DIY: Cabin Air Filter (06 Scion tC)

I was flipping through the channels and came across Drive It! (program on DW TV).  They were covering the pollen filter (cabin air filter here in the states) when I switched to their channel.  It was a pretty cool segment and it got me thinking I could replace my filter — wouldn’t hurt and I’ll save a couple of bucks.

I googled cabin air filter and 06 Scion tC (my ride).  A video posted by on YouTube and a forum post on were extremely helpful in getting the task done.  After researching the price of an OEM filter (around $15/filter), I opted to make my own, by using a 3M Ultra Allergen furnace filter.  The cost of the filter is around $17, but this can yield 4 cabin air filters.  Scored big on this DIY:

3M Ultra Allergen

I went to Home Depot and bought the 14x24x1 Ultra Allergen furnace filter by 3M for around $17.

To get to the cabin air filter, you will need to open the glove box.  There are 2 tabs (one on both sides), that sit in groves on the dash.  You need to push in, to free it from the grooves. The photo below shows the right tab when it’s freed.

photo of the tab on the right side of the glove box after it's been freed from the groove

Unclip the air damper arm (right side only).

unset the air damper arm

Pull the cabin air filter located behind the glove box.

Cabin Air Filter located behind the glove box

I removed the wire mesh and the cardboard frame from the 3M filter.  In my setup, I’m just using the filter material itself.  Wear gloves… trust me.

Remove the cardboard frame and wire mesh

The pleats go up and down (not side to side) when inserted in the cabin air housing.  I bisected the 3M filter lengthwise.  It didn’t fully span the width of the cabin air housing, but I just fanned out the pleats to cover the width.  I gave it more height to give it a tighter fit

There are four large tabs at the top and 6 smaller tabs underneath on the cabin air housing.  I tucked in the pleats, hiding the 6 small tabs.

close up of one of the 6 small tabs on the bottom of the housing

Reinsert the filter.  Attach the air damper arm and with a gentle push set the tabs of the glove box back onto the grooves.

When I got the filter housing out, I found I never had a filter installed.  Apparently it was an option for my make and model.  With the new filter, the power of the fan/blower isn’t as strong (it was warm today;  I was able to test it out).  I’ll compromise power for cleaner air.  I’ll probably change out the filter in the fall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.