Replacing the Cabin Filter in A4 Jetta/Golf TDI

It’s easy! And you’ll breath clean air!

All the air that comes into your TDI (when the windows are up) comes through the cabin filter. Lots of air goes through the filter each day for months or years at a time. Although it does its best to filter out pollen, dirt, debris, bits of trees, and rodents, it gets tired. Although the filter replacement interval is 40K on most VWs, gurus recommend replacing the filter twice a year, in the spring and fall. It’s literally a 5 minute job, only requires a phillips head screwdriver.

Where is it?

This may be the toughest part. It’s at the base of the windshield, on the passenger side, under the plenum cover, or rain tray.

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

It even has its own access door, held in place with four phillips head screws.

Access & Replacement

First, peel back the gasket that seals the back of the engine compartment.

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

Then, loosen and remove the four screws that hold the cover in place

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

Once the screws are out (the upper part of the rain tray is a good place to store them), tip the front of the cover up and lift it out of the car. Don’t pull too hard as there’s a narrow piece that fits under the cover near the hood hinge. You don’t want to break that. But move it around a bit and it’ll come out.

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

Then the filter is in front of you, in its holder

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

You want to remove the filter in its holder, then replace the filter and put the holder back in the car. Remove the filter by pressing the tabs that lock the holder in place.

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

One they’re free the filter will tip up and slide right out of its base.

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

The filter on the right has been in the car for about 2 years (shame on us). The one on the left is new. Sometimes they’re much worse: we’ve seen mouse nests in many.

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

See, it does do some work. Catches leaves and twigs, too.

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

Take the new filter out of its box, and set it into the base. Note that there is a top and bottom, and that the direction of airflow is indicated on the cardboard sides of the filter. You can see it in the comparison of old and new filters above

Be sure to lap the ends of the filter over the end of the holder, as shown below

jJetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

Once the filter is in its base, put it back in the holder by tipping the back tabs into their receivers in the base, and clicking the clips into place. You can reach around behind the filter if necessary to make sure its set in its base

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

Once it’s in tip the cover back into its location, once again being careful not to force it and bend or break the plastic.

Jetta Golf TDI A4 Cabin Filter Replacement

You’re done! Enjoy the fresh air, increased fan efficiency, and better A/C that a clean filter offers.

Reference Part Numbers

1J0129620 – Jetta/Golf TDI A4 Air Filter.

11 thoughts on “Replacing the Cabin Filter in A4 Jetta/Golf TDI”

  1. Any tips on how to tip the cover back into its location. (the last step). Every time I change my filter this is the PITA part. Eventually I always somehow get it to fit back but not after much longer than I would like. The left side seems to be the hard part.

    1. If you look in the void where the filter goes in you can see a peice of sheetmetal sticking down a 1/4 in or so in the path on the left side roof of area .I just took a screwdriver and finessed the filter under it.

  2. It can be difficult. The trick is getting it around the hood hinge: I usually try to insert that corner first and sometimes, not always, it falls into place.

  3. I find that starting vertically, pushing the filter tray in a bit, then going horizontal gets around that. Then again, mine is broken…

  4. I’ve never had a problem getting hte cover back in place… getting the filter clipped into the back of the housing, however, has been annoying at times… But after 9 filters (every 20K miles), I’ve had a fair amount of practice…

  5. the first (and only time I did the replacement, i ended up with a large water leak on the interior passenger side. I’ve been reluctant to do this maintenance ever since then (156,000 miles)
    what did I do wrong?

  6. Bill,

    I got that water leak also. In my cast it was caused by the foam piece that I nocked out in the hood channel. There is one on each side and it seems to seal the chanel. When I replaced it the leak disappeared.


  7. Hi thank you for your post.

    when I tried to replace the cabin air filter I noticed that the plastic cover was broken in many parts (They must have broken it during last maintenance). I can’t find the reference for this part, any idea ? (I have a 2003 Jetta)

    Thank you,

  8. Great DIY – Thanks!

    My cover piece is broken in two pieces and missing some of it also. Probably a testament of how convoluted it is to ge this in and out.

    I need to order a new one, but there does not seem to be a regular VW part number on it. I’ve entered the number I could read into a couple part suppliers site and it comes back bad.

    The part suppliers’ sites diagrams are very obscure in this are and I’m not certain I’d be ordering the right piece if I just did it from the diagram.

    I’d hate to have to drive to the deaer for this piece of plastic.

    Any help here?

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