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First of all let's note how Honda (where I bought the car) said they changed all the filters...and they clearly didn't.

But second to that I go to change my air filter today and it looks like the fresh air side of the intake (pre-filter side) is full of batting or insulation of some kind (see picture).

Is this some kind of filtering medium or am I an idiot and there is clearly a mouse in the air box?

Craig.

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No you are not an idiot. And no that isn't a filtering medium in the box. Honda sure didn't change that filter. Time for some rodent intervention. Bag of mothballs or dryer sheets in the engine bay.
 

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It's possible they did change the filters, but with mice in there it wouldn't take long to look like that. {You didn't tell us how long ago they were changed}.

You definitely have mice!!
 

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From what I can see in the picture the batting is to the rear of the filter housing. In any case to the front of the housing is where the actual filter sits. To the rear is the charcoal filter which I do not see in your picture. No matter what... all is not right in the filter box.
 

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No you are not an idiot. And no that isn't a filtering medium in the box. Honda sure didn't change that filter. Time for some rodent intervention. Bag of mothballs or dryer sheets in the engine bay.

Go with dryer sheets and put peppermint oil on a few of them.
 

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From what I can see in the picture the batting is to the rear of the filter housing. In any case to the front of the housing is where the actual filter sits. To the rear is the charcoal filter which I do not see in your picture. No matter what... all is not right in the filter box.
Actually the batting is in the front...you can see the engine on the left. That's why you can't see the charcoal filter. The picture was taken from an unexpected angle.

...and peppermint oil smells much better than moth balls.
 

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Curious how many miles are on your crosstrek. I would be guessing over 20k-25k by the looks of the engine filter.
 

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Do you park inside a garage? If so, get a Victor electronic rat trap (4C batteries in mine), throw some sunflower seeds in the back of it, and leave it armed permanently. Used it for rats in the BBQ (before installing a mesh screen on the back of my grill) and now leave it in the garage. This all started when we went away for a week and found a nest on the filter in my truck years ago. Tried catching them with other traps. Those pesky mice were stealing bait off the mouse traps and leaving paw prints in the sticky tape traps! But they always get caught with the electronic trap (and disposal is easy: Flip switch to turn off, tip the trap outside or over the garbage can, throw more seeds in the back, set it down, and flip the switch to turn it on. Walk away until next time.). I’ve caught a half dozen field mice in the garage since then (4 this last spring).
 

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I glued in 2 rodent bait stations under my hood and put mothballs above the thermal pad under the hood. I'm hoping that's enough. The guy who detailed my car said that thermal pad showed signs of mice living there. But my car almost never sits more than a day at a time.
 

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You're lucky the mice only stuffed your airbox with insulation. But you may want to check over any exposed wiring under the hood. My brother had rodents chew up the wiring in his Toyota Tundra. It cost over $4000 to replace the entire engine bay wiring harness and to also have the entire harness wrapped with capsaicin-laced tape so that they wouldn't attack it again. From what I've read, that may not stop them anyway. The auto manufacturers unfortunately use a soy-based rubber and plastic for their wire coverings and insulation and the rodents love the stuff. Squirrels are particularly damaging. They also like to sharpen their teeth on the copper wire once they get through the insulation snack, so they get a double benefit from eating car wire harnesses and you get a huge headache.
 

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I used some fish-flavored :mouse-ball poison scattered in the garage after finding a mouse nest in my Tundra's airbox last fall, they never came back.
 
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