Friday, July 18, 2014

DIY Fix: Remove and Replace Cabin Air Filter Lexus GS300 (Toyota Aristo JZS161)

What is a cabin air filter?  We all know that an air filter keeps dirt and grit from entering the engine, but what about the for air entering the inside of the car when you use your fan or a/c?  The cabin air filter is similar to an engine's air filter in that by design it is to keep pollutants and pollen from entering the cabin while driving.  Follow along as we show you how to replace the cabin air filter on our project GS300. 

There are 2 main types of cabin air filters.  One is a standard paper filter which traps particles using multiple layers of paper or synthetic fibers.  The other type has activated carbon impregnated in the media, which has the added benefit of absorbing noxious fumes and other gases or odors. 

Cabin air filters are one of the easier maintenance items to replace on a vehicle.  We will show you how to replace the filter on a 1999 Lexus GS300.  Our project car's cabin filter is located inside behind the glove box, however some cars, such as our Volvo 850, have the cabin filter located externally under the hood.  We can show you how to replace an external one if there's any interest.  Just shoot us an email at  As always these DIYs are done at your own risk, and we are not liable for any damage you do to your vehicle.

You will not need any special tools to replace the cabin air filter in a Lexus GS300 (Toyota Aristo).  To start, open the glove box and you will see a black plastic panel below the CD changer (if equipped on the car).  Remove the panel by lifting up and out.

Remove the panel by lifting it up and out.

Next, you will see another panel which will need to be removed.  You can remove it by pulling towards you.  It will be a little bit tougher to pull out than the first panel, but it still comes out with a little force.

Remove this panel by pulling it towards you. 
Now you will be able to access the cabin air filter.  You can remove it by pulling the tray's tab out. 

Remove the cabin air filter pulling the tab.
Here's what our cabin air filter looked like after 12,000 miles and a little more than 18 months of use. 

Our cabin air filter was pretty filthy even after just 18 months of use.
We used a MicroGard carbon cabin air filter (part # 3043). 

Replace the cabin air filter into the tray, making sure the filter faces the correct way for airflow.  Installation is the reverse of removal.  It took us about 10 minutes to swap out the filter while taking photos to document the process.  We recommend changing your cabin air filter every 12,000-15,000 miles.  If the filter gets clogged, not only will it not protect you from air borne contaminants, it will reduce the strength at which your blower will circulate air in your car.

 If you have any questions, feel free to send us an email at  Happy motoring and keep on driving!

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