Cabin Filters

The removed filter is on the left. On the floor are the pliers used for extraction of acorn fragments. The glove box is dropped down exposing the filter/fan cavity.

They sometimes call it a cabin filter or an inside compartment air filter. Most new cars have them. My wife’s 2007 Honda Civic has one. When she went to the dealership to have something else done they gave her the old “while you are here, why not have your cabin filter replaced too?”. I wasn’t there to say ‘No’ and so it was done. The immediate result was that the next time she turned on the heater, and every time thereafter, it made a loud whirring sound.

I believe in the good old cause and effect rule. Something they did at the Honda dealership created the noise. Unfortunately it is real inconvenient for my wife to arrange another appointment (she has all sorts of daily commitments) and the dealership is not right around the corner either. Heaven forbid just ‘dropping by’ and saying ‘fix it now’. You know that’s not going to happen.

So, when she finally told me about the problem and when I got a spare minute I checked it out. A neat video on You Tube explained how simple it is to remove the cabin filter. I figured this would be the way to go … always return to the scene of the crime for clues.

View of the cabin filter / heater fan cavity with filter removed.

It took me about 30 seconds or less to remove the new filter. As I did so I noticed a couple of chewed acorns on top of it. Then I looked inside the cavity below the filter. There was the impeller for the heater fan, nicely nestled in its own plastic shroud. I reached in and rooted around a bit. After about another 30 minutes I had fully extricated about 2 cups of acorns. Some were stuck in the impeller vanes, some were stuck between the impeller and the shroud. I suspect that when the service person removed the old filter the cache of acorns on the top of the filter dropped down inside the fan cavity. Did he notice? It would be impossible not to. Did he attempt to remove the acorns? Obviously not. Did he charge 0.5 units of labor? Oh yeah! I have the receipt to prove it. That came to $55.00 so they charge $110.00 per hour. That sort of explains why people avoid going to a dealership for service whenever possible. On top of the $55.00 for labor there was the $26.00 charge for the filter.

Impeller blades visible. Also notice a couple of brown acorns that have not yet been extracted.

The same filter is available at NAPA for $10.39 in the regular flavor and $20.00 in the gold flavor. We paid $81.00 for something that will be less than $20 the next time.

After removing all of the acorns and putting the filter back the fan ran smoothly and quietly. At least I got to be ‘hero for the day’ with my wife … priceless. Thanks, Honda.


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