Cabin Air Filter Air Flow Direction: How To Change It?

The cabin air filter is an important part of your vehicle. It directly affects the cooling system and the feeling of everyone sitting in the car.

This is also one of the most frequently problematic parts and needs to be checked regularly. One of the most common concerns is the cabin air filter air flow direction.

What is it, and what happens if you install it the wrong way? We will reveal it in the next sections!

The Cabin Air Filter

Cabin Air Filter Air Flow Direction

Before learning which way does the cabin air filter go, we should understand it first. So, what is it, and why is it important?

As its name suggests, this works as a purifier. It is responsible for removing harmful toxins and pollutants like pollen, dust, etc., inside the car.

It is a tiny pleated unit often constructed from multifiber cotton paper or a manufactured substance. You can frequently locate it under the glove box.

This part traps any impurities in the atmosphere to keep them from contaminating the air you breathe. In other words, it purifies the atmosphere as it circulates through the HVAC system of the car.

Replace it if you discover your car has an unpleasant odor or the flow has diminished to give the system and yourself a breath of fresh one.

The Airflow Direction

This is the direction in which the flow is drawn into the cabin filter. Normally, it will go in the direction of the arrow represented on the air filter.

If you don’t follow the right way, there will be a decrease in performance and increase in energy consumption.

What Is The Cabin Air Filter Air Flow Direction? 

Which way does air flow in cabin air filter?

The words “AIR FLOW” and an arrow are inscribed on most filters. So, all you need to do is make sure it is appropriately matched.

It will come from outside and be sucked into the strainer like so. After completing the filtration, then will produce it again when it is clean of dust and remove unpleasant odors in the car.

How To Know Which Side Of The Air Filter Is Better? 

If you are not a professional mechanic, the easiest way is to inspect the filter to check the direction of the arrow – also the direction of airflow. And installing the arrow facing down is the rule of thumbs.

In the off-chance that you find no arrow, then the side coming with wire mesh or cardboard is the direction.

Why Does The Direction Matter? 

Which way does cabin air filter go? Now you know it, but why does it matter?  

When you first look at this part, you will see that it is no different on both sides. That’s why many people think installing it in any direction is not the same.

But wait, if you look closely, you’ll notice the difference. Although its two sides are quite similar, one side will be more porous, and the other will be harder.

This minimizes the possibility of it slowing down the flow in your system while also enabling the filter to trap airborne particles properly. And that’s why its two sides cannot be used interchangeably.

What If You Install Wrong? 

If you install it wrong, what are some effects on the air flow direction cabin filter?

One immediate problem that you have to change is the performance reduction. When passing through the filter, it will not be blown through the porous side of it.

This makes the handler work harder to do this since it needs to make up for the lost one.

Next, the fan will have to increase activity, leading to an increase in energy consumption.

As was already indicated, the filter can only remove a lot of undesired debris when fitted in a specific direction. The filter’s usual collective end will not face the supply if configured backward.

Your filter will, in essence, keep dust in the air, leading to a clogged air filter. This might make the car start rough then smooth out, which is a real nuisance.

The worst scenario is that it damages the car’s filter system. You have to pay even more to fix other potential damages, such as for a mass air flow sensor reset.

How To Change The Cabin Air Filter?

How To Determine The Direction?

How To Determine The Direction?

To determine cabin air filter flow direction isn’t easy for all. But don’t worry! There are many useful tips that you can apply, even when you don’t have any experience in replacing them before.

First, look at the arrow with the “AIR FLOW” sign that is usually imprinted on most filters. Usually, you must install it so that the arrow is facing down.

However, for those who own Toyota brand vehicles such as Toyota Corolla or Toyota Highlander, this symbol will be replaced by “UP”.

Remember this is not the direction of the input, but this represents how the filter should be placed in the system.

If there is no marking on the product you choose, another way to determine the cabin filter air flow direction is to look at the old filter.

Which side is dirtier is the intake one, and your task now is to install the new one in the right way.

Guide To Change

Guide To Change

To change the cabin air filter, follow the step-by-step guide below.

Remember to read the vehicle owner’s manual and make sure you choose the right type of filter, which should be the same as the old one you are about to replace.

  • Step 1: Start by cleaning out your glove box if your filter is under there, as most are.

If it is not under the glove box, ensure there is enough space for you to get to it.

  • Step 2: Release the two plastic pins holding the glove box in place after your box is empty. You will then be able to reach the cabin housing.

Next, remove the cover by depressing the two clips on either side of the filter housing (which opens like a door). It will be visible.

  • Step 3: The old one can be removed by sliding the filter housing out of the chamber.

On the filter and its housing, there are little arrows that you can see. These show the direction since filters are designed to strain the input that only flows in one direction. So take note of them.

  • Step 4: Put in your new one after removing the old from its case. Replace both of them if your car has two.

Pay close attention to the flow, denoted by the tiny arrows mentioned, to ensure appropriate installation. Install the new one by simply aligning the arrows with the previous ones.

  • Step 5: Reassemble the glove box as the way you take it out 

The Bottom Lines

The cabin air filter air flow direction is extremely important in filtration and conditioning. Therefore, ensure that you install it on the correct side after each repair or replacement.

Make sure you find a suitable item and follow our guidelines to replace the new one when needed.

However, if you are not confident in your knowledge and skills, finding a skilled mechanic to perform is necessary to ensure the best performance and avoid potential risks.

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