How do you change the air filter on a 2004 Honda Accord?

Okay, I'm a professional classical guitarist, not a mechanic, but I've seen several questions about changing the air filter in the 4-banger 2003-2006 Honda Accord. These model years are all the same save minor cosmetics (The 6-banger requires an additional step, separation of the connecting hose). Folks read in the manual to loosen 4 screws, lift air filter cover and replace old filter with new one. Looks easy in the picture. It ain't. The problem is, the lid is difficult to lift due to an obstruction--a black plastic lip on the driver side fender. So they give up and post about it on the internet.

Yeah, you could remove the plastic fender lip and the cover would lift like nuttin'. But don't do that. After an unsuccessful attempt at muscling the cover off my 2003 Accord EX Coupe I decided I to reduce friction at the fender lip. First I cleaned the filter cover and lubricated the underside of the fender lip (the plastic part) and the nearest top edge of the air filter lid. I used silicone lubricant. I loosened the 4 screws and lifted the lid upwards while pushing it towards the top of the engine. Pop! Pop! And it was free. Way easier! I pulled out the dirty filter, wiped the inside of the box, inserted the new filter, pushed the lid shut and tightened down the screws. Closing the lid is much easier than opening it.

Did I mention this is a crap design? It couldn't have been too hard to afford a little more lid clearance.

I just replaced the engine air filter on my 2004 Accord LX and have the following to share and add to the above comment: In general, it is a DIY project that with the right tools and a little finesse anyone with beginner skills can accomplish. There are 4 Phillips hex head screws holding the air filter cover in place that are indeed as tight as they could be...I would suggest not using a screwdriver to undo them as they are hard to reach in places and it is difficult to get the necessary leverage...instead use a 5/16 socket wrench with an 8-10 inch extension or a 10 in screwdriver with 5/16 attachment...otherwise you run the risk of stripping the screw cap threads. Once the screws are loose (no need to remove them) you will want to grab the top half of the filter housing on the driver's side and with both hands push fairly hard toward the engine while slightly putting upward pressure to expose about 2-3 inches of the filter. By pushing the filter cover in this way you will not hit the plastic lip obstruction as noted above, however please also note that the filter cover will not be completely off at this point but just enough to reach in and remove the air filter manually by pulling it out firmly yet gently...once you do this the rest of the filter cover will come off easily as the filter in place is keeping the cover snug in its position. Replace the filter and then align the filter cover with the four screw holes and tighten in place...it is easier to put the cover on after replacement but you will need to push with some force to get it realigned with the screw holes. Don't be afraid to push and pull on the filter cover as necessary to remove and replace it as it is plastic but do be mindful that there are other connections around and on the cover itself so you will want to check to ensure that these are all intact and secure once you are done.

There are now several online video sources (youtube) on this topic that provide excellent tutorials on how to remove the filter cover and replace the filter. With a little time and muscle you can save a bundle on what your dealer or local mechanic would charge for this.