When you make purchases through links on this site, The Track Ahead may earn an affiliate commission. Also, these posts are based off my own experiences. I am not responsible for any action you take as a result of reading this. Learn More
Engine Air Filter Maintenance on a 1st Gen Toyota Tacoma (3.4L V6 – 5VZ-FE Engine)
On the 1st generation (1996-2004) Toyota Tacoma with the 3.4L V6 (5VZ-FE engine), the engine air filter should be inspected every 5,000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. Replacement of the air filter should be done every 30,000 miles or 36 months, again whichever comes sooner. Driving the vehicle in harsher environments may necessitate a more frequent replacement schedule.
Inspection and replacement of the engine air filter on the 1st Gen Toyota Tacoma is probably one of the easiest jobs you’ll encounter. It literally takes 1 minute to inspect and maybe 2 minutes to replace. With that said, there’s no good reason for not following Toyota’s scheduled maintenance interval for inspecting and replacing the engine air filter.
Tools & Materials
Engine Air Filter
Standard Engine Air Filter – Any of these options will suffice for replacing your old engine air filter. Aftermarket options are more than adequate for replacement of the OEM filter.
Reusable Engine Air Filter – Another option is to use a K&N engine air filter that will allow you to clean and re-use your engine air filter. K&N offers a 10-year or million-mile warranty. As for maintenance, you will need to clean them around every 50,000 miles.
For this write-up, I used a WIX engine air filter as a replacement for my parents’ 2004 Toyota Tacoma (3.4L V6), however there are plenty of other options out there. Any option will follow the same steps below for changing out the engine air filter.
How to Replace Engine Air Filter on a 1st Gen Toyota Tacoma
First, open the hood and locate the engine air filter housing. It is located at the front passenger side of the engine bay (right behind the windshield washer fluid reservoir.)
The engine air filter housing has two clips that hold the air filter cover down. You’ll need to use two hands to press down on both clips at the same time, and then lift up on the cover.
Once the air filter cover is opened, you’ll see the engine air filter inside. Simply press down on the filter, pull towards the front of the car, then pull straight up and out of the housing.
Get your new engine air filter and simply reinstall it back where you removed the previous air filter. Once you get the air filter in place and press it down to lock in place, you may now close the cover until the two clips lock into place.
And that is all it takes to replace the engine air filter on a 1st gen Toyota Tacoma. I told you it was easy! Now if only the engineer who designed the air filter on the 3.4L V6 Toyota Tacoma could’ve been the same one to design the oil filter, then we’d all be happy.