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Cabin Air Filter Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Cabin Air Filter Replacement

Time:

15 minutes15 mins

Tab:

$50

Talent:

**

Tools:

Screwdriver

Applicable Models:

R50 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2002-06)
R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08)
R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
R53 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2002-06)
R55 MINI Cooper Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R55 MINI Cooper JCW Clubman Wagon (2009-14)
R55 MINI Cooper S Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-13)
R56 MINI Cooper JCW Hatchback (2009-13)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-13)
R57 MINI Cooper Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper JCW Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2009-15)

Parts Required:

new filter

Hot Tip:

clean the inside of the filter housing before installing the new filter

Performance Gain:

improved cabin filtration and airflow

Complementary Modification:

install an activated charcoal filter.
How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Pelican Parts' new book, How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 500+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any MINI owner's collection. The book is due to be released in late 2015. See The Official Book Website for more details.

Did you know that your MINI Cooper has an air filter for the climate control system? Most people don't know that modern vehicle climate control systems have a small filter built in that traps dust and/or solid particles. If you live in a hotter and/or humid climate, you probably use the A/C with the windows closed for extended periods of time. This usually keeps germs, bacteria, and dust particles in the car. This typically leaves a musty smell in the car's cabin when you turn on the A/C. Over time, the filter in the car becomes saturated with dirt, dust particles and can even impede the flow of the air coming through the system.

The solution is to change the filter. Modern filters are usually electrostatic and hypo-allergenic and do a wonderful job of keeping the air in the cabin clean and flowing well. The cabin air filter should be replaced annually to keep the system working correctly. The cabin filter is a relatively inexpensive item to replace and is easily changed as well.

The first step in replacing the filter is to look under the passenger side dashboard. Up underneath is a small box with a removable cover. The cover is secured to the housing with two clips in the front and two on the back. Press the tabs on the clips on the front cover while using a flathead screwdriver to carefully pry the cover off. Once you have the front clips disengaged, the rear clips will come off.

The procedure for replacing the cabin air filter on the R55/R56/R57 cars is nearly identical, except that the cabin air filter cover is held on with two screws and hinges at the back.

With the cover off, you will see the old filter in the housing. Reach up into the housing and pull the old filter out. It's a good idea to lay down a towel or plastic to catch and dirt or leaves that may be lodged in the filter. In our case, the filter had not been changed in some time and was very dirty.

Once removed, look inside the filter housing. It's a good idea to wipe down the inside of the housing to get rid of any dust or residue that may still be inside. Also, you will see a set of guide rails molded into the sides of the housing. These act to secure the filter in place.

Now, look at the new filter. The pleats of the filter should be facing up and there is a small edge on the bottom that acts as a guide. Slide one end of the filter into the guide rails on the filter housing. The filter is designed to bend so that you can fit in up inside. It may take a bit of maneuvering to get the filter lined up in the rails exactly, but once in place you should be able to push the filter all the way up into the housing until it stops.

A small maintenance sticker should be included with the new filter. Fill the sticker out and place it on or near the filter housing to let you know the last time the filter was changed. All that remains to do is pop the cover of the filter housing back in place. On the underside of the filter cover are two guides that also help secure the new filter in place. Now enjoy the fresh clean air running through your car's climate control system.

Shown here is a new cabin air filter or microfilter.
Figure 1

Shown here is a new cabin air filter or microfilter. They are usually available as a paper filter, electrostatic, or as an activated carbon filter. Pelican Parts can supply you with whatever filter you might like to use.

Shown here are the M3-style mirrors installed.
Figure 2

The cabin air filter is in front of the glovebox underneath the right side of the dashboard.

The filter housing cover is held on by four clips.
Figure 3

The filter housing cover is held on by four clips. The green arrows point to the clips on the front while the purple arrows point to the clips on the rear of the housing (not visible) press the tabs on the front clips while carefully prying off the the cover with a flathead screwdriver.

Shown here is the filter housing cover released.
Figure 4

Shown here is the filter housing cover released. The air filter is located directly underneath. .

Pull the old filter out of it's guide rails inside the filter housing.
Figure 5

Pull the old filter out of it's guide rails inside the filter housing. The filter should come out easily, however it's not a bad idea to lay down some plastic or a towel to catch any dirt or leaves that may be inside.

As you can see, this filter has been saturated with dirt, dust and leaves.
Figure 6

As you can see, this filter has been saturated with dirt, dust and leaves.

ThisPicture shows one of the guide rails molded into the inside of the filter housing.
Figure 7

ThisPicture shows one of the guide rails molded into the inside of the filter housing. (green arrow) The opposite side (not visible) has the same guide rail molded into it as well.

Take note of the orientation of the new filter.
Figure 8

Take note of the orientation of the new filter. The pleated side should be facing up with the lip of the filter facing down. Line up the new filter's edges in the guide rails of the filter housing and push it all the way up until the filter stops.

Here is the new filter installed inside the guide rails.
Figure 9

Here is the new filter installed inside the guide rails. Keep in mind that the filter is designed to bend so that it can be fitted inside.

Shown here is the cabin air filter housing for a R56 MINI Cooper.
Figure 10

Shown here is the cabin air filter housing for a MINI Mk II Cooper. To replace the filter, remove the two screws on either end of the housing (green arrows) and then flip the catches at the front of the airbox open (purple arrows) and rotate the cover down and open.

Shown here is cabin air filter housing open.
Figure 11

Shown here is cabin air filter housing open. Pull the old filter out of the airbox (green arrow). When installing the new filter, take note of the guide tracks molded into the housing (purple arrow). These tracks will guide the new filter up into position.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Lawrie Comments: Is the filter the same for right hand drive vehicles. Does it matter if the car is automatic or stick. I live in Australia. Thanks
September 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Should be the same. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
drtsarev Comments: Figure 9 - The new filter is easier and safer to twist and slide in rather than bend.
5 minutes job.
Excellent tutorial Pelican Parts!
December 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Brad Comments: Neither Figure 3 or Figure 10 apply to my 2006 Mini Cooper. I only seem to have tabs on the front of my cabin air filter cover and no vertical screws on the side. How do I get this off to access the filter?
January 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I haven't seen one without the tabs on the rear. Does it look like there is a hinge? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
CaptainAnegada Comments: I believe Figure 2 deserves an alternate description.
March 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hey, thanks for catching that error. We will fix it! - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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