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Cabin Air Filter Maintenance Schedule on a 2nd Gen Lexus IS350
On the second generation Lexus IS350 (years 2006 through 2013), Lexus recommends checking your cabin air filter (or as they call it, air conditioning filter) every 5,000 miles and replacing it every 10,000 miles. This might be a bit more aggressive of a maintenance schedule as you might typically see, with many paper cabin air filters typically requiring replacement every 24 months or about 30,000 miles. Regardless, you should be at checking your cabin air filter on a regular basis to ensure that it is not clogged up with dirt and debris.
Tools & Materials
Cabin Air Filter
There are three main types of cabin air filters you can get nowadays: a standard paper filter, a charcoal-activated paper filter, and a reusable filter. There’s even HEPA filters that offer extra filtering capabilities. Here is a bit of info on each with different offerings for each cabin filter type.
Standard Cabin Air Filter – The standard air filter (such as the OEM filter that came with the car) is a paper element that mainly acts as a physical barrier against leaves, debris, and small particulates that make its way through the fresh air intake and into the cabin. Lifespan of 12-24 months. I included the OEM part number for your reference, but I don’t recommend using it because it is simply too expensive when there are so many aftermarket options out there that will do just as good of a job or better.
Charcoal Activated Carbon Air Filter – This builds on the standard air filter by adding activated charcoal and baking soda. In addition to being a physical barrier to debris, it also absorbs fumes and various odors. These filters tend to have a shorter lifespan than the standard air filter: about 12 months or 15k miles. Air flow is slightly less than the paper element types.
Reusable Cabin Air Filter – Using a reusable cabin air filter is not only an eco-friendly option, but it can also cut down on costs if you plan to use it long term. The most popular reusable air filter is made by K&N and they offer a 10-year, one million mile warranty on their products. The K&N reusable air filters are intended to last the life of the vehicle.
HEPA Cabin Air Filter – A HEPA filter is the type of filter that you might find inside of an air purifier. It forces air through a fine mesh that filters out extra-fine particles such as pollen, pet dander, smoke, etc. The downsides to this filter is that it costs about 50% more than the paper and carbon filters and it restricts air flow somewhat.
Ultimately, I went with to a charcoal-activated filter as I like to minimize the amount of odors and fumes that enter my car through the fresh air intake. The cost of these filters is similar to the aftermarket paper element ones too. Here is the WIX 24511 cabin air filter that I purchased for my 2006 Lexus IS350.
How to Replace Cabin Air Filter on a 2nd Gen Lexus IS350
First locate your glove compartment and open it. Remove everything from inside so that you have plenty of space to work. You will then need to remove the plastic shelf. To remove this shelf, pull upwards on vertical portion of shelf, then pull the entire piece towards the left so that all of the tabs are popped out of their place.
Once this shelf is removed, you now have access to the cabin air filter cover. You can remove this easily by grabbing the top portion of the cover and pulling up and towards you.
You should now either see your cabin air filter, or you might not if it is covered by the vent. If you don’t see the cabin air filter tray, you can turn on your vehicle and changing the setting for the air recirculation button. Doing this will make the vent move up so that you have access to the cabin filter. You can also move this vent up by hand manually so that you can access to filter.
Press in the two outer tabs of the cabin air filter housing, lift up, and then pull the entire tray out.
Once you have the existing cabin air filter out, you can see how you can slide the old filter out and the new filter into the tray.
Re-install the new cabin air filter in reverse order of removal and you have finished your cabin air filter replacement!