The air cleaner case is prone to cracking. This can make it difficult to remove the screws securing the cover, making it difficult to replace the air filter. Replacing the case is often necessary to address this issue.Google+
Car Problem Reports
Honda Civic The Air Cleaner Housing May Crack
Honda Civic Problem
Engine Affected: 1.7L 4 Cylinder
Average Mileage: 103,742 mi (55,000 mi - 160,000 mi)
Visitor, 2001 Honda Civic, 1.7L 4 Cylinder, 143,000 mi
Cannot change my air filter due to the screws being to right. I believe some of them are stripped and one also caused a crack in the plastic air filter box. I used an 8mm to loosen it rather than the Phillips screwdriver, but it just keeps spinning.
Visitor, 2001 Honda Civic, 1.7L 4 Cylinder, 160,000 mi
Plastic has cracked on lower portion of air filter housing making it impossible to remove the filter.
Visitor, 2001 Honda Civic, 1.7L 4 Cylinder
Have yet to determine whether to replace entire housing with OEM, or an aftermarket solution.
Visitor, 2002 Honda Civic, 1.7L 4 Cylinder, 57,000 mi
Engine air filter housing screws should only be hand-tightened with a screwdriver (gently but securely), because the housing is plastic and prone to breakage if you over-tighten the screws by hand or with a socket wrench. At tire replacement shops and some repair shops, mechanics will get over-enthusiastic when replacing the engine air filter cover, and the housing around the screw will break.
The housing around only one screw on my 2002 Civic LX has been broken this way. With all the others in place and intact, it still is securely attached and does not yet need replacing. But owners and those making repairs should be made aware of this issue so that they take care when replacing the engine air filter.
To avoid this problem, make sure the screws are properly lubricated and only hand-tighten them using a screwdriver. Periodically (appx every 10,000 miles), remove/loosen screws, add more lubricant, and re-tighten by hand with a screwdriver. This will ensure that they remain properly tightened, rust-free, and mobile -- it will keep them from rusting into place (which may cause the plastic housing to break when you try to forcefully remove them) and will make the housing cover easy to remove when the time comes to replace the engine air filter.
Visitor, 2001 Honda Civic, 1.7L 4 Cylinder, 75,700 mi
The air cleaner housing was cracked, but I could still replace the air filter. Never got a new housing until I needed the throttle body cleaned.
Visitor, 2001 Honda Civic, 1.7L 4 Cylinder, 55,000 mi
Could not remove air cleaner cover. Case and cover had to be replaced.
Visitor, 2001 Honda Civic, 1.7L 4 Cylinder, 130,000 mi
Air cleaner housing cracked where bolts tighten down so the air filter can not be removed