How to replace BMW E36 cabin air filter

BMW E36 cabin air filter replacement procedure:

Cabin air filters often go forgotten as part of routine maintenance.  The purpose of the cabin air filter is filter the air circulating through the cabin.  Whether the cabin is filled with dust, smoke or smoggy air, this filler will eventually pick up these particles and need to be replaced.

If you do not replace your air filter, the blower motor will have to work harder to blow air through the clogged filter and will eventually overwork the motor.  A blown blower motor is a costly repair.  It is in your best interest to stay on top of the cabin air filter replacement to avoid premature failure of the blower motor.

The BMW E36 has only one cabin air filter located behind the glove box.  Some BMW models such as the E39 feature two filters.  The BMW E36 has more of a lengthy process to replace the filter compared to later models, however, it is not all that difficult.

We recommend changing the cabin air filter as one of the first things to do after purchasing a new used vehicle.  Chances are the previous owner never kept up with the maintenance.  If the previous owner was a smoker, the air blowing through the cabin may still have smoke particles if the filter is clogged.  This will cause stale, smelly air to be blown through the cabin.  After initial changing of the filter, it isis recommendedo keep replacing it every year.

Purchasing of the cabin air filter can be readily found at any auto parts store or online.  The prices are reasonable and usually go for $15 - $20.

Tools Needed:

  • Flat head screw driver
  • Philips head screw driver
  • 10mm socket
  • Socket wrench


Below are the step by step instructions on how to replace your cabin air filter in the BMW E36 model.