Cabin air filter price poster image by John Goreham
John Goreham's picture

Never Let Your Dealer Change Your Vehicle’s Cabin Air Filter - Here's Why

Among the many ways your vehicle’s service costs are inflated is a small filter with a big bill from your dealer. Here’s why you should take back that task and save a bundle.

There are many things a shade tree mechanic can do to maintain his or her own vehicle. Most of which involve tools, knowledge, and hard work. But what if you could save yourself $70 per year on vehicle maintenance costs in three minutes and never touch a tool? We know one way, and we want you to stop being ripped off.

Let’s face it; You don’t want to change your own oil. It’s a pain in the neck. Just getting rid of the old oil requires a special trip. You may not have the strength or tools to rotate tires. Brakes are not that complicated, but get it wrong and how will you even drive to the shop for help? Plus, more hazardous waste when you bleed them or replace the fluid. These are tasks that your local mechanic can do for much less than your dealer charges.

Related Story: 30K Service Rip-Off - Why A Mazda CX-5’s 30K Service Can Cost Half What A similar Crossover’s Does

However, one task you can do is so simple that you can do it without any tools, and with no need for any mechanical aptitude. Change your vehicle’s cabin air filter.

Cabin air filter image by John Goreham

Dealers charge as much as $79 (before tax) to change this item. You can buy it on Amazon for around $10. To change it, you simple follow the instructions in your owner’s manual. Generally, well-engineered vehicles have the cabin air filter located just behind the glove box. To access it, you simply drop the box down by pressing a tab on each side and pull out the old filter. You then slide in the new one. Done. How in the world do dealers get away with charging so much for this work?

Here is the best part. Let’s say that you for some unexpected reason run into trouble. All you need to do is ask any mechanic to show you where you went wrong. The car still operates just fine with the glove box open and the filter on the floor. How bad could you possibly mess up?

And Amazon will help you ensure the filter you buy fits your exact vehicle. Simply tell the site the vehicle info and it verifies your selection is accurate. Then buy it.

The price poster image we took above is from a local Boston-area dealership of a popular brand. By our calculation, the dealer is stinging you $70 for under 3 minutes of work. You work hard. Keep your money. Change this filter yourself. Tell us in the comments below how it goes.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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