When I picked up my 2008 BMW X3 last year used, the first thing I did was order a new BMW X3 Replacement Cabin Air Filter and Engine Air Filter. Both are fairly inexpensive and both are easy to install – requiring no tools.

Replacing the Cabin Air pollen filter:
The cabin air filter is in the housing just underneath the windshield, in the center of the engine compartment. Fresh air comes in through the air vents below the windshield, then up through the filter, then into the ventilation system. If you feel under the housing, you can feel the paper filter that’s already installed. There are three plastic spring nuts that you turn less than one revolution to disengage, unlock all three nuts to open the housing, then remove the old filter and install the new one.

You’ll notice the flow of air goes up when the filter is installed properly, and you should see the dirty part of the old filter is on the bottom. Your new filter will tell you the proper air flow direction ensuring you install the filter correctly. Fit the new filter in so it’s symmetrical and the door closes without interfering. Lock down all three plastic nuts, you should be able to feel the filter firmly secured from underneath.

Notice at the bottom of the air flow channel there are drain holes for rain to escape; make sure these are clear when servicing the cabin air filter. One thing I like about the Mann filter and also this Fram is that they have active ingredients like charcoal to further purify the cabin air.

Replacing the Engine Air filter:
Another easy procedure on the e83 BMW X3 is inspecting and changing the engine air filter element. There are four tabs that need to be unsnapped to access the engine air filter, you can use a flat head screwdriver to pop them lose but for me it was easier and faster to do it by hand. See photo below.

Open the air box a bit so you can slide the old filter out. I usually vacuum the air box out before installing the new element in case there’s leaves, dirt, or debris in the air box.
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