All Wheel Drive Auto: Independent Seattle Subaru Service


Subaru Service Seattle:Subaru Fuel Filters Explained


From 1985 to 2004 any fuel injected Subaru had a fuel filter mounted neer the drivers side strut tower in the engine compartment.

Subaru Fuel Filters
Subaru Fuel Filters

Starting in 2004 Subaru decided it would be better to make the fuel filter part of the fuel pump and fuel level sending unit.  The problem with this is that in order to service the fuel filter the electronic fuel pump and sending unit must now be removed from the gas tank.  There is an acces panel, but the passenger compartment is in fact exposed to the fuel vapors.

Its difficult to capture in an image but this fuel filter pictured below, having never been serviced and the vehicle having over 150k caused the fuel pressure to drop, but as a result the fuel pump suffered some damage and had to be replaced.  You can see the dark spot in the filter element, the filter was doing its job, but needed to be replaced.

Subaru Fuel Pump & Filter 2004 & Newer
Subaru Fuel Pump & Filter 2004 & Newer
2004 & Newer Subaru Fuel Filter
2004 & Newer Subaru Fuel Filter

So if you have a 2004 and newer Subaru, and since the filter rarely is serviced as part of a 30/60/90k service do to the new complexity in replacing the filter you should inquire about having it replaced.  We usually suggest it should be done around 90k but thee is no reason not to do it sooner if you like the idea of preventative maintenance.

Thanks for reading



18 Responses

  1. Good day everyone,
    It seam that I failed to properly google where to purchase a fuel filter.
    I have a 2012 impreza and no one seam to have it, neither my local dealer. Anyone with a link or something?

  2. Hi Justin!
    Just wanted to say thanks for the advice on head gaskets. Replaced mine with your recommended ones at 150K and now at 180K all is well. Found your blog on fuel filters and would like to change filter & sock before it plugs and damages the fuel pump. I can’t find anyone who knows what I need! Do you know the part #’s for filter, sock, & gasket?
    2005 Forester 2.5XS

  3. Justin,

    I was wondering if you had the part number for the in-tank fuel filter. I have a 2008 outback 2.5i, and the dealership doesn’t sound like they are real sure what i’m asking for. They’re saying they’ve never had to change one.

    Thank you for your time,

    1. Hello J.

      Should be 42072 AG16A Sorry your guys cant figure that out

      Just the opposite here, our local dealers have started telling drivers they need to replace it at 30k which is a lie and just a cash grab This make things interesting on us to try and educate the customer.

      The key thing to remember is they are all just franchises like a McDonald’s one may be stellar, quick and clean the other awful, slow and dirty. For all of the same reasons, Management.


  4. Justin – firstly, I want to thank you for helping me out 3.5 years ago with a HG job on our 01 Foz. Still running strong with 295k km (the engine at least). Incidentally, I called you at the end of the job with a strange rattling noise, but never told you what it was. I hadn’t torqued down the bolts holding down the camshaft on one side, so it was rattling around. I really appreciated your parts and your help. You rock!

    Fast forward – we now have a 10 Forester XT with the in-tank fuel filter (42072AG140 if I’m correct). A local Sube independent has offered to either change the fuel filter with another OEM one, or to remove it and relocate the filter to the engine bay with a modification. THey would entirely remove the in-tank filter (but presumably not the sock).

    I said the only benefit I could see to the in-tank filter was that it may filter the fuel before entering the pump and hence protect the pump from crud and grit. But they said no, in fact the fuel flows sock>pump>filter>engine. So the big paper filter does nothing to protect the in-tank pump anyways. Hence it’s just as well to have a relocated filter in the engine bay.

    Can you comment on this? Is it true? Does the filter only see the fuel AFTER it’s come out of the pump?

    What do you think of the mod to put the filter in the engine bay? It would work out to be a similar price, since the engine-bay filter is like $20, whereas the OEM in-tank filter is over $100 north of our border. So they aren’t trying to “upsell” me just for the sake of upsell.

    Many thanks

    1. Hello Zenon,

      Glad to hear the 2001 is still doing well!

      I would shy away from the MOD most mods like this end up being trouble later on down the road.

      Its a good idea to replace the intake filter and Its accessible the way it is.


  5. My 2005 OBXT with 115,000 cranked, but has hesitant firing. Took to dealer, injector in cylinder 2 diagnosed as bad. All 4 injectors replaced. $800.

    After 200 miles, cylinder 2 was misfiring again. Thought it was bad injector, but not. Then, they thought it was bad coil, but coil tested OK. Found brown gunk in gas return line. Dealer stymied. Called Subaru headquarters.

    They diagnosed rust in fuel system. Suggested replacing all steel fuel lines, fuel rail, fuel pump fuel filter. Tank looks OK, filler tube Looks OK. $2300 fix.

    Always used premium fuel, added Drygas seasonally on occasion. We live in a snowbelt with salt on roads, but lines look OK outside.

    So, where did the rust come from? What can I do to prevent a re-occurrence? I’m aiming for 200,000. I figure the repair is still less expensive than a new car. Been in shop 2 weeks now. HELP.

    1. Rust is from moisture in the fuel over time. Need to evaluate where your fuel is being purchased from. If this is something prevalent to your area you should consider using a bottle of dryer every 6 months or maybe more often.


  6. Do you know where I can get the cover to the in-tank fuel filter shown in the picture, or at least the part number of the cover?

    thanks, phil

      1. Justin, do you know if the 2004+ cap fits the pre-2004 fuel pumps? Some 00-04 H4 and a number of 00-04 H6 owners have had the metal cap crack, and for those years it does not seem to be a line-item part.

        Thanks, Dave

  7. Hello, This is a great blog. I was wondering if you can help with what seems to be a common subaru problem. Whenever the temperature drops below lets say 30degrees, I can smell gas when I turn on the heater. I was leaking antifreeze before and I had mechanic check it out they said it was the water pump, They replaced that and did the timing belt. The dripping freeze has stopped but this cold weather thing is still going on. I checked the fuel lines on top of the engine I do not see any wet areas. I can’t tell where it’s coming from. Sometimes when sitting at idle the smell is unbearable and you have to roll down the window. It seems once the weather warms or you start driving the smell goes away. I’ve read on some forums it could be fuel rails? I was wondering what your opinion is. The car is a 2001 Subaru Outback, 2.5liter 4cylinder.

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