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Subaru Crew Best Service Facilities



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Frank: I think there were a few other checks on the list of services. And hopefully they'd at least adjust the impact wrench to 75 lb-ft.

    Mechanics charge about $60 per hour of labor, so I'm not surprised you reach $100 quickly.

    Then again, that's why I do most everything myself!

  • seamus3seamus3 Posts: 98
    i took my car to carter and wasn't too happy with their service. i had to take the day off from work because they wouldn't give me a service loaner. they said i was too young. but i had to get a rental when my car was in the body shop last month and there wasn't a problem. i think they suck. i have yet to take my car to the sooby place on lake city. if you go to this other site,, they have a little section where you enter your zip code and they give you a list of shops that have been reviewed by all sorts of people. they gie both good and bad reviews to a lot of places.
  • fernieguyfernieguy Posts: 55
    Allmakes Automotive on 32Ave NE, These guys specialize in Subaru's and I swear by them, they are also very good at sevicing older Subaru's.
  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    For those who live in the Lower Hudson Valley - Stay away from Wappingers Falls Toyota / Subaru. The place to go is apparently Colonial Subaru in Danbury, CT. I haven't used their service yet but they give loaner cars if you bought there and claim to be the largest in NE.

  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    I called my insurance, they'll cover the repair 100%. So I think I better fix it before it runs. Anyone can recommend a good autoglass repair place in the SF Bay Area?


  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    I used Safelite (various locations in Bay Area) to have my windshield replaced. I think they do repairs as well.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    in PA, came right to the house and did a window in my rodeo for $85!

  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,984
    How about these onions, girl across the street has a 1999 sunfire she changed insurance companys and had a chip about half an inch in her line of vision this means the windshield has to be replaced, well here in Ottawa you have to have the car checked before the company will insure it.

    The upshot was they saw the chip and will not give her glass insurance until she replaces the wind shield her cheapest quote to date is $700 to replace it, the moral of this story if you have a damaged windshield get it fixed before changing insurance companys.
    Cheers Pat.
  • dsackmandsackman Posts: 145
    I had a very negative experience earlier with a 7,500 mile service on a '01 Forester costing me $150 at Carlsen Subaru.
    I took the '01 Outback Sedan in today for the 3,500 mile service and the quoted price was $31. A far better experience. I called this morning for an appointment and they could take the car immediately. I was impressed.
    A vast improvement to my earlier experience.
    I wonder what changed?

  • Its possible the change is a new service manager. Earlier this year a new guy took over that role at Carlsen... Joe Sui.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Great news, Daniel!
    You're probably on their "Don't make this guy angry list".
    Watch out for the 15,000 svc. that they don't load up on add-ons and are reasonably close to "by the book."
  • rgsjr99rgsjr99 Posts: 17
    Anyone have experience with Philly dealers? I'm a new owner and am open to suggestions. Glazmann, Colonial, Wilke or Fred Beans??
  • dsackmandsackman Posts: 145
    When I picked the car up this morning from Carlsen I asked how much the 15,000-mile service would cost me for the Forester. I was told about $230.

    Subaru suggests the following work for a 15,000-mile service:

    Replace: Engine oil
    Replace: Engine oil filter
    Inspect: Disc brake pads and discs, front and rear axle boots and axle shaft joint portions
    Perform: Inspect brake lines and check operation of parking and service brake system
    Inspect: Clutch operation
    Inspect: Steering and suspension

    If the Engine oil and Engine Filter service cost $32, how can the remaining "inspection" cost $200? With an automatic gearbox, the Clutch Operation inspection is not even needed.

    How much do people typically pay for a 15,000-mile service?

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    The Subaru 15k suggested service should only cost no more than $50, maybe $75 tops. Heck, I think most of that stuff is checked during a regular oil change.

    Carlsen must have their own suggestions to that list. What do they say they do for the 15k service? You are only required to get the stuff listed by Subaru, not the extras that the dealer might 'suggest' you do.

  • evilizardevilizard Posts: 195
    Well I have been dealing with Austin Infinity/Subaru for about 3 years since I bought my 96 OB used from them.

    In that time I have delt with 2-3 service managers. Generally speaking they suck.

    Story 1
    My first encounter was not long after I took delivery of my 96 (maybe a month or two). I had changed the air filter, oil and whatnot when I was pouring over the engine and noticed a piece of hose missing from the emissions control system (funny thing was the car never missed it). I brought this to their attention (and the fact that the piece of metal this hose attached to was slighly oxidized, this had been missing for some time). They immediatly blamed it on my maintence and refused to fix it. They said it fell off when I changed the air filter. Well $60 and 4 WEEKS later (seems that nowhere in the US had a little piece of rubber with a 45 degree bend in it) I got the part. It would take a pair of plyers and significant effort to remove this thing. It didn't "fall" off.

    I had some inspections, coolant and transmission flushes done.

    These were all on the watch of the Current service manager (as of 5-01) Shannon (he's a guy).
    His brother is the Infiniti Service manager.

    I made appointments beforehand but usually had to wait 10-15 minutes and have him paged twice before he would show up. Then when you came back to pick your car up in the afternoon he was nowhere to be found (no matter how many times he was paged). Eventually they will find someone to get your car for you.

    The problem was they overcharged me on a transmission flush. Of course the checkout clerk doesn't know anything about this and Shannon is nowhere to be found. No choice but to pay it and take it up later.

    Story 2
    I had a problem with my door locks. The drivers door is supposed to unlock all other doors. This was not functioning. To complicate factors I had a third party auto alarm/door unlocker.

    This was of course imediatley blamed as the cause for the problem. So I went to the alarm installation place (Mothers window tint, great service, lousy quality). They of course said it was the suburu mechanism. Finally I got the card of mechanic at Mothers who worked on my car and gave it to Shannon. Eventually they concluded that it was a faulty door actuator and needed to be replaced. This was going to take 2 hours of labor and $150 or so in parts. Net result it was going to be around $250 to fix it. No prob, I got the extended warranty ($100 deductable). Shannon had to do a doubletake when I told him this as it meant that they needed approval (and justification) for what they charged. This repair job suddenly required less than one hour and $15 in parts. Net price $87.

    I'd like to say my experiences are unique but I have a friend with an Impreza who experienced the following.

    Took it in for 30K maintence. Was overcharged $90. Shannon was nowhere to be found to correct this. Took 3 weeks to get the overchaged reverse and was given some lame excuse that they mistakenly charged him for service on the 2.5L engine instead of the 2.2 (there both 4 cylinders and the 30K service is mostly inspections!).

    Also the little light that indicates your AC button is pressed quit working. He brought it in for that. They fixed that but broke the whole AC vent switch in the proccess. They fixed that and broke something else with the electrical system (lights and mirrors). After the third try they finally fixed the problem without destroying anything else!

    Another friend of mine who has a 00 OB has also reported being overcharged and having difficulty finding Shannon afterwards to correct the matter.

    This is very discouraging. The only reason I keep going back is because the dealership is biking distance from both my work and my house. So if I need something done I just throw my bike in the back, drop it off and head off to work.

    On the plus side I have had some neutral of positive encounters (when shannon was not there).
    I had two check engine lights. The first time cause was a misfire. They did an injector cleaning job. The second time was a bad camshaft sensor, $97. I had the brake light come on, the cause was normal break wear, no charge. Parking lights came on after a cleaning, that switch on the steering column is hard to see, no charge.

    The service department is not open on Saturday.

    It is a combo Infinity/Subaru dealership. Infinity is clearly the bread and butter of the place. Loaner cars, guys with neck ties, coffee and dougnuts etc..

    Subaru customers pull up to the rear....

    I've had mixed luck with the parts department. On the downside 1/3 of the time the parts are NOT in stock. Bringing the broken part in and showing it to them is not especially helpful, you still have to pour over the exploded technical drawings (which they kindly show you) and tell them which part you want (they never take the chance of ordering the part that YOU didn't ask for, of course YOU might have asked for the wrong part, not their problem) The drawings are not especially detailed or even entirley accurate. The parts that come in are similar but not exactly like what was orginally on the car.

    On the plus side the same guys have been working there a while and are fairly friendly and service oriented.
  • cin4cin4 Posts: 30
    Wow, I logged on to report a good experience I just had with Austin Subaru today, and was surprised to see the prior post. They fixed my mysterious moonroof rattle that Gillman wouldn't even look at (I'll post on the Forester board about that repair, in case anyone else encounters it) along with a vibration in the dash. They gave me a ride to work and would have given me a ride back after work, but I got out of work after their driver left for the day. They even washed my car, which made me happy because now I'll have more time this weekend to play! I guess my repairs were minor compared to those reported above; we'll see what happens if I need anything serious done. If your vehicle is no longer under warranty, I'd recommend Import Auto Center on Gray Blvd. I took my Mazda to them for years and always had the work done right the first time. A few years down the road when my Forester is no longer under warranty, I'll go back to them for everything.
  • dboraskydborasky Posts: 2
    Performance Subaru in Chapel Hill, NC provides excellent service (only minor jobs on weekends however). If you've got a real problem, make sure you ask for Bill - a top notch mechanic who knows his Subarus inside and out. (You have ot watch out for Guy the service manager - always trying to talk you into unnecessary extras!)

    Although I bought my Impreza there in '94 I would not buy there again - they really try and screw you.
  • evilizardevilizard Posts: 195
    Yes they do wash your car, even if you tell them not too! One time I took it in for inspection, I was in a hurry, told them specifically NOT to wash the car (to save time). Inspection should only take 30-45(they tell you 10-15 but lets be realistic).

    After an HOUR my car was still not ready. Seems that inspite of my instruction they took it to be washed over at contenental cars (where they do the washing). Of course the wash crew decided it was time to take a seista. An hour and a half later I got my inspected (washed) car back.

    Also when they wash your car they don't use clean enough rags/water. No problem on the body but you can often see the dirty water spots on the glass.

    To make matters worse I see guys running around with bottles of windex with Amonia. I have tinted windows and Amonia destroys window tint.

    At least they put that tire-wetting agent on and your tires look black again.

    I'm glad to know someone had a good experience with them, maybe there is hope. I really would like for them to be a top notch outfit since they are so close.
  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    Another excellent experience with Docksteader Motors. Twice a year they do a free check promotion. For summer it included checking the cooling & A/C systems (my vent temp is 41 F.), checking all fluid levels, brakes, lights, charging system, suspension, etc. They also rotated the tires, washed and vacuumed the beast and lubed all hinges and locks. Not bad for free. Of course I also had them change the oil and do the second stage of change over to synthetic ATF. They also replaced the rear hatch latch on my Forester (the adjustment they had previously done reduced but did not totally eliminate the noise). All done properly in less than 2 hours. BTW, I checked the lug nuts when I got home. They do not employ gorillas with air wrenches to rotate tires. The lugs are easily turnable with the standard wrench. :~) Even talked with my sales person while I was waiting and she's going to try arranging a little drive in a WRX for me. Currently they don't have one plated. Seems there have been a few oops during test drives. At least 2 have been written-off in Canada in the last 6 weeks, one in BC. I'll try to be careful.

  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    is Rufus ok with you calling him a beast?
  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    the beast in him loves it! ;~)

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    I bought my '00 Forester from Fred Beans at what I thought was a good deal at $200 over invoice. Their service leaves something to be desired; their improper installation of a rear wheel bearing led to its premature failure after 5K miles of use. It also seems that it takes longer for them to get parts - not that any Subaru dealer gets them in a reasonable amount of time. Beans always follows up with a phone call to see if you're happy, but that hasn't improved their level of service in my experience.

    Lately I've been taking the car to Colonial simply because it's closer to my office. They offer "shuttle" service but it amounts to driving you to your office in your car. No-nonsense kind of people that don't beat around the bush but don't go out of their way to make the experience more pleasant.

    I haven't tried any of the others you mentioned but am considering trying the Colonial in Trenton, NJ. Many here swear by Becker in Allentown or Flemington in Flemington, NJ but they're a bit too far north for my routine base of operations.

    I have never had the dealer wash my car or give me a loaner except in the case of Beans when they screwed up my wheel bearing. Must be that Philly attytood I keep seeing. One upshot of the Beans experience was that I came out here on the Edmund's board and found a load of friendly, knowledgeable people and a great goodwill ambassador for SoA in Patti.

  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    Service dept burned down yesterday. Took a dozen Porsches, Audis, VW and Soobs with it. :( Guess I'll be doing oil changes locally for a while.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    How were they doing financially? :)

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I had heard an Audi in the service area caught fire somehow, and the place just went up in smoke.

  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    They do quite well, actually. Apparently an Audi in the workshop was leaking fuel and the workers couldn't get it contained fast enough something ignited it, everybody ran, and blammo. It burned all day, 'cause all the Porsche magnesium parts in inventory kept cooking off. Lost a dozen customer cars in the service area.
  • dsackmandsackman Posts: 145
    You probably know my fight against the service gouging from Carlsen Subaru in Redwood City. I have found an independent service facility that specializes in Subaru, Honda and Acura also in Redwood City.
    I just got the Forester back after a 15,000mile service. It costed me $91.21. Everything was done. Carlsen quoted me $230 for the same service.
    The independent facility's address is:

    2533 Middlefield Rd
    Redwood City
    CA 94063.

    You guys in the peninsula should go and check them out.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Thanks for the info. I've been looking for an independent shop around here for the longest time! Did you like their service?

  • dsackmandsackman Posts: 145

    I was very impressed with the speed and completeness of their service. They did everything that was expected and more. Small things were attended to:- the window washer fluid was replenished for a cost of 71c, the brake shoes were measured and reported. They also did not do the normal "shop floor materials" or "sundries" charges bit. There were no charges for these. Have a look at their web site. I believe what is said there by past customers is true. My impression is that the guys are down to earth honest people.
    The Outback will go for its 7,500 mile service in a few weeks time and I will certainly take it there.
    I wonder what Patti's take is on independent service shops.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    "I wonder what Patti's take is on independent service shops."

    Not trying to speak for Patti, but I'll add my two cents. :-)

    From what I've heard (people posting SoA emails in other Forums, etc.), an independent shop should use OEM parts. That way if their turns out to be a problem with the part, it'll be covered by the 5/60 warranty. They should also provide you with a warranty on their work.

  • dsackmandsackman Posts: 145
    Thanks Dennis. I checked both these factors and in both cases they are true. The use of OEM parts and a warranty on their work.
    I was more referring to the fact that independent shops can give the same or better service (using oem parts and warranty) and can compete successfully with the Subaru sanctioned service facilities on price, service and quality.

    What is in it for the Subaru service facilities and what is in it for me as the consumer to rather use the Subaru facilties?

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Daniel- All manufacturers and their affiliated service facilities encourage the common misconception that they are the only ones who are capable of working on your car and that by using an independent, you are somehow voiding your warranty.

    As with all myths, there is a grain of truth to these. Yes a Subaru master mechanic probably does have more detailed training as well as experience working on Subarus. But a good independent mechanic has undergone much of the same (or similar) training and can certainly handle all but the most complicated repairs. Also, in the current competitive job market for mechanics, the guy working in the dealer's service dept may be new to the job and know very little about Subarus while the established independent shop may have kept the same mechanics for years.

    It's also true that using an independent shop to perform repairs can void your warranty. But only if Subaru can prove that the work the shop performed or the parts they used caused the problem. If you use a reputable independent, neither is likely to be the case.

    So what's in it for the manufacturer's service facility? Bigger profits as well as a steady revenue stream. What's in it for the consumer? The perception that he/she is protecting their warranty rights.

    One last disclaimer: All service departments are not created equal. The same holds true for independent shops. There are good and bad apples in both barrels (though personally I think that the ratio is somewhat higher in the dealer's). The bottom line is that if you're satisfied with a dealer's service dept and the rates seem fair, there's no reason to change. If you think you're being gouged by the dealer's svc dept, find a reputable independent and stick with them.

    -Frank P.
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Great write-up, Frank. You sound like a journalist. There is an independent garage near me that I have considered trying.

    My previous dealer service center was a nightmare. Fluids never at the right level, at the 30k service they forgot to add gear oil, and more often than not, failing to properly diagnose my problem. The advisor and service manager have since "relocated", but I've found a much better dealer service facility anyway.

    It definately pays to look around for the best price, service and qualifications.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Dennis, Frank:

    Your last few posts have been quite informative, thanks!

    Question (possibly to Patti): Can an independent shop perform warranty repairs?

  • dsackmandsackman Posts: 145

    For warranty repairs you can still take your car to the Subaru sanctioned dealer. It is not going to cost you anything. Let Subaru negotiate the rates with the dealer.

    It is interesting that vehicles such as the Audi, BMW, LL Bean? and possibly Mercedes have all charges for servicing the vehicle over the duration of the warranty period included in the selling price . This will reduce abuse of the service abligation the owner has under the warranty.

  • hciaffahciaffa Posts: 454
    I could be wrong but I thought that the something something.. Magnuson act prohibited auto manufactures from forcing the consumer to purchase parts from them and having them say it voids the warranty. Such as in oil filters you can purchase any filter as long as it states that it meets or exceeds OEM specs and requirements and in the case of Subarus oil filters Made by Purolator) for the Forester 5.99 at the dealer and 2.99 at Pep Boys for the Pure one filter. If the dealer was to enforce using their parts I believe that they would have to supply them at no cost. I think is more true for the DIY but then if your front trans axel blows you might as well get it fixed under warranty ot the dealer
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Says that your warranty must be honored unless it can be proven that the non-OEM part caused the issue in question. If your $2.99 Pep Boys Purolator filter explodes and you end up damaging the engine, that would be an easy one to prove.

    More info on warranty denial as well as the Magnuson-Moss act is on SEMA's web page:

  • You can order OEM parts from places like at a significant savings over dealer retail. Genuine Subaru oil filters are $4.31.

  • dsackmandsackman Posts: 145
    Got the following letter from Carlsen Subaru:

    Dear Mr. Ackerman:

    To protect the value of of your Subaru ....... it is important that scheduled maintenance be performed on a timely manner.
    After reviewing our service records for your 2001 Subaru Legacy Outback Limited....... your mileage should be approximately 5,237 miles and may now require the following dealer recommended maintenance: 6,000 Oil Change Service
    Please call us......

    The letter was carefully worded to catch the unwary or not that knowledgable consumer. This type of nonsense, in my mind, puts a very bad reflection on Subaru. Their dealers (in this case the largest in the country) goes to this extent to catch unsuspecting consumers. There are some integrity issues at stake here.

    And I bought two cars from these guys within the last year!

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    "Dealer" recommended maintentance. :-)
    They should put that in bold and say that it's an even more aggressive maintenance schedule than the manufacturers recommended severe maintenance. I think they usually do put something similar in small print somewhere.

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    from my dealer yesterday. "According to our records you have approx 3221 miles.....blah, blah, blah. Funny thing is I had them change the oil at 1400 miles, so my next change is not until 4400. Not to mention they overfilled my crank. Wait until I hit 10K and switch to Mobil 1. Wonder what their response will be. :-)

  • Beware of Albany Ford/Subaru. They don't seem to be able to inflate tires to the proper pressures. My new Forester was delivered with 60PSI in the tires. I got in an accident. Related??? Who knows. I asked them and they said, "we don't check the air pressure in the tires when we deliver new cars."

    When I went to the dealership the service man checked the tires. He read 39 PSI. I read 31 with my gauge. He finally found a good tire gauge that read the same as mine. It turns out the one he uses was a free gift the mechanic received in the 60's! How's that for a professional operation.

    The good news is that they gave me the paint codes so that the body shop could repaint the car after the almost $4,000 repair to the front corner!
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I agree -- Albany Ford/Subaru is one of the worst. Very sleazy salespeople over there. Lots better dealerships around the Bay Area.

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    New cars are delivered from the factory with high tire pressures. The dealer is supposed to reduce (and check) the air pressure. Even if not required that is basic prep IMO. Run from that dealer.

  • cardhu1cardhu1 Posts: 9
    Does anyone have experience (good/bad) with the service dept. of Coleman Subaru in Trenton NJ?

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    No, but just a little farther north is Flemington Subaru. I have 3 Subaru dealers within 15 minutes, but I chose Flemington (35 min.) for their better prices, excellent service, excellent work and general knowledge of all things Subaru.
  • msubarumsubaru Posts: 3
    Can anyone give me name of an excellent subaru dealer in denver for service.
  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    I second the recommendation for Flemington Subaru. I make the trip from SI, and it is well worth it; they do regular service on Saturday's, a big plus factor.

  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    FWIW heres my experiences at 3 Chicagoland dealerships for service
    Gary Lang- McHenry - work itself is fine but they do believe in all the extra unnecessary additional services during scheduled maintenance. It also takes forever - like how about half hour! -to get your car through paperwork and driven round the front
    Schaumburg - good service, worlds most boring waiting area, don't seem busy though they say they are the biggest IL dealership.
    Roto -Arlington Heights - busy, never can get in quickly but good work.

    For a non dealership place with a Subaru Master Mechanic go to Import Motors, Morse Rd. Schaumburg. John Naltsas. Excellent work and better prices.
  • Dennis,

    Try Liberty Subaru in Libertyville. Service is first rate and prices are reasonable. Your car is even washed when they finish. Also, note the license plate frames on the cars being serviced there. That's a statement as to their ability!

    By the way, I used Liberty beginning in '91 with my SVX, followed by a '96 Outback and my wife's '97 Impreza. The two major Subaru techs are Elisha and Axel. Both are first rate! If I hadn't moved to Florida in April, I'd still be their customer!

This discussion has been closed.