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How to replace the engine air filter in a 2006 Nissan Altima. Step by step, with pictures

Updated on February 17, 2012

I am going to show you how to replace the engine air filter in a 2006 Nissan Altima. The procedure is the same or similar for many Nissans. The engine air filter should be replaced every 15,000 miles.

Tools required: Technically, none, but I would strongly recommend using a small pry bar or large flat head screwdriver.

Time required: 5 to 20 minutes. Can take even longer your first time.


There are two metal clips (green arrows) holding down one side of the upper airbox. First, push these off of the lid, towards the fender. Once these clips are off, you will need to pull up on the side of the lid that is free, while pulling it to the side (direction shown by blue arrows) to disengage the three plastic tabs on the other side. If the tabs are stubborn you can try to push them out one at a time with a screwdriver or something. (These tabs are shown in other pictures)

Once you have managed to lift the lid upwards you will have access to the air filter. Take note of how it is seated in it's housing, there can be variations depending on the manufacturer of the filter, but the pleats usually face downwards. Grab hold of one edge of the filter, or pinch the pleats with your fingers, and yank it out. Once the old filter is out you will see the inside of the lower air filter housing. There are three arches (green arrows) sticking up on the edge, which you've just had to wrestle the tabs out of. These are the enemy! Before putting in the new filter make sure you remove any debris or junk from the housing, animals sometimes make nests in there. If you are unsure whether or not you need to replace your air filter try to shine a flashlight through it or hold it up to a light source. If light has trouble getting through the filter, air will have trouble as well. You should be able to see light rather clearly through the pleats. If not, you should probably replace the filter.

Once you place the new filter into it's home, you will need to fasten the air box lid back into place. This can be a battle of epic proportions, especially if you are inexperienced. Just do your best to stay calm and be patient. You DO NOT want to break any of the tabs or their retaining loops. I have found that it is best to place the air filter up into the lid before trying to force the tabs into place. You will want to angle the tabs downwards while inserting them into their places. Try doing one at a time. Once you have the tab up against it's arch, place your screwdriver or pry bar against the tab and push down while sliding the tab into place. Make sure the first tab stays in, and use the same method to force the other two tabs into place.

Once all tree tabs are secured, you just need to hook on the two clips on the opposite side. You may need to press down on the lid with one hand while trying to force the clips on. It should not take too much effort, but if can be a bit difficult if the lid isn't seated perfectly. It can help to use a pry bar or similar tool to gain leverage against the clip.

Finally, you'll just need to confirm that all three plastic tabs are in place and both metal clips are on securely. Once you're sure you have the air filter installed properly, just double check that you have picked up all your tools and supplies before closing the hood. Mission accomplished :D

Thank you very much for reading my hub! I hope you find it useful, all feedback is greatly appreciated!

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