A New Pollen Filter for Figgy's California Insight
Once you remove your glove box if have the factory installed AC, then you will have to remove a redundant plastic strut which overlays the metal support strut in front of the air filter unit. If the filter has ever been replaced or inspected, then this plastic strut will already have been removed. Your dealer will have done this, if they checked or replaced your filter. Since this is an irreversible procedure, you will know if anyone ever did it because there is no way to go back to the original state! Therefore, to show you the before and after, I should have snapped some pics as I was chopping the plastic strut out and doing all the good stuff while replacing the old filter. Duh! I'll do that the next time. If you had after market AC installed, then the plastic strut will not be there either. The plastic bit is built in at the factory, and Honda decided not to cut it off even though it serves no purpose.
Ha! Dealer 'Service' Ho Hos
Seeing as all my plastic bits were intact and in place, I could tell that the previous owner had never replaced the pollen filter. Being a silly naive person, I had assumed that my dealer had examined it at the 15,000 mile service I had done recently and would have replaced it if required replacing. I was a bit off the mark in this expectation. You will find in your Insight owner's manual that this cabin air filter / pollen filter is supposed to be replaced if over 24 months old at the 15,000 mile service and subsequent services if it gets over 24 months. If you have a low mileage Insight, you may well find that your dealer misses this subtle requirement and doesn't replace your filter though it is overdue for it. In the case here, I barely turned over 14,600 when I had the 15,000 service done and it was way past the 24 month expiration date - but the dealer didn't replace the filter. I kind of let it slide, thinking that if a car isn't driven, then what can get stuck in the filter! It seemed like one item which would depend much more upon miles driven and hence hours of air flow vs. straight time in the garage. Duh! #0 was to make this assumption.
Oh! Clean air.
I had the impression that my air flow was perhaps showing itself to be a wee bit on the weak side, as it felt more like a gentle summer breeze than a hurricane. So, I posted this lament to InsightCentral.net while ranting about the fan speeds and lack of fan hp and right away some helpful member suggested this might be less on account of the fan and more on account of a clogged filter, so I ordered up a replacement from the folks at handa-accessories.com and set out to replace the old one. The gory details will have to come later when I do the proper photo documentation for the de-flowering of a virgin Insight, but in this case I found the clean air filter to be more of an 'air dirtying' filter which was taking my clean air and changing it to air that was tawdry and unclean. You can see from the following pics that it was indeed in a sad state:
Pollen Filter Top Corner
That only actual white stuff you see in the image is the sheet of white paper on which the filthy filter lies in repose. As you should be able to see, there was no shortage of dust on this part of the filter. In fact, most all of the pleating of the filter was like this, with a thick layer of grey dust tightly adhered it. There were also some bigger lumps of aggregated dust blobs, as well as quite a few seeds seeking free rides to a new home. A lot of this big stuff shook itself off as I removed the filter and knocked it around to get it to settle down for the photo shoot, but some things remained as in the next snapshot.
Pollen Filter Corner 2
The big items aren't so restrictive on air flow in small numbers, but I had quite a few of them, and it all adds up. More importantly, the heavy amount of dust over pretty much the entire filter made it clear that it was way overdue for a replacement and likely was blocking air flow considerably. The pudding was finally done and proved all of this when I fired up the fans with the new filter in place and discovered a marked difference in air flow from previously.
Do! For you?
The fact that you can't even inspect this without taking apart the center console makes it an item which most dealers likely would just as soon skip, and it makes it hard for you to keep tabs on it yourself, but given the messy state of this filter with less than 15,000 miles of driving, it seems like it's a good idea to force yourself or your service folks to inspect the filter at least annually.