Changed my air filter, and now the car dies



Yesterday afternoon I changed my 1997 Subaru Impreza’s air filter. I didn’t turn on the engine after changing it, but the car was running just fine immediately beforehand.

A point (potentially) worth noting: while changing the air filter, I did clean out the inside of the air filter container with a wet cloth, as my car manual suggested.

This morning my car started and then died after 5-10 seconds. The engine “sighed” to a stop rather than abruptly dying. Every time I now start the car, this happens.

I’ve checked for loose hoses or wires around the air filter, just in case I knocked something awry, but I didn’t find anything amiss at first glance.

Did I cause this, or is the timing a coincidence? Any suggestions for what may be wrong and if I can fix it myself, or do I need to send it to the shop?

Thanks for your insight!


Obvious thing to check - did you leave the rag in there?


it does sound like a loose vacuum hose


You may have unplugged or disturbed the MAF sensor. Is you check engine light on the brief time that the engine does run?


I did this to myself ( slap forehead ) after having parts dis-assembled to replace alternator I headed down the street only to have NO ACCELERATION . The truck would roll forward in gear only at the idle speed with zero gas pedal input.
Pop the hood and…I didn’t put back the fresh air intake duct to the air filter ! The air flow sensor is on that duct, before the air filter, so the result was that the computer could not sense any more air flow than idle. Put the duct back on , slapped myself in the forehead, hoped no one was watching, and away I went.
The lesson here, re-check all the hook-ups even if you didn’t knowingly disconnect something, It might be off now.


Re-do the air filter, to make sure it is positioned and facing correctly and the fasteners are correctly fastened (I really don’t think that is the problem, but it is best to start over, to verify what was done). I agree that you may have knocked off a connector or hose; it is always good to go back and recheck the work that you did.


Thanks for these suggestions. I think I have found the culprit, after looking for loose tubes/wires. Here are some photos I just took to illustrate what I think is a disconnected tube – but before I go reconnecting it and potentially damaging the engine, I’d like some reaffirmation that this is indeed the problem… Thanks!


It sure looks like a loose hose to me. They should get together. ;o)


Put them together. It appears on our Subaru the set up is similar and there may be some play between the two. Ours doesn’t fit very tight. Try a restart; you won’t hurt anything by trying. If it doesn’t start, post back.


Sure looks like a disconnected vacuum hose.


Dude! This just saved my life. This is exactly what I did. I’ve been trying to figure this out for a week!