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Subaru Outback Cabin Air Filter Replacement Guide
How to clean or change the A/C cabin air filter element in a 6th generation 2015 to 2018 Subaru Outback SUV.

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2017 Outback Glove Box
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Open Glove Box - Empty
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Damper Arm - Right Side
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the sixth generation (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and probably also the updated 2019 and 2020 model years) Subaru Outback wagon in cleaning or changing the A/C system's cabin air filter element located in the HVAC blower motor housing.

Owners of other Subaru vehicles such as the Forester, Impreza, Legacy, XV Crosstrek, WRX, BRZ, SVX, Tribeca, Exiga, Trezia, Levorg and Baja may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

A few compatible replacement cabin air filters with their part numbers are as follows: EPAuto CP285, K&N VF2000, PotAuto MAP 5001, Bosch 6055C, Purolator C35667, Premium Guard PC5667, Mikkuppa KT008, Luber-finer CAF1816C, Hastings AFC1334, Bosch P3898WS and Wix 24511.

No tools are needed to access, remove and replace the cabin air filter element.



 
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Pop Off Damper Arm
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Push In Side Walls
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Release Two Side Stops
The first two steps are to open the glove box and then empty out the contents (owner's manual, registration, insurance card, napkins, etc).

Then move to the right outside edge of the glove box and locate the damper arm.

Gently pull the damper arm off it's mounting peg.

Firmly push in the two side walls of the glove box to release the black plastic side stops from behind the dashboard.

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Lower Glove Box
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Plastic Hinges Separated
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Glove Box Detached
Allow the glove box to gently lower down to the floor mat.

The plastic hinges may separate. They can easily be re-assembled later on.

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Filter Access Cover
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Two Tabs - Right Side
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Gently Pinch Together Tabs
Once the glove box is out of the way, you'll be able to see the HVAC blower motor housing and the rectangular shaped black plastic cabin air filter access cover.

Gently squeeze together the two tabs on the left and then the right side of the filter cover to release the retaining clips.

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Squeeze Left Side Tabs
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Pull Off Filter Access Panel
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Old Filter Exposed
Gently pull the filter access panel off the HVAC blower motor housing and set it aside in a safe place.

Now you'll see the white outer edge of the old cabin air filter with the "UP" air flow indicator arrows.



 

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Slide Out Old Air Filter
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Old Filter Removed
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Inspect Both Sides
Slide the old cabin filter straight out of the slot.

Inspect both sides of the old filter.

If the old filter is dark grey or black and clogged with dirt, dust, leaves, insects, pollen, soot, hair, twigs and other debris, it should be replaced with a new element.

I recommend buying the EPAuto CP285 cabin air filter since it has excellent reviews on Amazon.

If the old filter is relatively clean, you can just tap out the large debris and remove any fine dust with a vacuum cleaner.

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Clean With Vacuum
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HVAC Blower Fan
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Slide In New Cabin Filter
If your vacuum cleaner has a crevice attachment and a detachable hose, carefully clean out any leaves or debris inside the filter slot and "squirrel cage" blower motor fan.

Orientate the new filter with the "UP" air flow direction arrows pointing up towards the windshield.

Slide the new filter straight into the slot in the HVAC blower motor housing.

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Line Up Filter Cover
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Push To Secure Clips
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Filter Cover Secured
Orientate the black plastic filter cover with the "UP" arrow pointing in the correct direction.

Gently push the filter cover straight on to the HVAC blower motor housing until it "clicks" securely into place.

Make sure that the retaining clips on both the left and right sides are secure before moving on to the next steps.

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Re-Attach Plastic Hinges
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Plastic Side Stoppers
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Push In Side Walls
Raise the glove box towards the dashboard.

Carefully line up the plastic hinges on the bottom edge of the glove box and re-attach them to the mounting bars on the bottom of the dashboard.

Swing the glove box up towards the dashboard.

Push in the two side walls of the glove box until the two side stoppers can be re-inserted behind the dashboard.

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Push On Damper Arm
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Damper Arm Secured
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Close Glove Box - Done!
Move to the outer right side of the glove box.

Gently snap the glove box damper arm back on to its mounting peg.

Replace the contents of the glove box and close it to complete the job.

Be sure to record the cabin air filter change in your vehicle's service records.

For more, please check out all of my 2015-2018 Subaru Outback DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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