How to Replace an Air Cleaner Element in a Honda Civic


Premiering in 1973, the Honda Civic has been a long-lived staple in the Honda Motors Corporation. Throughout its tenure, it has endured eight different generational redesigns featuring six different engines. While the Civic has always used an engine air-cleaner element (more commonly referred to as an air filter), the newer versions also feature a cabin air filter. While the engine air filter cleans the air going to the engine, the cabin air filter cleans the air coming into the passenger cab of the vehicle.

Things You'll Need

  • Ratchet, extension and 8-mm socket
  • Replacement air filter
  • Replacement cabin air filter
  • Maintenance schedule

The Engine Air Filter

  • Open the hood to the Honda Civic and locate the air filter element box. Depending on the year and size engine, the placement of the box may vary. Commonly it's on the passenger side, toward the front, behind the passenger headlight assembly.

  • Remove the air box cover retaining screws using a ratchet, extension and an 8-mm socket. The retaining screws will remain seated in the cover, but need to be unthreaded from the air box base.

  • Remove the air box cover.

  • Remove the old filter from the top of the air box base.

  • Install the new engine air filter into the air-box base and then replace the air-box cover.

  • Align the air-box cover retaining screws, and then push them down slightly by hand before tightening then. Do not over-tighten the screws or you may have trouble undoing them on future maintenance-scheduled air-filter replacements (which might require you to replace the air box assembly).

The Cabin Air Filter

  • Remove all items from the glove box.

  • Press in on each side flap of the glove box to unseat it from its upper hinge retainers, and then allow the glove box to gently drop open toward the floorboard of the Civic. The lower glove-box retainer will still hold the box in place from the bottom.

  • Locate the cabin air-filter cover/tray now revealed behind the unseated glove box. Press inward on the small plastic retaining clips on each end of the cover, and then gently pull the tray from the cabin air-filter housing.

  • Remove the old filter. Insert the new filter making sure to align the arrow on the side of the filter with the arrow marked on the cover/tray assembly. This is for properly installing the air-flow directional filter.

  • Slide the cover/tray assembly back into the cabin air-filter housing, and gently push in on each end until the retaining tabs snap back into place. Swing the glove box upward, squeeze the sides again, and then align the upper retaining hinges into their respective seats.

Tips & Warnings

  • Refer to the maintenance schedule manual or the owner's manual of the Honda Civic to determine the recommended intervals for changing both the engine air filter and the cabin air filter (if applicable).

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