2007 Honda Accord, blow instead of vacuum when changing air filter

Like a good boy scout, last week I changed the engine air and cabin filters in my 59K-mile 2007 Honda Accord.

Taking out the air filter, I saw the usual insects and dust in the housing and got out the shopvac to suck them out. But the hose was on the wrong port, and I ended up blowing the insects and dust everywhere. Augghhh! Into the intake manifold for sure, I’d bet. I connected the hose right, put it to the air intake, and prayed I was vacuuming all the dust I’d just blown in.

The next day, on the way to college, the car ran perfectly the first three miles. Then, a half mile from campus, the check engine light came on and the car began running badly. RPMs wouldn’t increase even if the gas pedal was pressed. The speed couldn’t be made to go above about 20 mph. The transmission, ordinarily smooth as silk, now clunked. Fortunately, I was able to reach the college parking lot. I parked the car and went to class, hoping the car would fix itself while I was gone.

Apparently it did. After the three hours I was in classes, the car started up just fine, and it drove home just fine. Except that the check engine light was still on.

At home, I used my OBD2 checker (bought five years ago but never until now even taken out of its packaging; love my Accord), saw a fault of P2101, and erased it. That made the check engine light go out. P2101 has to do with air/fuel, so it must be related to the air filter fiasco of yesterday.

By the way, there’s a rattle from the glove compartment (which is lowered to replace the cabin filter). When the compartment door is open, the rattle goes away. Will troubleshoot this later. Am more concerned with being certain the check engine light doesn’t come back. I don’t want to go into limp mode on the highway, hours from home.

Two days later, I took advantage of a Sunday afternoon to try to blow/clean out the injectors and intake manifold. I put in a bottle of Techron and drove the car 45 miles, mostly on a nearby semi-rural highway. It has a 70 mph speed limit but at times traffic was doing 80. (Texas.) The car ran perfectly, both highway and city.

A shade tree mechanic neighbor says I should take the car to a mechanic and have him properly clean everything out. “Hundred to a hundred fifty bucks.”

Is that what I should do, or is the car now “fixed?” Am I being cheap, or am I being sensible?

P2101 is for a problem with the throttle valve (butterfly):

Probably a bit of debris interfering with its movement.
Throttle body needs to be cleaned.
This is a DIY job of medium difficulty.

Steve_K…you are doing the sensible thing. If the problem comes back…take it in and have it checked with a good independent mechanic. I’ve cleared up hundreds of CEL’s and erased them and have only had a couple that ever came back. You created a simple problem and now you’ve taken care of it. Pats on the back for you. BTW…a big +1 for circuitsmith.

+1 to circuitsmith’s post.

My guess is that the bugs might have also gotten cremated on the hot surface of the Mass Airflow (MAF) sensor. MAF sensor’s don’t like that. If cleaning the throttle body assembly doesn’t totally cure the problem, you might want to keep the MAF in mind.

To close the loop, it’s now three weeks later. The car was driven 263 miles before a refill of the tank (yes, I don’t drive much, or far), and it performed just as before, ie, perfectly. Never a burp, never a flicker of the check engine light, normal gas mileage.

The glove box rattle was soon fixed, by the way. A thin bar on the right side hadn’t been connected; once it was, the rattle was gone.

So all’s well that ends well. I’m still going to replace my air filter next time it needs it. Just more carefully.

Sincere thanks for the followup post. We often never hear the ending, and it’s gratifying to know this ended well.

Happy motoring,
TSM :smile: