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I went to change the cabin filter in our 2018 Premier, 1.5 this morning. After removing the glove box door, I pushed the tabs on either side of the filter door and it wouldn't budge. I noticed that there were two screws, 5.5mm hex head, one on either side that appeared to be holding the access door closed. Sure enough, once I removed the screws and pushed the tabs the door opened. There was no mention of the screws in the owners manual, (pg. 194). I did not replace the screws. Does the factory put the screws in to show the dealer that the filter hasn't been changed? Is there any reason to put them back?
 

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In the 2019 manual, the instructions in the manual state to remove the two screws securing the door before pressing the tabs. There is either an omission in the 2018 manual, or there were mid-cycle changes to the cabin filter door fastening system. I would gather the screws are there as an extra measure to make sure the filter access door is secure, maybe also prevents vibrations/rattles from the door if it is slightly loose. Personally, I would put them back in knowing they are part of the instructions for 2019+, but that is just me. If it seems secure without them, it probably doesn't hurt anything to leave them out.
 

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I agree with arcee. I put them back in when I changed my filter also. It would not be an automakers MO to have unnecessary components on a vehicle. The screws are likely there to ensure the box is sealed and secure. Having said that however, I don't think my Sonic has screws but the filter and therefore the panel is not as large.
 
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