Changing Lexus air filter

I have a 1996 Lexus RX 400H. I always take it to the dealer for repairs, service, etc. but the last trip they wanted to charge me $70 to replace the engine air filter, which I can buy online for $20. I want to do it myself, but am a little intimidated by the plastic cover over the engine. I don’t want to break it, and it seems like it must be easy to remove, but I am not sure how. Can anyone tell me how easy it is, and how fragile this part is?

I probably could, if I knew the model and engine size. But my repair info doesn’t list any type of RH. Is it an ES, GS, LS, or SC?

(Note: I’ll be gone in an hour or so.)

Sorry. I meant 2006. It is the hybrid SUV. Some people have trouble with dates, I have problems with centuries.

Engine bay

My info shows a list price of about 20, and minimal labor that I would expect to run not more than 20, so it sounds like their price is indeed high. Unfortunately I don’t get any diagrams or instructions. But the implication is that it’s fairly easy. Have you checked the owner’s manual for any guidance?

Usually those plastic covers are held on with obvious fasteners and/or springy push clips (underneath where you can’t see them). If you can’t see any type of screw or bolt or external clip, try lifting it at different places and see if it pops loose. One end might have a tab that goes into a slot rather than a push clip. I don’t know how to describe how much force is safe to apply, other than the standard use enough to break it, then back off and use just 90% of that. :smiley:

I’ve got the same vehicle. It takes 10 seconds to pull back the 4 clips that hold the filter in place. The filter comes right out. Slip the new one in and snap the clips back. Total time, less than 30 seconds. Chance of breaking anything or doing it incorrectly, just about nil.

Same is true of the interior cabin filter that is behind the glove box. You may find that it gets dirtier than the engine filter.

I’ve heard that Lexus isn’t too keen on dealers that take advantage of their customers. You may want to send a letter to them asking why the dealer would charge so much for such a simple procedure.

Good luck. Give an extra $20 of the money you just saved to an honorable charity.

Looks like the air filter is more or less clear of the “make it look pretty” covering and is in the usual “lunchbox” type air filter box, where you unsnap latches in the corners and the thing comes apart in two halves.

Doesn’t the owner’s manual describe how to do normal maintenance, or does Lexus assume their buyers won’t have the inclination to do it themselves?

Plan B: I believe this vehicle is very similar to the Toyota Highlander, so maintenance at a Toyota dealer may be cheaper.

I don’t get it. Why are you changing an air filter on a 1 year old car? :confused:
Check your manual it probably is not due until either 30 or 60,000 miles. Assuming you do an average amount of driving, you probably have what 10,000 miles on your car? If this is so save your money, changing your air filter will not improve anything.*

If you are bound and determined to spend this money anyway, looking at the picture Lieu linked, the air filter is in the ribbed box in the center of the engine compartment. The air filter would appear to be a rectangle. to remove it it looks like you will have to remove the air intake from the core support (the front part above the radiator) and possibly also at the airbox in the rear. Then it appears you will have to separate the front and rear parts of the airbox. Look for either spring clips or possibly screws.
When reassembling, it is very important that the filter fit properly and the box haves go back in the correct place. If you leave gaps you might wind up with an engine that is getting dirty air, and this is considered not good at mechanics school. If the box does not want to fit back together, something is mis-aligned. Start over. Many times air filters look really easy to change, but if you don’t know the secret password, can be a stone bitch.

If the dealer really did recommend an air filter at a very reduced mileage you might call them up and ask why Lexus says it can go to (whatever mileage Lexus says). Unless the service adviser has damn good reason ( a rat climbed in there and ate part of the old one) I would suggest you drop a dime on Lexus’ customer service line and ask them why one of their dealers is acting like a jiffy lube and trying to sell you shit you don’t need.
I would also look for a different dealer to do my servicing.

*Exception to this rule, if you live in a super dusty area like the desert.

I drive alot. 35,000 is more like it. Also, the picture of the engine bay, unfortunately, already has the big plastic cover removed, so the thing is figuring out how to get that cover off.

OK fine, when does Lexus say to replace it? (look in your owner’s manual)
I would guess not before 60K

ETA: Which big plastic cover? I can see 3 in the picture Lieu linked plus the box in the center.

It recommends 30K, which seems a little early, but that is the recommedation. Also, there is a big plastic sheet that covers the entire engine compartment. Underneath that are the three that are visible in the picture. The large, all encompasing one has evidently been removed for the photo.

ah, the light comes on.
Got it.

You’re over complicating things.

First, the 2006 RX400h first came out around May of 2005. I’ve got almost 35,000 miles on mine (with no trouble whatsoever).

Now, go back to my earlier post. The air filter is in that black box area to the left. That horizontal line is where it splits apart to get at the filter. There are four very visible spring clips that undo in seconds. The new filter fits in easily and the clips will snap back easily. The filter has an arrow printed on it that says “up”. I guess that’s the tough part to figure out and is the reason that the dealer has to charge $70 to have his highly skilled mechanic figure out. No hoses need to be removed, no plastic engine covers need to be removed and you need absolutely no tools to perform the procedure.

Now, go down to Staples and spend $5 on an “Easy” button.

What is the point of this trend to hide engines?

Do the Illuminati have an auto repair cabal that wants to make it hard for do-it-yourselfers?

Do they want to annoy mechanics and run up repair bills? Seriously - work out the time to remove and replace the covers in with the shop’s hourly rate and however many cars they work on in a day, and there’s a crapload of money being wasted.

Are the automakers not so subtly telling their customers that they’re not worthy of looking at the engine?

Other than oil changes, filters and fluid levels there’s not much to work on unless a car gets abused or wrecked. Spark plugs now last 100,000 miles. There are no points or condensers to change. The computer modifies the timing. With fuel injection there is no need to adjust the carburetor or the choke. With better tolerances and lubrication you don’t need to grind the valves or replace piston rings (thank God).

Might as well cover things up, make them look pretty and reduce engine noise. If you want to increase performance you replace a computer chip. Screwing with the emissions systems will only screw up the engine. What is it you want to do? Cars are much better today. If that’s some kind of conspiracy I want to be part of it.

Buy a high end bicycle and prove you manhood by rebuilding and improving it continually.

Customers don’t want to see the mechanical stuff. While you might want to look at your engine, the vast majority of customers don’t want to see the engine when the open the hood.
I got a real lesson in this in 1992-3 when I worked at a couple of auto shows. People would look under the hood a 960 (with some covers) and say it looked nice. They would then walk over to a 240 or a 940 (no covers) and give a eewww it’s messy response. :rolleyes: