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sadiesayit's avatar

Any car experts that can help me figure this out? -- What is this thing that broke in my car?

Asked by sadiesayit (1650points) June 16th, 2021

(Car: Mini Cooper S, 2009)

I was replacing my cabin air filter and something extra fell out with the old filter. It seems like a valve of some sort, black with a green rubber edging.

I found a cabin air filter replacement video with an angle that shows the part: YouTube Video.

In the video, it becomes visible at the 0:35 mark when the old filter is pulled out, and again at the 0:54 mark right before the new filter is put in. It’s the part with the pale green outline.

In the video it looks like it’s closed on one opening. Directly “below” its position in the video is another opening of the same shape. It seems like it swings between these two openings, maybe to close one when the other is open? I’m not sure.

The valve has two plastic prongs that act as hinges (they sit inside circular holes at the top of the filter housing); one of the plastic prongs on mine is apparently broken, so it doesn’t stay in place.

I’m working out a way to replicate the prong on one side to hopefully get it working, but I’m wondering—

What is this part called, if it has its own name?

What is its function for the car?

How critical is its function?

Thanks!

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3 Answers

snowberry's avatar

Just a thought…If nobody here can adequately name your part, could you take the part to a BMW dealer and ask a mechanic what the part is? They might be able to tell you right away.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I looked at the video and can’t be sure I see the part you are describing. But it sounds like it could be a cabin air intake bypass that opens and allows air to flow through your system when the filter is really plugged.
If your filter was completely blocked that bypass would allow unfiltered air to flow into your HVAC system duct – like it did for decades – and keep the fan motor from overheating while keeping you in comfort if not pollen free.

If that is what it is I wouldn’t sweat it.

sadiesayit's avatar

@snowberry I could, thanks

@LuckyGuy Also thanks. I wasn’t sure how to best describe/identify the part; I appreciate your educated guess even though it’s not entirely clear what the part is. Sounds like it’s probably not critical, but nice to have in the long run

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