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Advice wanted on replacing air filter

srs5694

Active Member
Jan 15, 2019
1,276
1,588
Woonsocket, RI
I recently tried replacing my 2019 Model 3's cabin air filter, but I ran into a serious problem: I couldn't remove the screw that holds the air filter cover in place. The filter I bought (a third-party filter) came with a little bent screwdriver, similar to the semi-disposable screwdrivers that come with assemble-it-yourself furniture. The trouble is that I couldn't get a good grip on the screw with this tool. Indeed, even getting my hand up there was a challenge, so turning the screwdriver was basically impossible. I feel like there must be some trick to positioning one's body to get this job done. Does anybody have any tips on this? I've watched several YouTube videos on the process, but they're basically unhelpful; they show nice close-ups of the screw and cover, but don't offer any advice on how to reach this part. Do you kneel on the ground outside the car and reach in? Position a stool outside the car to lie on your back and reach up? Something else? If I had the physique of a 6-year-old, I'm sure I'd have no problem with this, but I'm an average American man in build -- 5'10", 190 pounds. If some other tool would be helpful, I can go buy it.

Thanks for any advice, including photos or links to YouTube videos that cover this aspect of the job.
 
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srs5694

Active Member
Jan 15, 2019
1,276
1,588
Woonsocket, RI
They changed the screw location and head. You may need a T20, while newer cars can use a Phillips.
Mine's a 2019, with the T20 screw in the annoying location shown in the video. At least the woman in the video does briefly mention how she positions herself. I may give that a try, but I suspect she's smaller and more nimble than me, which might give her an advantage.
 
I recently tried replacing my 2019 Model 3's cabin air filter, but I ran into a serious problem: I couldn't remove the screw that holds the air filter cover in place. The filter I bought (a third-party filter) came with a little bent screwdriver, similar to the semi-disposable screwdrivers that come with assemble-it-yourself furniture. The trouble is that I couldn't get a good grip on the screw with this tool. Indeed, even getting my hand up there was a challenge, so turning the screwdriver was basically impossible. I feel like there must be some trick to positioning one's body to get this job done. Does anybody have any tips on this? I've watched several YouTube videos on the process, but they're basically unhelpful; they show nice close-ups of the screw and cover, but don't offer any advice on how to reach this part. Do you kneel on the ground outside the car and reach in? Position a stool outside the car to lie on your back and reach up? Something else? If I had the physique of a 6-year-old, I'm sure I'd have no problem with this, but I'm an average American man in build -- 5'10", 190 pounds. If some other tool would be helpful, I can go buy it.

Thanks for any advice, including photos or links to YouTube videos that cover this aspect of the job.
I always put a piece of cardboard or something on the ground by the car so I can kneel on it. Then I bend over into the footwell to get at the screw. I replaced the screw with a thumbscrew so that I don't have to use any tools (I recommend getting one Tesla Model 3/Y Cabin Air Filter Access Panel Screw Replacement | eBay).
 

RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,243
2,252
San Jose, CA
I bought a replacement cover which has a magnet molded inside it. I forgot to have the mobile tech swap out the cover when he replaced the filters a couple of months ago. Anybody have any experience with using this type of cover?

tesla_air_filter_magnetic_cover.jpg
 
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I bought a replacement cover which has a magnet molded inside it. I forgot to have the mobile tech swap out the cover when he replaced the filters a couple of months ago. Anybody have any experience with using this type of cover?

View attachment 718637
I have one but could not get it to fit and seal to my satisfaction. That's why I decided to instead use a thumb screw to replace the regular screw.
 
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Apprunner

Member
Jul 2, 2019
583
690
So-cal
I recently tried replacing my 2019 Model 3's cabin air filter, but I ran into a serious problem: I couldn't remove the screw that holds the air filter cover in place. The filter I bought (a third-party filter) came with a little bent screwdriver, similar to the semi-disposable screwdrivers that come with assemble-it-yourself furniture. The trouble is that I couldn't get a good grip on the screw with this tool. Indeed, even getting my hand up there was a challenge, so turning the screwdriver was basically impossible. I feel like there must be some trick to positioning one's body to get this job done. Does anybody have any tips on this? I've watched several YouTube videos on the process, but they're basically unhelpful; they show nice close-ups of the screw and cover, but don't offer any advice on how to reach this part. Do you kneel on the ground outside the car and reach in? Position a stool outside the car to lie on your back and reach up? Something else? If I had the physique of a 6-year-old, I'm sure I'd have no problem with this, but I'm an average American man in build -- 5'10", 190 pounds. If some other tool would be helpful, I can go buy it.

Thanks for any advice, including photos or links to YouTube videos that cover this aspect of the job.

That little bent screwdriver doesn't work. I just used a straight screwdriver and laid upside down with my legs on the seatbacks. I actually got a magnetic cover from Abstract Ocean so I never have to use that screw again (seems to work). Air filter is simple to replace once you get that screw off.
 
The video on the abstraftocean.com site with Tesla Raj doing the change shows it. I put the seat full back and reclined. Take show off slide in and and work upside down with small ratcheting socket wrenches and T20 socket. I replaced with the orange cover (it leaves the T20 in place for the magnet to grab. The next time I could replace just reaching up and pulling from top of cover (once glove box and other parts removed) but the magnet is quite strong. I have purchased one of those thumb screws to replace the T20 and will remove the orange cover and just use the original (which is still there attached to the orange cover - see abstractocean.com) so in the future I just reach up unscrew by hand.
 

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