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2008, Outback, 2.5L
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2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have an '08 Outback and recently learned from the mechanic at my local oil change shop, Uncle Ed's in Portage, MI, that it is common for dealers and mechanics to avoid checking the cabin air filter (at least according to him). I've owned my car for 2 1/2 years and have never had anyone check in during routine maintenance or otherwise. Thank goodness this mechanic did!

I will say that when this mechanic did check (and replace) it for me, I was not surprised by this lack of service from other mechanics. It was a pain! The cabin air filter on these vehicles is inside/behind the glove box. In order to get to it the mechanic had to remove the side panel and take out my glove box.

Good thing he did because my cabin air filter looked like a dead Christmas tree! Immediately after replacing the filter my heating system started functioning much better! Leading up to this I thought my heat was starting to go out because the system would periodically start blowing cool air instead of heat while driving.

So the morale of the story is make your vehicle service provider check the cabin air filter next time you have it in and if your heat is not working properly check this as a troubleshooting step before paying more money to have the heating system checked/repaired.
 

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Super Moderator
2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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2,700 Posts
Good story and reminder. Change it yearly using your car buy date or whenever you reregister your car.
 

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02 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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26,212 Posts

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'13 2.5 Premium
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2,399 Posts
I swap out mine every time I change the oil. It's cheap enough, and only takes a couple minutes of DIY. Not sure on the '08 that the OP has, but on my '13 it generally takes more time for me to empty the glove box than it does for me to make the swap.

Note: If you haven't done this yourself, the blower fan is directly below the filter. Be careful removing that filter, if there are any leaves or other loose debris on top it can get knocked off and fall into the blower. You won't know until you put everything back together and run the fan, and then hear a lea or whatever rattling around inside. You'll have to take all apart again, then use a flashlight and mirror to pull out whatever fell into the fan.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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12,306 Posts
I swap out mine every time I change the oil. It's cheap enough, and only takes a couple minutes of DIY. Not sure on the '08 that the OP has, but on my '13 it generally takes more time for me to empty the glove box than it does for me to make the swap.
You 4th and 5th gen folks are spoiled. A 2nd gen you have to take apart half the passenger dash. 3rd gen is only a tiny improvement, but still have to completely remove the glovebox and at least 1 trim panel.
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Crystal White Pearl with Ivory Cloth, with Eyesight and self dimming outside mirrors.
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359 Posts
When we took home our OB I pulled the Cabin and Engine air filter and wrote on them with a Sharpie marker "Original Filter Installed at Factory". I don't believe a dealer will ever be changing the engine air filter unless they can assure me it's no charge, but I got four free oil changes and two free cabin filter changes for buying the car. Would have like to have seen the tech's face when he pulled the cabin filter with that written on it. And I pulled across the street and checked to insure it was changed. I then took out the sharpie and wrote on the new one the date, mileage and name of the dealer that changed it.
 
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