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Kia Optima Cabin Air Filter Replacement Guide
How to clean or change the A/C system's cabin air filter element in a fourth generation 2016 to 2020 Kia Optima.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

2019 Optima Glove Box
Open - Empty Out
Damper Arm - Right Side
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the 4th generation (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 model years) Kia Optima sedan in cleaning or changing the A/C system's cabin air filter element located in the HVAC blower motor housing.

Owners of other Kia, Hyundai or Genesis vehicles such as the Niro, Sportage, Sedona, Telluride, Sorento, Rio, Forte, Soul, K900, Cadenza, K5, Stinger, Tucson, Santa Fe, Kona, Palisade, Elantra, Sonata, Accent, Veloster, Ioniq, Nexo, Venue, G70, G80 and G90 may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

A few compatible replacement cabin air filters with their part numbers are as follows: Premium Guard PC99206C, Fram CF12159, K&N VF2016, EcoGard XC10647C and TYC 800210P.

No tools are required to access and replace the filter.

The first few steps are to sit in the front passenger seat, open the glove box and empty out the contents.

Then move to the outer right side wall of the glove box and locate the damper arm.


Pop Arm Off Mount
Right Side Stopper
1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Gently pull the bottom of the damper arm off the two prongs on the mounting peg attached to the right outer side wall of the glove box.

If you have trouble pulling the damper arm off its mount, use a plastic pry bar tool or a flat head screwdriver for more leverage.

Locate the two round plastic side stoppers inside the glove box. There is one on the left side and another on the right side.

Raise the glove box about an inch to take the weight off the side stops.

Rotate the handle on the side stop 1/4 turn in the counterclockwise direction before pulling it straight out of the side wall of the glove box.

Right Side Stop Removed
Remove Left Side Stopper
Left Side Stop Removed
Then repeat the process to remove the side stopper on the other side.

Set the two side stops aside in a safe place.

Rubber & Plastic Stops
Lower Glove Box
Rectangular Filter Cover
Gently lower the glove box down to the floor mat.

If the two plastic hinges on the bottom edge of the glove box become separated from the dashboard, they can easily be re-attached later on.

Once the glove box is out of the way, you'll be able to see the HVAC blower motor housing and the rectangular shaped filter access panel.

Two Release Tabs - Right
Pinch Together Tabs
Swing Open Right Side
Squeeze together the two tabs on the right side of the access cover to release the retaining clips.

Swing open the right side of the filter cover towards yourself.

Remove Large Tab - Left
Old Filter Exposed
Slide Out Old Filter
Then pull out the large tab on the left side of the filter cover from its slot.

Set the filter cover aside in a safe place.

Slide the old filter straight out of the slot in the HVAC blower motor housing.

Old Filter Removed
Inspect Both Sides
Clean With Vacuum
Inspect both sides of the old air filter.

If the old filter is dark grey or black and clogged with dirt, dust, pollen, soot, leaves, insects, twigs, hair, sand and other debris, it should be replaced with a new element.

I recommend buying the Premium Guard PC99206C cabin air filter since it has excellent reviews on Amazon.

If you would prefer to have a more environmentally friendly filter that can be washed and re-used many times, choose the K&N VF2016 filter.

If the old filter is relatively clean, just tap out the large debris and remove any fine dust with a vacuum cleaner.

The OEM (original equipment manufacturer) filter was marked as part number Hyundai / Kia 97133-C1010 HUCC F178LFDBA (also known as part # 97133C1010).

HVAC Blower Motor
Install New Filter In Slot
Line Up Access Cover
Inspect the filter slot in the HVAC blower motor housing for any large debris such as leaves, twigs or insects.

If you have a crevice attachment for your vacuum, clean out any debris from the slot.

Orientate the new filter with the "Air Flow" arrow pointing down towards the floor mat.

Slide the new filter into the slot until it is fully seated.

Line up the access cover with the filter slot.

Re-Insert Tab - Left Side
Push, Secure Clip - Right
Filter Cover Secured
First, re-insert the large tab on the left side of the filter access cover into its corresponding slot on the blower motor housing.

Then swing the right side of the cover towards the filter.

Push on the right side of the cover to secure the retaining clip.

You should feel or hear the retaining clip "click" securely into place.

Double check that the cover is properly installed and secured to the housing.

Raise Glove Box
Push On Damper Arm
Re-Insert Side Stops
Raise the glove box up towards the dashboard.

Pop the hole on the bottom of the damper arm over the two prongs on the end of the mounting peg.

1/4 Turn Clockwise
Close Glove Box
Filter Change Complete!
Raise the glove box up an inch or two until the holes for the side stoppers are clear of the dashboard.

Re-insert the two side stops and rotate them 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction to lock them into place.

Replace the contents of the glove box and close it to complete the job.

Be sure to write down the filter change in your vehicle's service records.

Enjoy the fresh clean air from your A/C system!

The owner's manual service interval specification for replacing the cabin air filter is every 30,000 miles (48K KM) or at least every two years.

Please check out all of my 2016-2020 Kia Optima DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

If you found this guide to be helpful, please consider making a small donation by clicking on the "Donate" button located to the right of this paragraph. Thank you!
(Note: I am not a registered charity. Donations are not tax deductible.)


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