When To Replace A VW Cabin Air Filter

Wondering if your Volkswagen’s cabin air filter is still good to use? Read on to find out how you can officially confirm if your cabin air filter needs to be replaced. You don’t need any fancy tools to check your cabin air filter. You just have to pull it out and then look at it. That’s all!

OEM filter

Some people check or replace their cabin air filters once a year, usually before the allergy season. Others just wait until they notice some symptoms of a clogged cabin air filter, including:

  • Reduced airflow
  • Increased cabin temperatures
  • Musty scent
  • Poor window fog clearing

Where is the Cabin Air Filter?

Beetle filter

Image Credit: PaulsTravelPictures

Basically, the cabin air filter is situated behind the dash, at the exit point of the HVAC system. It’s designed to be between the exit point of the HVAC system and the air vents in the cabin. The exact location of the cabin air filter varies between Volkswagen models. The best way to find out how you can access the cabin air filter in your VW model is to check the owner’s manual or look for a model-specific tutorial online.

We took the time to put together cabin air filter access instructions for 3 popular VW models:

1. How to Remove the Cabin Air Filter in a VW Beetle

Note: This set of instructions is based on the 2002 Beetle.

The cabin air filter is located near the bottom of the windshield right above the glove box. Here’s how to access it:

  1. Atop the dashboard is a panel in the middle. Push down on it, and then push it forward. With enough pressure, the panel will slide off. Set it aside.
  2. Locate the two screws that are holding a second panel to the right and then remove them. You will need a T20 wrench to remove the screws.
  3. Carefully remove the panel.
  4. There’s a cover underneath the panel. Remove that, too. There are 5 screws, and you need your T20 wrench to remove them.
  5. Now you can see the cabin air filter. Push the two tabs in front of the filter to release it. Pull the cabin air filter out and then inspect it.

2. How to Replace the Cabin Air Filter in a VW Jetta

Note: This set of instructions is based on the 2007-2017 Jettas.

You can find the cabin air filter under the glove box on the passenger’s side. All you need for this job is a flathead screwdriver.

  1. Look underneath the glove box. Remove the plastic screws holding the cover up.
  2. Now you can see the cabin air filter cover. It has a honeycomb pattern, and you need to remove it to access the cabin air filter.
  3. Pull the cabin air filter out and then inspect it.

3. How to Inspect the Cabin Air Filter in a VW Atlas

Note: This set of instructions is based on the 2018 Atlas.

The cabin air filter is located behind the glove compartment. To access it:

  1. Open the glove box.
  2. There are two push tabs inside the back of the glove box. Push those and the box should drop.
  3. Now, you can see the air filter cover. It has a honey comb design. Remove it to access the cabin air filter.
  4. Pull the cabin air filter out and then inspect it.

How to Inspect a Cabin Air Filter

Passat filter

Image Credit: PaulsTravelPictures

All you need is a bright light. You can even go outside and use the sun as your source of bright light. Just hold the cabin air filter up against the bright light and see if any light is shining through. If there's some light shining through, then the filter has some "breathing room". If there's no light shining through, the filter is completely clogged and you have to replace it as soon as possible.

It's always great to have a replacement cabin air filter on hand. Then you can replace it right away if it's necessary.