Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: New Jersey
Car: 07 2.5i
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
My thoughts: this kind of BS is why I don't take my car to the dealer for routine mainenance. $109 to replace the cabin air filter is absurd! It seems they've found a real profit maker.
A new WIX brand (high quality) cabin air filter for your car costs $12.42 at rockauto.com. It is not hard to change yourself. It's behind the glove compartment, and I think they added an access hatch for it in 2008. For my 2007, it involved disassembling the glove compartment - not hard, but took about 20 minutes the first time. If there's an access hatch in your car, it will take a minute or two to change it.
You may or may not need to replace it every year. The only way to know is to periodically take it out and look at it.
The thing is not even really necessary - until recently, very few cars had them. You could remove it if you want to without affecting normal operation. I have bad allergies to pollen, and they really help during the worst seasons, so I really appreciate having the filter.
I just changed mine at 30,000 miles in my 2007. It was pretty dirty, but not completely clogged. I change it at 30,000 in our Pontiac Montana also. I have checked them at 15,000 and they are still OK. But it depends on your environment - how dusty, do you drive on dirt roads often, the amount of leaves and crap that fall in there, etc.
For comparison, at 30,000 miles my engine air filter was VERY dirty, much worse than the cabin air filter.