As part of my 2 year/20,000 mile service I was performing on my DB9 it was required to replace the cabin air/pollen filters. I instinctively ordered a set of factory replacement filters, but stumbled across a forum post that suggested that the air filters in our beloved DB9 weren’t bespoke items, and were actually filters designed for a Mazda RX-8 and MPV minivan!
Ok, this might make some sense, why would it need to be custom? Ford (who owned Aston Martin at the time the DB9 was designed) has an ongoing relationship with Mazda on other models, so it’s not inconceivable that they dipped into the Mazda parts bin for this. We have Volvo and Jaguar parts on the car too, so why not Mazda? It wouldn’t surprise me if the entire blower assembly was from the Mazda (I am pretty damn sure after finding this Maxda RX-8 YouTube video on changing there cabin filters that the air handler in this video looks exactly like the one in our DB9).
The same forum post that got me onto this also pointed out that there might be an upgraded filter we could order. An aftermarket parts supplier is making the Mazda filters upgraded to include an Activated Carbon layer to remove odors from the cabin air as well. Many higher end modern cars now have this standard. Seems like a nice upgrade over the simple woven fabric filters that Aston Martin supplies.
So, I ordered a set of ATP Automotive Carbon Activated Premium Cabin Filter Part Number RA-16 from Amazon.com for a mere $18 USD! I had also ordered a set of factory replacement Aston Martin cabin filters (Aston Martin Part Number 4G43-13ZE1-AA-PK) for $59 online here.
I was skeptical at first (as you probably are now), and was sure that the more expensive Aston Martin supplied parts would have some clear superiority once I had both sets in hand. I was wrong.
The Aston Martin filters just come in a clear bag, and have absolutely NO Aston Martin parts number markings on them. I looked really, really carefully around all the plastic edges, nothing that identified it as a bespoke Aston Martin part.
I then set about comparing the dimensions of the Aston Martin and ATP aftermarket parts. I used a vernier caliper, and they are EXACTLY the same. Same sealing foam on the ends. Same, same, same.
What was clear was that the ATP aftermarket filter looked like it would be vastly better at filtering the cabin air. Of course it had the activated carbon layer, but even the filtering fabric layers looked like a tighter weave and could do a better job filtering out the dust and pollen.
So, I am a believer now. I am convinced the Aston Martin supplied parts are merely repackaged ‘Made for Mazda’ parts, and we are just being gouged buying them from a dealership.
I know it might be heresy to even think of using a non-Aston Martin approved part in a DB9, but this is a cabin air filter, not a critical Engine Oil filter. The worst case scenario would be that it lets more dust through (even though it won’t). You won’t destroy your car with an aftermarket cabin air filter (but you could with an incorrect Engine Oil filter).
So, the decision is yours, but I would recommend that you upgrade to the ATP Automotive filter for better air quality and pocket the $43 in savings.
BTW – if anyone wants to buy a new set of Aston Martin supplied cabin air filters for $59 plus shipping, I have an unused set for sale :>)
Check out my quick video below where I will show you the filters side by side.