Replace your own cabin air filter
Yesterday, I took my Saturn Astra in for an oil change at my favorite "complete auto care" shop. Because the Astra has high mileage, I went ahead and paid for the more thorough inspection. The inspection revealed two things that I will need to take care of. The first is an oil leak, which I already knew about, but it is a relatively small leak--small enough, in fact, that it never leaves an oil drip on the ground under it unless the car sits for several days to a week. When it's used regularly, no drips hit the garage floor over night or anything like that. And it doesn't smell like burning oil when driving it. Nevertheless, I need to check it to make sure it's not a main seal or something. It shouldn't be the oil cooler/filter housing, since I just replaced those seals not too long ago.
The second thing they listed was at once surprising and not surprising. I was told that, "based on the car's mileage," I needed a new cabin air filter. "Based on the car's mileage" means that they did not actually remove the cabin air filter to visually inspect it. Honestly, I get that. Those live behind the glove box, and techs don't want to disturb any of the personal items that may be in a person's glove box if they don't have to. Also, on some cars (like mine, as I will note again below), it's a bit of a steppy process even to get to the filter. But the real shocker to me was the price they quoted me for replacing said cabin air filter. Check this out...
Uh... no. I will do that myself, but thanks for asking.
First off, you can buy a quality cabin air filter at an auto parts store for half the price quoted here, or you can find a good one on Amazon for even less (the one I bought was $11--that's $58 cheaper than the one they wanted to sell me). Second, replacing these filters is relatively easy. Now, I say "relatively" because, to be sure, there are some automobiles out there that, because of the way they are designed/engineered, easy jobs like this one are a bit more difficult. That being said, if you're willing to remove a few fasteners and keep track of where they came from and where they go back, the job is really not that difficult.
On our 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe, replacing the cabin air filter is easy and takes only a few minutes to complete.
My 2008 Saturn Astra, as I mentioned above, is one of those cars that is designed/engineered such that it complicates the job a bit and takes a little longer to complete, but it's still not terribly difficult.
As you can see, it's a bit more complex on my Astra, but I was able to get the job done in about 15 minutes, and by doing it myself, I saved at least $60.