How to Replace the In-Cabin Filter in Your 2014 Subaru Forester XT: A Comprehensive DIY Guide

As a proud owner of a 2014 Subaru Forester XT, you know the importance of maintaining your vehicle to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. One often overlooked aspect of vehicle maintenance is the incabin filter, which is responsible for filtering the air that circulates inside your car. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you how to replace the incabin filter in your 2014 Subaru Forester XT, saving you time and money from having a professional do it for you.

What is an Incabin Filter and Why is it Important?

The incabin filter, also known as the cabin air filter, is a crucial component of your vehicle’s ventilation system. Its main function is to filter the air that comes into the cabin, removing pollutants such as dust, pollen, and other airborne particles. A clean incabin filter contributes to better air quality inside your car, which is important for anyone who may suffer from allergies or respiratory issues.

Signs that it’s Time to Replace the Filter

Knowing when to replace your incabin filter is vital. An old or dirty filter can cause issues such as reduced airflow, unpleasant odors, and even lowered fuel economy. Here are some signs that it’s time to replace your incabin filter:

  • Reduced Airflow: If you notice that your car’s air conditioning or heating system is not blowing as strong as it used to, it could be a sign that your filter is clogged with debris.

  • Unpleasant Smells: If you detect a musty or moldy smell coming from your car’s vents, it could be a sign that your incabin filter is overdue for a replacement.

  • Lowered Fuel Economy: A dirty or clogged filter can cause your car’s engine to work harder than it needs to, thereby reducing your fuel economy.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Replacing the Filter

Replacing your incabin filter is a DIY task that requires minimum tools and time. You can easily do it by following these simple steps:

  1. Locate the filter housing: In most Subaru Foresters, the incabin filter is located behind the glove compartment. To access it, open the glove compartment and remove its contents. Then, squeeze the sides of the glove compartment inward to release its stops and let it hang down.

  2. Remove the filter housing cover: After you’ve located the housing, remove the cover that holds the filter in place. Depending on the model of your car, you may need to remove screws or clips to do this.

  3. Remove the old filter: Once you’ve removed the cover, you should be able to see the old filter. Simply slide it out of the compartment and dispose of it.

  4. Install the new filter: Take the new filter out of its packaging and make sure that its orientation matches that of the old filter. Slide the new filter into the housing and make sure it’s snugly fitted.

  5. Reattach the filter housing cover: Put the cover back in place and reattach any screws or clips if necessary.

  6. Close the glove compartment: Push the glove compartment back into place until it clicks securely.

Tools and Parts Needed for the Replacement

One of the best things about replacing your incabin filter is that it requires minimal tools and parts. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Replacement incabin filter
  • Screwdriver (if necessary to remove the filter housing cover)
  • Gloves (recommended)
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Tips for Making the Process Easier and Avoiding Common Mistakes

Replacing your incabin filter can be a simple and straightforward task, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind to make the process easier and avoid mistakes:

  • Be gentle when removing and installing the cover: The filter housing cover may be fragile, so be sure to use a light touch when removing and reinstalling it.

  • Replace the filter at regular intervals: Check your owner’s manual to determine how often you should replace your incabin filter. Subaru recommends doing it every 12,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.

  • Install the filter in the correct orientation: The filter may have an arrow indicating which way it should be installed. Be sure to follow this direction, or your filter may not function correctly.


Q: Do I really need to replace my incabin filter?

A: Yes, it’s crucial to replace your incabin filter to ensure that your car’s air quality stays high and your car’s ventilation system works optimally.

Q: What happens if I don’t replace my incabin filter?

A: A dirty or clogged filter can reduce airflow, cause unpleasant odors, and even decrease your fuel economy.

Q: How often should I replace my incabin filter?

A: Subaru recommends replacing your incabin filter every 12,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.


Replacing your incabin filter in your 2014 Subaru Forester XT is a simple yet vital task that can help improve your car’s air quality and ensure that your ventilation system works as it should. By following the steps in this comprehensive guide, you can easily replace your filter yourself and enjoy a comfortable and safe ride.

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Alton Brobst

As a longtime Subaru enthusiast, Alton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our blog. From his early days of tinkering with engines to his current role as a certified Subaru technician, Alton has seen it all when it comes to Subarus. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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