How to replace the engine air filter in a 2006 Subaru Impreza

I neglected to follow the maintenance schedule for replacing my engine air filter and realized that it had been over two years since I last replaced the this part. The replacement process is simple and also relatively low-risk, meaning that it is unlikely for you to screw up, hurt yourself, or destroy your vehicle.

In the 2005-2007 Subaru Impreza series (non-WRX), the replacement process is quick and simple. The engine air filter is situated on the passenger side of the engine.

Access to the engine air filter is on the passenger side under a plastic vent cover.

Access to the engine air filter is on the passenger side under a plastic vent cover.

The housing includes two clamps that can be released without any tools:

Push the clip away from the edge of the cover to release.

Push the clip away from the edge of the cover to release.

The plastic vent hood can then be lifted up vertically to expose the engine air filter. The tubing should have a little bit of give and offer you plenty of room to move the cover aside. My old filter was disgusting and pitch black:

This is what a dirty engine air filter looks like. Don't let that happen to you.

This is what a dirty engine air filter looks like. Don’t let that happen to you.

Typically the airflow through the filter is not through the center of the filter but rather from the side. Most of the time only half of the filter becomes dirty simply due to the positioning of the airflow. My filter was black throughout, as I clearly had rotated it around to extend the life of the filter.

This is what a clean engine air filter looks like

This is what a clean engine air filter looks like

I ordered my air filter through eBay for $8.05. You can simply take out the filter and replace it with a new one. The dealer charges $40 plus another 0.25 hrs of labor @ $100/hr. The entire job took me about five minutes, which included the time it took the pictures for this entry. That is an insane amount of cost savings especially since I didn’t even have to take the car to the shop! I could have even splurged and used a high-end oil-based filter that will outlast the life of your car (rated to be used for 1 million miles!)

Have you replaced the engine air filter on your vehicle before? Is the cost and time savings worth your pay scale?

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