...go google how to change the filter on your own car and see if it is as easy to do!  BTW...Andy googled how to change the filter on his car and, though it involved a little more work to get into the dash area, he put a new filter in it, too!  



  1. Hey.... my hand is RAISED.... I actually knew there was a cabin filter. Had to get one for the Prius last year. In fact, have a spare on the shelf next too me. But, I was like you when I heard there was a filter INSIDE the car. With mechanics in the house, you'd think I'd have known that. Pretty Cool.

  2. You go girl! My hand was not raised though, no clue. Might have to check that since our used car (we've only had it for 5mths) is at 98,000 miles and no clue if it was ever changed :) Great info, Thank You.

  3. I'm so glad I happened onto your blog via your Facebook share about your fabric storage system! I will check into this on my Toyota Tacoma. How do you like your Rav4? I'm seriously considering on switching over.

    1. I LOVE our RAV4!!! My "average" mpg is 25.5, which I don't think is too bad. (That is the overall average of my around-town and highway driving.
      I hope you will continue to read/follow my blog! :)