30k "Big" Maintenance & Flushes

pilot1226pilot1226 Member Posts: 166
edited September 2014 in Subaru

Asked this a few years ago, searched the forums and found that in general, most of you seem to agree that flushing isn't necessary (as long as you've done regular maintenance) and anytime they want to do a flush, it's better to do a drain and fill.

So, that being said, I was told by the dealer that the next time I bring my `09 Legacy in for maintenance, it's a "big one" - estimated at $575 plus tax.

At 30k, the dealer has this advertised:
-Oil Change with Premium Oil and Filter, Performance Oil Additive, Performance Fuel Injector Additive, Fuel System Cleaner Additive, Cooling System Service, Transmission Fluid Service, New Cabin and Engine Air Filter, Lubricate Propeller Shaft and all Locks and Hinges, Tire Rotation and Balance, and Battery Service, Multi-Point Inspection.

In addition, they recommend the following for $150 EACH:
-A/C and Heater Odor Eliminator, Performance Brake Fluid Exchange Service, Engine Oil Exchange Service, Power Steering Service, Front & Rear Differential Service, and Transfer Case Service.
-4-Wheel Alignment available for 89.95

Now, the reason I bring this up is because I checked my owner's manual, which says the following things need to happen at 30k: (I drive a PZEV model under the CA specifications)

Inspect Drive Belts, Inspect Camshaft Drive Belt, Replace Engine Oil and Filter, Inspect Fuel System, Lines, Connections, Replace Air Cleaner and Cabin Air Filter, Replace Spark Plugs, Inspect Differential Lubricants, Inspect Transmission Fluid, Replace Brake Fluid, Inspect Brake Pads, Lining, Drums, Axle Boots, Shaft Joints, Inspect Brake Lines and Parking Brake, Inspect Steering/Suspension, and Rotate/Inspect Tires.

Whoa. Quite a few things not listed in the dealer's package and quite a few things seem to be not necessary in the dealer's package, no?

So the differences are:
-Owner's Manual wants you to replace your spark plugs, just to inspect your F/R Diff & ATF, and to replace your brake fluid.

-Dealer wants to put in additives (which I don't get, anyway), Cooling System Service (which I'm not doing because I have the Super Coolant), and lubricate the prop shaft (which is probably preventative maintenance and I will have them do this even though the manual doesn't make note of it.)

So, can anyone help me make sense of this? I understand the dealer is trying to make as much money as possible with their "special" services, but why would they not mention the spark plugs? 30k seems quite.... fast... to change plugs. They didn't use platinum ones?

Pending the responses, when I do this service, I'll probably shoot for:
-Oil Change & Filter
-Tire Rotation
-New Cabin & Air Filter (unless I decide I want to do this myself and save a few bucks, I've done this a bunch in my other car)
-Drain and Fill the brake fluid
-Inspect the Transmission Fluid and the Differential Fluid, and drain and fill if there's any discoloration

I imagine this'll cost around $250 unless I need the Trans & Diff drain and filled. Thoughts?

EDIT - I found the spark plugs my car uses: NGK FR5AP-11
After googling this quick, it seems like they are Laser Platinum spark plugs. They're relatively inexpensive (around $10-15 each online) but they're really only "platinum tipped" - wondering if I should just have them "upgrade" the plugs to something a little bit stronger.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The $150 for some of those optional services makes me cringe.

    Why would you need an Engine Oil Exchange service? What does that even mean? Do they pull the oil pan and clean it? That's absurd at 30k miles.

    Front & Rear Differential Service - I've done this myself, it's not that complicated. The rear diff took one quart of gear oil, the manual trans/front diff took 3.7 quarts IIRC. You have to get under the car, but even if you buy a hand pump or funnel, it won't cost you $30. I used synthetic for both and spent about $7 x 5 quarts = $35 plus less than $10 for the hand-held oil pump.

    Transfer Case Service - this puzzles me, it's sealed, they're not supposed to service this. $150 for nothing? Red flag, IMHO.

    Whoa. Quite a few things not listed in the dealer's package and quite a few things seem to be not necessary in the dealer's package, no?

    Yes, agreed.

    I imagine this'll cost around $250 unless I need the Trans & Diff drain and filled. Thoughts?

    Show the dealer the list of stuff that is supposed to be done per Subaru and ask for a price on that.

    For the gear oil I'd follow the severe maintenance interval per the owner's manual. 30k may be a bit sooner than necessary.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 15,158
    edited January 2011
    Big red flag on that dealer! That's just shockingly dishonest! What they are doing here is taking advantage of owner ignorance, and that is just disgraceful. :mad:

    The "transfer case" and "propeller shaft" services are, perhaps, the most alarming, as it indicates to me a gross negligence of the car they are offering to service. As AJ stated, the transfer case is not a serviceable unit, nor is the "propeller" shaft, or drive shaft as it is more commonly known in automobiles. :sick:

    I recommend going with a different service shop altogether and giving the dealer that gave you that laundry list a swift... piece of your mind....

    Changing the differential and transmission fluids may be soon at this point, but I would change out the stock fluids by 50K if it were my car.

    At bare minimum, a dealer's "package service" should have at least what the manufacturer requires. It doesn't look to me that yours even includes the brake fluid flush without an additional, exorbitant, fee.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Member Posts: 166
    edited January 2011
    Thanks for responding. Welcome to the northeastern part of the country, I guess. Things are more expensive here, but I guess it balances out because cost-of-living and salaries tend to be higher as well.

    I'd love to do MORE to both of my cars - but the problem in doing so is that we're living in a townhouse, so the "parking" area is considered a common property, and the management association really frowns upon you doing any of your own work aside from mandatory things (like, jacking up a car to switch a flat tire and a donut, so you can bring it somewhere to get fixed.) I'm pretty sure oil changes (and the diff fluid you mentioned above) would be red flagged.

    Oil Exchange service sounds like a flush to me. So I will certainly be skipping it.

    Very funny about the "Transfer Case Service" - lol. I wasn't planning on doing it anyway since it wasn't in the owner's manual.

    You're right - it just says to "inspect" the gear oil - not replace it. But, how does one know if I needs replacing? I'm thinking discoloration, so we'll probably do that.

    I'm still a little torn on the brake fluid. I know that it's recommended, and I know that there are a few people on the forum (like paison if he still posts here) that are very, very emphatic about regular (2 year) brake flushes because it absorbs moisture.

    That being said, I've never replaced the brake fluid in any of my cars aside from when I get brakes done - probably around every 4 years? - and I've never had "mushy" brakes or any trouble stopping. So, something to ponder.

    Thoughts on spark plugs? My biggest concern is that they're indeed a copper plug which will cause trouble for my exhaust system (cat converter) down the road.

    Good call, I will certainly bring my manual inside with me and ask specifically a quote for all the things that the manufacturer says needs to get done.

    I'm wondering if cars these days are built so much more "sturdy" that dealers are losing revenue from repairs, and they're using these flushes and optional services to try to make up that lost revenue.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 15,158
    Sorry about my last post - I put it up there with almost no info, then went and added a bunch to it after re-reading your original.

    For the spark plugs, it won't hurt anything to replace them with a higher quality plug. $10-15 per plug is not an inexpensive spark plug!

    On my '96 Outback, which used the same plug as the new ones if I recall correctly, I ran them 60,000 miles and they both looked and operated fine even at that interval, so 30,000 does seem premature.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I can imagine them re-torqueing the drive shaft connector bolts (AWD Siennas actually call for this service every 30k), but that's a simple job that should take minutes, and not cost $150. Puh-lease.
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Member Posts: 166
    Just a followup, brought my Subie down to the local shop that Paisan runs, they did a great job and did a 30k service in the same amount of time I was used to waiting for an oil change from the dealer.

    And the cookies were good too. I'll have to schedule an afternoon appointment next time so I can try the tap.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Thanks for the followup! Great meeting you!

    Stop by anytime, even if you don't need service!

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • tommy312tommy312 Member Posts: 15
    I would never walk into that dealer again. I have been told that at some dealers the managers get a % of the money from work orders so they do work that is not really needed. Not sure how true that is but nothing would surprise me ESP In the NYC area. Always use a trusted mechanic ...
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