Air Filter change

agathafagathaf Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Mazda
The air filter on my 1988 RX7 purchased at 72K miles was not recommended to be changed by the Dealer that serviced it from 78K through the last service at 108K miles. At 108K they did a scheduled maintenance and "looked at the air filter" and determined it was OK.
The second dealer in town had the car at 106k, 110k and finally 113k for four different repairs including 2 oil changes and they did not even look at the air filter they claim it is not routinely checked with oil changes only with scheduled maintenance. The result is that at 126K the air filter melted down and both dealers say they are not responsible for not recommending the filter be changed! The car is now totaled as the repair of the air filter system is projected at 1800 with no guarantee that the engine has not suffered irreparable damaged. I am angry that a minor repair/replacement cost of $25-30 could be overlooked causing $3,00+ repairs leaving the expensive alternative of purchasing another car.

Does this sound like negligence to anyone else? Has anyone experienced this with their dealer?


  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    I find your dilemma very puzzling. $1800 for an air filtration system repair seems very high, and especially with "no guarantees that..." as a provision of repair. What do you mean by melt down? I suspect you need one or more extra estimates of what needs to be done. You might want to try an independent shop for advice. Maybe a far less expensive after-market filter unit could be installed. I would think it would be worth pursuing. I seldom let an air filter go beyond 10K miles on any of my vehicles, and do not consider just inspecting them after that mileage. They get changed. It would be a good rule for you to follow in the future. Good luck!
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I have never let an air filter go past the time the micro-dirt went past the inside of the pleats and got any shade of grey half-past more than two pleats. that is overkill. I don't care. one-quarter teaspoon of dirt will hopelessly kill an engine. filters are real darned cheap and non-polluting, so warranty-be-darned.

    by mileage, none have EVER gone beyond 12,000, and that's on the recent square-style... the old GMs and Mopars with a circular filter on the carb, a big hole pointing forward off the air cleaner assembly, never went past 5000 on any car I owned.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    I routinely change them at 15K, even if they look pristine. I thought routine change interval for all cars was at least every 30K? I had not heard that for some a mere "inspection" is recommended. Why inspect an air filter with that many miles on it? For $15, replace it!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    but the Fram site says it's a square pleated filter on the '88 RX-7 (turbo is what I looked up, as that would be the most demanding spec.)

    so, yeah, I can't understand why everybody had "check filter" on their minds when "screw it, guys, put a new one in because I have the checkbook" would have been my response.
  • tblazer503tblazer503 Member Posts: 620
    Perhaps you shouldn't go back there...
    I changed my air filter to K&N @ 5k miles, (kept the old filter still looked decent) and at 10k cleaned and oiled it again(used the old one for a day to do it right) you wouldn't believe the crud that I washed off...
    For normal air filters, last I heard was about 15k-22.5k something like that... Always follow the owners manual for MINIMUM maintenance. If you want to do it sooner, fine, but follow the owners manual for min's.
    BTW, what happened between 113k and 126k? Did you do your own oil changes? If so, did you check your air filter? It "may" have looked fine at 113k but by 126k may have just deteriorated...
  • spokanespokane Member Posts: 514
    I agree that the filter should be replaced regularly but I am not sure that is the issue here. Apparently, much of the filter housing and ductwork has been ruined by excessive heat. Such heat would seem to be the result of fire - and fire is most likely associated with a backfire condition or excessive oil on the melted components - in combination with contact of a hot component such as the exhaust system. Lacking further information from agathaf, I don't see that this is a question of air filter longevity or contamination.
  • opera_house_wkopera_house_wk Member Posts: 326
    It's costing you money and someone ought to be to blame! If it caught fire you had something really wrong with the engine and I doubt that the fire started in the air cleaner. You probably had a fuel leak and an ignition wire or exhaust leak ignited it. Sometimes things just happen.
  • bburton1bburton1 Member Posts: 395
    On old carb engines, a backfire thru the carb could cause a significant fire. Remember putting one out on the underside of an old car's hood with a blanket-guy had his air cleaner off and when it backfired-blew raw gas on to the underside of the hood. Didn't know FI cars could do this-but anything is possible.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    but remember backfires generally require a timing issue to provide ignition... or a gimpy valve... or the car has been almost flooded with gas.

    a tubload of gas in the crankcase from flooding the engine or bad rings could also provide gas fumes into the manifold for a backfire, courtesy of the PVC valve, couldn't it?

    regardless, a clean filter being mashed by a backfire shouldn't dump a ton of dirt into the engine to grind it to bits. there might be some paper slop if it's really a window-breaker of a bang, but there would be very obvious debris in the intake and that should indicate that another issue is at fault here, not that air can't pass the filter cleanly.
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