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2021 Onyx XT
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194 Posts
How long should I expect the OEM filter to last?. I'm at a little over 16k currently. 2.5 Engine.
It all depends on what kind of conditions you drive in. Dusty=more frequently.
 

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2020 Onyx
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19,580 Posts
I change my engine and cabin air filters once a year, but that's for only 4000 miles of driving. At that point they looks semi-dirty but that's enough for me to justify changing them - if they're visibly soiled over at least 13/49ths of the surface I change it.
 

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2020 Outback Premier 2.5i
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2,036 Posts
Oil I do time based because the time runs out before the distance, and AFAIC, my short trips are a form of extreme driving. Filters I'd do distance based since nothing adverse really happens to them from those short trips and from sitting around - but I do look at it when the oil is changed. I probably will change air and cabin filters next time though. 27 months and still less than 11K miles - and that's after driving to and from Miami, which is almost 2900 miles.
 

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I check the engine filter with every oil change and replace them both when the engine is visibly dirty. The quality of the filters from different manufacturers varies greatly. The number one concern is a lot of the frames, delcos, etc, do not fit well. 2nd is the material and number of pleats. WIXs seem 2nd to OEM.
 

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2015 Outback 2.5i
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3,064 Posts
FWIW, I ran my OE for 25K. No loss of performance or mileage then and no improvement when I changed.
I'm in the far suburbs of Chicago and not running gravel or trails. Owner's Manual specs 30K under those conditions.
 

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Filters I'd do distance based since nothing adverse really happens to them from those short trips and from sitting around
Exactly.
 
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2021 Onyx XT
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194 Posts
@ghp - Let us know what you decide from such a diverse list of recommendations. Also,

1. You are not going to see a drop off in performance to indicate when to change the air filter, nor an improvement when you do, unless you live in a VERy dusty environment.
2. Air filters, both engine and cabin, are inexpensive so why not simply change them every 6 months to a year?
 

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2015 Outback 2.5i
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2. Air filters, both engine and cabin, are inexpensive so why not simply change them every 6 months to a year?
Just spitballing here, but waste of money and more in the landfill? A year for me is 3,000 miles...
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (me) 2020 Forester Limited (Spouse) 2016 Outback Limited (Daughter)
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711 Posts
Subaru's written maintenance schedule calls for replacement of the engine air filter at 30K intervals for "normal" driving. Severe duty is more frequently. And as they are not expensive to buy and take about 2 minutes to install, you can change them more frequently if you prefer or are in dusty conditions.
 

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1997 Outback, 2016 Forester, 2022 Outback
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246 Posts
Inspect when you do an oil change, change it if it's very dirty/discolored.
A city dweller might well get several years of around-town driving on a filter, while somebody in the sticks, particularly if they drive/live on dirt roads will probably want a new air filter yearly. A rally-car driver is gonna clean his K&N filter before every run.
And in the end it doesn't really matter too much; it takes a very, very dirty air filter to really make a perceptible difference from a driving standpoint, and it's not like a dirty filter lets dirt into the engine; actually they filter more efficiently as they load up; they just flow less air.
And I will comment that often DIY wannabes screw up replacing air filters, and fail to get the airbox resealed properly around the filter element. That's not very helpful, then, is it . . .
 

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1997 Outback, 2016 Forester, 2022 Outback
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Just to stir the pot, has anyone switched to the K&N filters? :devilish:
I check my engine filters when I change my oil. If there is still plenty of light shining through the pleats, we're good.
I run K&N filters in all of my vehicles. I get two filters, and alternate; this allows me to clean and prep the unemployed filter at my leisure.
I do live in the country, and live/drive dirt/dust every day. I routinely swap air filters when I do an oil change. But the K&Ns are different from "regular" air filters, and need to be cleaned/re-oiled frequently.
 

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2021 OB Touring, 2011 OB Premium
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There is a lot of controversy (discussed in several threads) about the use of K&N air filters. Because they use a light film of oil to work, there are questions as to whether or not the oil gets ingested and coats the mass airflow sensor. Additionally, tests performed comparing the OEM air filter to the K&N showed no real benefit to using the K&N filter. The votes aren't all in with regard to using a K&N filter, but I personally will stay with an OEM paper filter.
 

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I ran paper filters and swapped every other oil change. That worked out to 10k miles, or about 3-4 months.

Over the summer I switched to KN and have put about 9k miles on it. Zero issues so far.

I have also cut and removed the charcoal filter from my air box. Cabin filter is KN as well.
 
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