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About the Air Filter

The air filter is a critical part of your vehicle’s operational efficiency. Over time, these filters can catch dirt, leaves, and debris that get sucked through the intake system before it heads on over to the combustion process. As such, these filters need to be cleaned and eventually replaced as part of the maintenance schedule.

Luckily, air filters are normally incredibly easy to replace. Here’s how I replaced mine on my Toyota 4Runner:

How to Replace Air Filter in a 4th Gen 4Runner V6

Yep, that is the engine bay of my 2003 Toyota 4Runner V6. Ignore the wiring on top of the engine cover… that’s for another project. =)

4runner 4th gen engine bay

Looking at the photo above, you can see the intake hose come in from the fender area, which then goes through the air filter (encased in a plastic cover), then to the engine.

4runner 4th air filter box clips

Two clips here (above) unlock the air filter housing which will allow you to begin pulling the housing back. This will reveal your air filter within.

4runner 4th air filter replacement - existing air filter

Sometimes, you will need to loosen other parts of the intake hose in order to get enough room to pull out the air filter. Because my intake hose has become quite weathered, it was pretty easy to twist and bend out of the way. Here’s my dirty air filter still in its housing.

4runner 4th new air filter 17801-0P010 in box

You can’t go wrong with OEM parts and that’s what I went with here. You can either purchase through these options:

– Local Toyota Dealership (fast pickup–usually available on-hand, guaranteed authentic OEM, expensive)

Amazon.com – 2-day shipping with Prime, can be relatively certain authentic OEM if reviews are good and real, can be cheaper to expensive

Ebay.com – longer shipping times depending on where item is located, authentic OEM if can verify through photos/reviews, cheap

4runner 4th old and new engine air filter side by side
4runner 4th old and new engine air filter side by side

Seeing the difference between the old and new air filter, you can see how much restriction could be caused by all of the caked up grime in the filter. Normally air filters are to be inspected at every service and replaced every 30,000 miles (up to 45,000 miles depending on who you ask). I was closer to 45k since I had been putting it off (don’t judge me.)

4runner 4th new engine air filter

Lo and behold, the brand new air filter about to go back in. This will get the engine breathing well again and it only took me 10 minutes to change out.


Hi there! I'm Scott and I run The Track Ahead. My goal is to provide helpful articles and tutorials based on my experience and research related to car maintenance and automotive detailing. When I'm not writing and not working my day job, you can find me spending time with my family and working on home and car projects.


  1. Stanley Edouard Reply

    Thanks Scott! – Very helpful. I replace mine left by the previous owner and it was just awful. Funny how well she runs when she can get some decent air.. Always appreciate your posts.

    • Yep, I did the same kind of thing when I first got my 4Runner. I went through everything and changed out the stuff the previous owner neglected…

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