I’m sick and tired of nobody in Boston covering automotive anymore. Seriously. No more car reviews in the Boston Globe!

We could go on the interwebs for our data, and if you’re reading this you are going on the web because we DON’T PRINT Blast.

I took things into my own hands, took one for the team and did the only logical thing I could think of: I bought a car.

I did it for you, really. I traded in my dad’s old 2000 Ford Ranger for a 2008 Toyota Corolla (yeah, I’m ballin’ now, homes). It’s my first car. All previous vehicles were parental hand-me-downs. So this is something special. And since I’m single, I’m going to spoil my new car with gifts and toys and upgrades.

But I’m not going to chrome her out or put on decals and racing stripes. I’m not going on Ebay for a $2,000 “supercharger.” I’m not going to outfit it with 18″ rims that spin when the car is stopped. I’m a fucking journalist. I don’t have money for that shit, anyway.

So, over the next few weeks I’ll be doing some reasonable and practical things, taking pictures, consulting with experts and providing some step-by-step info on how you can do the same.

Some of the things to look for: Air filters, headlights, tinting do’s and don’ts, efficient use of trunk space, the oil, and more.

Let’s start simple.

The Corolla is the top selling car in America, and these tips are good for the 9th Generation Corolla. Consult your local Google for other cars before trying this at home.

Stuff for Your Car #1: Replace the cabin air filter

5 minutes — Less than $20 — Anyone can do it

I was shit-scared when I started these projects. I don’t tinker with cars. I’m Generation Y. We don’t change our own oil anymore or do our own tuneups. We go to Jiffy Lube and Firestone and pay good money to guys that drive better cars than us so that they can do all that stuff. My Firestone guy drives a BMW, by the way.

There’s also been a lot of talk about cabin air filters lately, and I figured that since I bought a slightly used car with just under 20,000 miles on it, that I might as well change it up. Rather than pay someone to do it, the really helpful people on Toyota Nation posted a ridiculously easy-looking do it yourself guide.

The photo gallery above will run you though it.

I paid $15.99 for an STP filter at AutoZone. You could also go to Home Depot and buy a home A/C filter and cut it to size. You don’t really need to get fancy. Some people even say to stick a dryer sheet or two under the filter. I don’t like the idea. The fewer chemicals in my air, the better. Most new filters are white. Some contain activating carbon that turns it gray.

Open the glove box. There’s one black screw and some tabs holding it on. Remove the screw with a phillips screwdriver, and it comes off easy.

Your cabin air filter is in the rectangle above the cylinder marked “Toyota.” Push the tabs, and the cover comes right off. Just go easy. You’re not going to zap yourself or break anything.

The old, dirty filter slides right out. Now, a lot of dealerships are smart, and they’ll replace the cabin filter when they “re-certify” the car so you have good smelling air and powerful air conditioning. Mine was, as you can see, not new. But it wasn’t in terrible condition.

Slide the new filter in, replace the cover, replace the glove box and screw, and you’re done!

Toyota recommends replacing the cabin filter every 20,000 miles. It’s really up to you. I have allergies to things like dust, so I’ll be aggressively replacing it.

Special thanks to Exage on Toyota Nation.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at guilfoil.j@blastmagazine.com. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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