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Ewwww, What’s that Smell – Replace Your Car’s Cabin Filter in Minutes



Driving two boys and a dog in the Handymobile several times a day can lead to some truly funky odors. The other day I found myself wondering what the latest funk could be attributed to. Was it the stinky socks and shoes left behind from water day at school?

stinky_shoes Or was it the countless remnants and crumbs that tumbled out of the kids’ mouths? snack_crumbs Or was it just a bad case of dog breath? doggie_breath There really is no telling exactly what causes the funk in my car. But, I can tell you that there could be one more culprit: very-dirty_cabin_air_filter That would be a filthy cabin air filter! This month I learned that it is easy to replace your car’s air filters. And just like you need to replace your home’s filters regularly, you should replace your car filters too! I’m embarrassed to say that I never changed my cabin filter. I just assumed the garage did it when they changed my oil four times a year. Well, I was sorely mistaken. I literally just had my oil changed this month and asked the mechanic if they automatically changed the air filter too. He answered, “Yes, ma’am. But, only if it needs it.” See, I figured I was fine. But, then I was contacted by Blogher and asked if I wanted to write a post about changing my car’s cabin air filter using a FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter. I was intrigued. And after watching the installation video on the FRAM Fresh Breeze website, I was confident knowing how to find the air filter. Okay, are you ready for this? This is the instructions for replacing your air filter on a 2003 Honda CRV. But, you can look up the instructions for your car here. Changing the cabin air filters was super simply! I can tell you that this took me under 10 minutes to do. And probably would have taken under 5 minutes if I hadn’t photographed every step. Here’s the pictorial how to guide, but you might want to look up the video tutorial for your specific car on FRAM’s website. Tools:

  • Two hands
  • Maybe a flat head screwdriver

Instructions: Open your glove compartment and empty it of all the squished granola bars, unused fast food napkins and salt packets, and that key that you were looking for 5 years ago! What, no gloves in my glove box? Whoever named it a glove compartment didn’t live in the south? open_glove_compartment Locate the stops (or glove compartment release levers) inside your glove compartment. stops_in_glove_compartment Pry the stops out and then remove them from the glove box. pull_stop_out Peek inside and look for the cabin filter cover. You might have to get down on all fours and look up into the dashboard. cabin_filter_housing Press the release lever and remove the cover. remove_air_filter_door Pull the first cabin filter out (your car may only have one filter, my car has two.) remove_old_filter Slide the tab for the second filter over to the left and remove it next. slide_remove_2nd_cabin_filter Hold your nose lest you sneeze your pollen-bombed head off: very-dirty_cabin_air_filter Yuck!!! Seriously, what constitutes “when needed” in the mechanics eyes! No wonder I sneezed every time I turned on the A/C in my car! We were breathing all that pollen, tree debris, dust and who knows what else. Bleck! close_up_dirty_auto-filter To remove the filter, pry up the old one and insert the new one in making sure the arrows are pointing down. remove_old_filter_replace Be sure to install the filters with the two tabs close together. line_up_tabs Re-insert the new filters by reversing the process of removing them. 1. Insert the first filter and slide it to the right. 2. Insert the second filter. 3. Replace the cabin filter housing door. 4. Press it firmly to lock in place. re-install_cabin_air_filters Lift the glove box back up and re-insert the stops. Press the stops in firmly to lock in place. insert_glove_compartment_stopsI can certainly breathe easier knowing that the new filters I installed are clean and will filter 98% of dust, dirt, and allergens. And the Arm & Hammer® Baking soda and charcoal filter will remove odors from the air entering our car. Sayonara cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes.

You might like to follow FRAM Fresh Breeze on Facebook and Twitter for tips and discounts on cabin filters!


*UPDATE: I’ve been driving around for a few days now and I can honestly say that the air in my car smells better and I haven’t sneezed once when turning on the air. PHGFancySign Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for FRAM via Blogher. I was sent two complimentary FRAM FreshBreeze Cabin Filters and compensation for my time. All images and copy are my own. I will always alert you when I am writing a sponsored post.


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  1. Christine D
    Christine D says:

    In my car, I keep my windows down while the car is in the garage. In my house, if the weather is nice, the windows and sliding glass doors are opened. Otherwise, I use fragrant candles. Mop my floor with a nicely scented cleaner. In the bathroom, I use pretty stick diffusers


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