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Kia Optima Cabin Air Filter Replacement Guide
How to clean or change the HVAC cabin air filter element in a 3rd generation 2011 to 2015 Kia Optima with photos.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

2013 Optima Glove Box
Open Glove Box
Glove Box Damper Arm
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the third generation (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015) Kia Optima in cleaning or changing the A/C system's cabin air filter element.

Owners of other Kia and Hyundai vehicles with similar blower motor housings such as the Forte, Cadenza, Rio, Soul, Sedona, Sorento, Sportage, Sonata, Accent, Elantra, Veloster, Azera, Tucson, Santa Fe and Genesis may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

A few compatible replacement cabin filters with their part numbers include the following: TYC 800157P, Fram CF11819, ACDelco CF177, Beck Arnley 042-2185, OEM CAF254P, Hastings AFC1359 and Kia 2TF79-AQ000.

No tools are needed to change the cabin air filter.

A wet/dry shop vacuum can be useful for cleaning the existing element.

Pop Off Arm - Right Side
Right Side Wall Stop
1/4 Turn Counter Clockwise
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 right side of the glove box and pop the black plastic damper arm off its mounting peg.

Release the round plastic side stop on each interior side wall of the glove box by rotating them 1/4 turn counter clockwise before pulling them straight out.

You may need to slightly raise the glove box in to the dashboard to release the tension and easily pull out the side stops.

Set the two plastic / rubber side stops aside in a safe place.

Remove Left Side Stop
Two Side Stoppers Removed
Lower Glove Box To Floor
Gently lower the glove box down to the floor.
Cabin Filter Access Door
Retaining Clip On Right Side
Pinch Together Two Tabs
Once you've lowered the glove box, you'll see the rectangular black plastic filter access cover on the blower motor housing.

Pinch together the two tabs on the right side of the filter access cover to release the retaining clip.

Swing Open To Left Side
Pull Out Tab On Left Side
Old Cabin Filter Exposed
Swing open the filter cover and pull out the tab on the left side from its slot.

Behind the cover, you'll see the edge of the old cabin air filter.


Slide Out Old Filter Element
Inspect Both Sides
Part # F784EB9AA
Slide the old cabin filter straight out of the slot in the blower motor housing.

Make a mental note of how the "Air Flow" or "Down" arrow is situated on the old filter. The arrow should be pointing down towards the passenger floor mat.

Inspect both sides of the old filter.

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

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

I recommend buying the TYC 800157P cabin air filter since it has excellent reviews on Amazon.

If you've had problems with your A/C system smelling musty or moldy, try using the Fram CF11819 "Fresh Breeze" filter which has Arm & Hammer baking soda and carbon in it to help absorb odors.

Vacuum Clean OEM Filter
Empty Filter Slot
Slide In New Cabin Filter
If you have a crevice attachment tool for your vacuum, clean out the filter slot in the blower motor housing.

Slide the new or cleaned filter straight in to the slot with the "Air Flow" or "Down" arrow pointing towards the floor.

New Filter Installed
First Insert Tab On Left
Swing Cover Closed To Right
Insert the tab on the left side of the filter cover in to its slot.

Swing the filter cover closed towards the right side.

Push To Secure Clip On Right
Filter Access Cover Replaced
Pop On Damper Arm
Push on the right side of the filter cover to secure the retaining clip.

Double check that the filter cover is securely in place before moving on to the next steps.

Raise the glove box up towards the dashboard.

Move to the right side of the glove and push on the black plastic damper arm on to its mounting peg.

1/4 Turn Clockwise
Replace Left Side Stop
Close Glove Box
Slightly lift the glove box in to the dashboard with one hand and re-insert the two side wall stops.

Rotate the side wall stops 1/4 turn clockwise to lock them in place.

Close the glove box to complete the job.

For more, check out my other Kia Optima 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!
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