HowTune

Replace The Cabin Filter on a 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STI

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I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that the filter on the left was the factory original, and this is what they look like after ten years and 112K miles. Replacing it took all of 15 minutes, and no special tools or skills whatsoever. So if you're like me and you haven't replaced your cabin filter, now might be a good time...

  • Must Have: Phillips head screwdriver (long)
  • Optional: Phillips head screwdriver (shorty)
  • Optional: Flat head screwdriver (very small / micro)
  • Optional: Small pillow, box, or similar object to prop up the glove box
  • Optional: Tray to hold the screws
  • Optional: Portable power drill with Phillips head bit (to speed things up a bit)

So Let's Get To It

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Here's the tool set I used, plus a pillow.

Image 6438 from Replace the Cabin Filter on a 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
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We're going to remove the glove box, which will give us access to the air filter housing. So maybe the first step is to empty out the glove box of all the CDs, registration and insurance documents, and whatever other goodies you might have stowed in there.

There are a total of 9 identical screws and 1 pop fastener holding it on.

7 screws on top:

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And 2 more underneath the glove box:

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The last one off is the plastic pop fastener on the side. This is where a shorty screwdriver comes in handy, since the passenger door limits the access space. If you don't have a shorty, you can probably angle a regular screwdriver enough to do the job - the plastic fastener isn't torqued down much and doesn't take many turns to come loose.

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The glove box assembly will stay in place, even with all the fasteners removed. Before pulling it out, place a pillow, small box, or similar object underneath the glove box to support it after you pull it out. The glove box is tethered by the wires for the light - the pillow keeps it from getting yanked out.

With the pillow in place, grab the glove box assembly on both sides and pull back - it comes right out.

Image 6430 from Replace the Cabin Filter on a 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
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The glove box wires are in the way of the filter housing, so we'll need to disconnect them. Use a small flat head screwdriver or similar tool, press the tab in on the top side and slide the connector back.

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You'll see another wire that crosses over the filter housing for the blower fan. The filter can be swapped with it in place, or you may decide to disconnect the wires at the blower. I just left them in place.

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To access the filter, remove the plastic access panel by popping the front tabs forward.

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With the access panel removed, gently pull the blower motor wires to one side and remove the old filter.
Be sure to orient the new filter for the proper air flow direction (arrow pointing down) when putting it in.

Image 6435 from Replace the Cabin Filter on a 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
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With the new filter in place, reverse the steps to re-install the glove box. I inserted the side pop fastener first to hold the box in place, then fastened the 9 screws.

Image 6436 from Replace the Cabin Filter on a 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
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Enjoy the Fresh Air!

Image 6439 from Replace the Cabin Filter on a 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STI

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