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05-07 Ford Focus air filter box funny

  • 12-28-2012 | 06:33 PM
  • Rangerscott
  • Sucks if you drive one. Got this in my rockauto email.

    I enjoy looking under the hood of a new car and puzzling over which systems or parts might cause trouble down the road. Aftermarket part manufacturers often provide the solution to the puzzle after a few years when they release new parts designed to fix the problems. Dorman’s part number 258519, an air filter housing for the 2005 to 2007 Ford Focus, recently caught my attention. It demonstrates how tough it is to make predictions. Back in 2005, I could have stared under the hood of a new Ford Focus for a long time and would never have thought to look at the air filter housing. After all, the air filter housing on my ’86 Ford is still a fully functional plastic box after 26 years of use.

    Dorman decided it would be a good idea to offer a new air filter housing for the ’05 to ’07 Ford Focus because the original air filter housing is a completely sealed unit. It is impossible to simply open the box and change the air filter. Why Ford chose to do it this way is a bit of a mystery. I asked at a Ford dealer’s service department and they presented it as a benefit: “You never have to change the air filter on that car.”

    Searching through Ford Focus enthusiast forums, one explanation I saw was that Ford wanted the Focus to be classified as a partial zero emissions vehicle (PZEV) in California. Those rules required the car’s air intake system should never require maintenance. “Never requires maintenance” was equated with “make maintenance impossible.” That sounds crazy enough to possibly be true! Luckily no government organization specified that a PZEV never needs gasoline or Focus owners might have discovered their gas caps were welded shut!

    Further questioning at the Ford dealer uncovered there is an indicator on the Ford Focus original air filter housing that indicates when the filter is clogged. The dealer sells a complete replacement air filter housing for $525.42. Frequently driving down dusty dirt roads in an ’06 Ford Focus could be costly!

    The replacement Dorman 258519 air filter housing currently is $120 at RockAuto, but that is a one-time expense. The next time the engine air filter needs to be changed, the ’05-’07 Focus owner can just insert a new filter by Auto Extra (61946107), Fram (CA7098) or WIX (46107) and save more than $500!

    I will keep futilely puzzling under the hoods of new cars, but this Focus example might show if you plan on keeping any brand car for a long time, then pick a popular model (like a Focus) or at least a popular engine. If enough of the cars are still on the road, then the aftermarket parts makers will probably develop affordable solutions for most problems.

    Tom Taylor, RockAuto.com
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