When To Replace A Mazda Cabin Air Filter

Does your Mazda have a cabin air filter? The rule of thumb is to replace your cabin filter every 12K to 15K miles, or once a year.

How long will a cabin air filter actually last? That depends on the quality of the air filter and the quality of the air outside. So your cabin air filter could get clogged before it hits 12K miles, or it could last much longer than 15K miles. Some people just replace their cabin air filter once a year, even if the filter still has some life left. Others periodically check their cabin air filter to see if it’s ready to be replaced yet.

OEM filter

If you prefer to fall into the latter category, we have just the guide for you. In this diagnostic guide, we’ll walk you through the process of checking your cabin air filter.

Signs of a Bad Cabin Air Filter

Your cabin air filter will get clogged up over time. When that happens, you’ll notice the following symptoms:

  • Weaker airflow through the A/C vents
  • Musty smell in the cabin
  • Increased allergy and respiratory issues

If you start to notice these symptoms, it may be time to check your cabin air filter.

Checking Your Cabin Air Filter

Change filter

Image Credit: Pauls Travel Pictures

It’s pretty easy to check your cabin air filter. You just have to pull it out and then inspect it. Each Mazda has its own way of accessing the cabin air filter. You can find the information either online or in the owner’s manual. We’ve included "how to check your cabin air filter" instructions for 3 of our popular models:

Mazda CX-5

  1. Open the glove box.
  2. Squeeze the glove box sides to clear the stopper.
  3. On the right side of the glove box, you'll see a black plastic dampener. Go ahead and unhook that. It should pop right out.
  4. The cabin air filter is the long rectangular box that's in the middle. Pull it out.

Mazda Roadster

  1. Look under the glove box, and you will see a tan panel cover. Remove the panel.
  2. Remove the black underside cover of the glove box.
  3. You will now see the cabin air filter cover.
  4. Remove all of the screws holding the cabin air filter in place. There are 4 of them.
  5. Once all 4 screws are out, remove the cabin air filter cover.
  6. Pull the cabin air filter out.

Mazda Tribute

  1. Open the hood.
  2. Locate the cowl piece on the passenger side of the windshield.
  3. Remove the 4 screws that are retaining the cowl piece.
  4. Partially close the hood, and then remove the screws at the top of the cowling.
  5. Open the hood again and then remove the entire cowling.
  6. Remove the water shield that's underneath the cowling. It should pop right out.
  7. Now, you can see the cabin air filter. Pull it out.

Visually Inspecting the Cabin Air Filter

Once you have the cabin air filter in your hands, hold it up to a bright light. If you don't have a flashlight handy, you can always use the sun. Can you see any light shining through? If you can see light, then the cabin air filter still has some life left. If you don't see any light shining through, then the filter is clogged up and you need to replace it as soon as possible.

If you're looking to save some money on a replacement cabin air filter, check out our website! We offer wholesale pricing on all genuine OEM Mazda parts, including cabin air filters.