I have a 2016 Toyota Venza. This is the last year of the Canadian model and I know there was not a US model that year. I park it outside and do not have anywhere to park it inside.
When air conditioning season started this year I heard a strange fluttery noise from the vents that I did not hear when heating. Since I was headed in to the dealer for an oil & filter anyway, I had them check and they showed me an absolutely shredded cabin air filter. The noise was streamers of shredded filter blowing in the air-conditioned breeze. They blamed a mouse or squirrel for the damage, and replaced the filter. They also said you can't put screening over the intake because leaves might catch on it and then something mysteriously bad would happen.
Within weeks I heard the noise again. We pulled the filter ourselves and yup, it's shredded. My first thought is just to leave it out. But maybe that would mean dust and stuff getting into my air-conditioning? If so, that's happening now since there's a 3 inch hole in the centre of the filter.
How urgent is it to replace this filter? And if it is urgent, how can I stop rodents from shredding it? This never happened with my Corolla, my Vibe (basically a Matrix), my GM van (spit!), my Chrysler van, or the other small Toyota I bought 30 years ago and can't remember the model.