Cabin Air Filters in Tesla Vehicles: Maintenance and Air Quality

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Every Tesla vehicle has one or more cabin air filters to remove particulates from the air that flows through the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The manufacturer recommends replacing a Tesla cabin air filter every two years. Based on the model, cabin air filters may be located behind the front passenger footwell panel or the rear panel of the front trunk. Learn more about the importance of changing cabin air filters as part of regular electric vehicle maintenance.

Filtering & Trapping Airborne Contaminants


Cabin air filters reduce the amount of airborne particulates, such as dust, exhaust, pollen and industrial emissions, that enter the HVAC systems and cabins of Tesla vehicles. There are different cabin filter designs for Model 3/Y and Model S/X vehicles. You will need the right genuine or aftermarket replacement cabin air filters for the model and year of vehicle that you drive.


A common question about vehicle filters involves the difference between an engine air filter vs cabin air filter. Electric vehicles do not have engine air filters. You only need to replace one or more cabin air filters depending on the vehicle model and package.

Air filter function diminishes over time as the filtration medium fills up and becomes coated with debris. It is harder for air to pass through an old filter, and buildup can lead to undesirable odors or more dust in the interior. Replacing cabin air filters is a part of regular Tesla maintenance.

Tesla’s Recommended Maintenance Schedule

According to the manufacturer, most Tesla drivers should plan on buying and installing a cabin air filter replacement every two years. If you drive in dusty environments, such as construction zones or dirt roads, you may need to replace cabin filters every year. 


General guidelines for air filters recommend replacing these components every 15,000 miles. Even though a Tesla does not release emissions, you are likely to travel on roads with many vehicles that emit exhaust that builds up on cabin air filters.

The ease of replacing cabin filters varies between Tesla models. You should determine whether your vehicle has upper and lower cabin filters or dual stage HEPA and active carbon filters and order the right replacement parts.

Locating the Cabin Air Filter In Tesla Vehicles

On the Model S and Model X, it is relatively easy to access the large HEPA filter behind the rear panel on the passenger side of the front trunk. Some trim packages also have a double-layer activated carbon filter located slightly above and in front of the glovebox. 


If you drive a Model 3 or Model Y, you will need to open the front passenger footwell cover and disconnect light and speaker connectors to change the cabin air filter. These models may have upper and lower cabin filters. Make sure to buy the right replacement filters for your vehicle.

You can choose from OEM or aftermarket replacement cabin air filters designed to fit specific Tesla models. Use genuine Tesla cabin air filters for a guaranteed fit and the best performance.

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