What Is A Cabin Air Filter And Why Is It Important?

The cabin air filter may be a small part, but it’s a pretty big deal. For starters, the cabin air filter is your cabin’s air purifier. In other words, it cleans the air entering the vehicle’s cabin. It makes a huge difference for:

  • Drivers in areas with low air quality
  • Drivers who spend time in rush hour traffic
  • Drivers with respiratory problems and/or seasonal allergies

If you want a comfortable ride, the air inside your cabin has to be clean and fresh. The cabin air filter takes care of that for you.

What Does A Cabin Air Filter Look Like?

A cabin air filter is a square or rectangular filter. Most cabin air filters are about 5” x 7”, and 1” thick. Depending on your Nissan model, your cabin air filter may be bigger or smaller. Some cabin air filters come with a plastic or cardboard frame. Others come with only the filter material.  (You can see all the cabin air filters we sell for your model year here.)

Cabin filter

Nissan cabin air filter #27277-JA00C fits several 2007-2017 Nissan models 

How Does A Cabin Air Filter Work?

When you drive, your Nissan’s HVAC system sucks air in from outside the vehicle. The air will make its way into the cabin, but not without going through the cabin air filter first. The cabin air filter sits behind the heat and A/C vents. As the air goes through the cabin air filter, the filter traps impurities, such as:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Bugs
  • Dirt
  • Exhaust gases
  • Bacteria

How Long Does A Nissan Cabin Air Filter Last?

An OEM Nissan cabin air filter lasts about 15,000 miles. But that’s only the recommended change interval. Your cabin air filter may not last as long, or it may last longer than 15K miles. It all depends on the quality of the air in your area. For example:

  • If you live in a city with a lot of smog or pollen in the air, your cabin air filter may last less than 15K miles.
  • If you live in a rural area with dusty roads, your cabin air filter may last less than 15K miles.
  • If you live in a pristine rural area with clean air and roads, your cabin air filter may last as long as 30K miles.

A good rule of thumb is to check your cabin filter once a year, preferably in early spring, right before allergy season.

Checking And Replacing Your Cabin Air Filter

cabin air filter change

Image Credit: PaulsTravelPictures

Checking your cabin air filter is pretty easy. All you have to do is to pull it out and then give it a visual inspection. The best way to inspect it is to hold it up against a source of light, such as the sun. If some light shines through, then the filter still has some life left. If no light shines through, the filter is no longer effective (as air can no longer flow through).

The location of the cabin air filter depends on your Nissan model. Most of them are right behind the glove box. You can find a model-specific tutorial for accessing the cabin air filter. The process shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

We suggest getting a replacement cabin air filter beforehand. If you’re going to remove the cabin air filter, this will save some time if you find that the old one is bad.