Is this an example of sloppy engineering thanks to Ford?
Earlier this week, I came across a video (linked here) from a mechanic showing how ridiculous it is to change a cabin air filter on a Jeep Compass.
It was ridiculous how many layers, steps, and different fasteners are involved just getting to the cabin air filter itself.
Cabin air filters should theoretically be easy to replace given how frequently you should change them (every 15,000-30,000 miles.)
If you’re a fan of Hondas and Toyotas you know how easy it is to change, the filter often just behind the glove compartment.
After watching that Compass video I scrolled to the comments and came across this.
I’m sorry. What? Are you saying I have to remove the gas pedal to change a cabin air filter on a Volvo?
After a quick search, it turns out this guy is 100 percent right.
Not only does this affect Volvo V50s, since the V50 shares a platform with the Volvo C30,S40, and C70, it’s the same first step for those Volvos from the mid-2000s, too.
They even spell it out in the shop manual.
And here’s a video showing how it’s done.
There are Volvo Forum members who claim it can be done without removing the gas pedal, but they note getting the air filter back in is twice as hard, and you have to mash the filter in to do it that way.
To be fair, if you’re a decent mechanic, this isn’t that hard to do correctly.
And, since modern cars are drive-by-wire, there isn’t a physical connection between the gas pedal and the car’s throttle body.
When you remove the pedal, as shown in this screenshot below, you’re really only removing a solenoid attached to the pedal.
But for an occasional DIY mechanic, or you’re the age of an actual Volvo owner (50 years old according to the latest surveys) replacing the cabin air filter might be a challenge.
I’m in my 30s, and I know it would behoove me to tackle this level of contortion after I’ve limbered up a bit.
I’d honestly probably strain something, attempting a DIY filter replacement like this first thing in the morning.
Then there’s the fact you have to mess with the gas pedal. OK, it’s as mentioned, drive-by-wire, but it’s daggum gas pedal!
If you own your Volvo for 150,000 miles and change the filter every 20,000 miles, you’d have to remove the gas pedal 7-8 times in the course of your ownership.
Gas pedals should be a no maintenance, never touch it for the life of your vehicle, things.
God forbid you over-torque and strip one of the screws, now you’re in a heap of a mess since your Volvo technically shouldn’t be driven until you sort the stripped screw out.
At least it won’t cost you an arm and a leg if you really c*** it up.
Thankfully, if your Volvo is left-hand drive, you don’t have to deal with this, but I read on a comment somewhere it’s equally difficult because now you have to move the ecu out of the way.
What a nightmare!
If you want to point your finger at someone to blame, blame Ford engineers.
Volvos with this cabin air filter replacement procedure were built on the Ford Global C-Car platform, so it makes sense that this asinine first step is the same on these models below.
It’s like Ford engineers first made the cabin air filter, and then engineered the car around it.
Do you know a car with an as crazy a first (or second or third, etc.) step?
Let me know in the comments below.