How to Change a Subaru Outback Cabin Air Filter

by Jody L. Campbell

The procedure to replace the cabin air filter in the Subaru Outback has been simplified from the earlier models manufactured between 2000 and 2004. However, it is still not one of the easier brands of cars to replace the cabin air filter on. It is important to change the cabin air filter in order to optimize the quality of air inside the passenger cab of the vehicle. It will also allow the A/C and vented air to flow into the cab more freely. Replacing the filter every 15,000 miles or at least once a year is part of the regular maintenance schedule tasks listed in the maintenance interval schedule for the vehicle.

Open the glove box and remove all contents. Pull the dashboard panel off the right side of the glove box. Use the flat-head screwdriver to help pry the panel away from the dash if necessary.

Disconnect the stopper string on the right-hand side of the glove box. Release the pushpins holding the glove box hinge. Use the Phillips-head screwdriver to unscrew the center screw in the pins about 1/4 of an inch, and then pull the pins out by prying with the flat-head screwdriver.

Gently push in on each side of the glove box to unseat the upper glove box stops from the track grooves. Unseat one side at a time, and then allow the glove box to drop down.

Remove the three screws on the right side of the owner's manual shelf using a Phillips-head screwdriver. Slide the owner's manual shelf out of position and remove.

Pull out the three retaining screws holding the filter housing bracket, and then remove the bracket. Move the noise-dampening insulation away from the filter housing cover.

Push in on the four retaining clips on the front tray, then pull the cabin air filter tray out. Remove the old filter from the tray, taking note the air flow arrow indicator on the side of the old filter.

Insert the new filter into the tray, making sure it is seated and secure in the tray properly and that the air flow direction is correct according to the arrow indicator.

Reinsert the filter and tray assembly into the filter housing until all the clips snap into place. Replace the rest of the glove box assembly by reversing the removal procedure.


  • check In the earlier model Outbacks, there are a lot more screws, clips and wire harness connections that you must disassemble to access the dual filters. A good repair manual specific to your year and model Subaru will illustrate the exact procedure in order to perform the task correctly.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.