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I have a 2010 Subaru Outback. I have reached 30k miles. The dealer who offers $19.95 oil changes has been great up until this point. I am now being ask to do large services with hefty price tags. They say it is because the vehicle is AWD. I did not have any service done and to date have only had oil changes and tire rotations. How much really needs to be done compared to the lengthy list of recommended services?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Maria, It is recommended to follow your manufacturers suggestions on service intervals. Typically at 30k, 60k, and 100k miles are the more expensive visits. This is due to transmission flushes, coolant services, fuel system flushes, and so on. You can choose to spread these services out so the cost initially is not so hefty. You can also opt to have these services done else where for a possible cheaper cost than the dealer price. Hope this helps! Thanks for writing into AskPatty. A. J. Pierce

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Since you did not list the services the dealer recommended you do for your car - I can't really let you know if you need them or not... BUT: at 45,000 miles your car would be due for an Automatic Transmission Flush & changing the Rear Differential Fluid at 60,000 miles your car would be due for a Tune-up, and after 3 yrs, your car may be due for a Cooling System Power Flush. I recommend they test the PH of the coolant at this time to see if it needs changing. The Timing Belt is not due to be changed until 105,000 miles. Regarding the Air Filter & Cabin Air Filter - they get changed on a As Needed Basis & should be checked each time you go in for an oil change.

Barb Petrey, President - DBK Enterprises Inc at Jiffy Lube According to your manufactures recommendations you should be changing your front and rear differentials every 15,000 miles along with your transmission, your cooling system is every 30,000 miles. You can look in your owners manual for further information. These services are for severe driving conditions which most driver's drive. Your owners manual also has that information too for the severe conditions. If you feel the dealer is too costly you can shop around for price.

Julie Scroggins, Vice President, CFO at Waukegan Tire and Supply Company Inc. Hello Maria, Great question. First of all $19.95 is a great price for an oil change, especially if it comes with coffee, doughnut or a free car wash, that many dealerships offer. The dealership does offer some benefits that independent repair shops don’t have such as original equipment replacement parts, factory trained technicians (in some cases), and scheduled maintenance data logging that will show up on your Carfax history. However sometimes the dealerships will over inflate the price of basic visual inspections, and use scare tactics like telling you that your warranty will be void if you don’t have all your maintenance done through them. That is not true. As long as you have your vehicle serviced when scheduled, by an ASE certified technician, and keep all your service records, your warranty will be valid. Generally the 30,000 mile interval is a larger service. I pulled up the recommended service schedule for your vehicle using Alldata. Besides the oil change and basic inspections, they recommended an air filter, and a brake fluid flush. Nothing in there about servicing transfer case or differentials at this mile marker. This entire service should cost less than $200. Not on the list, but very important IMHO is a transmission fluid flush (for most vehicles) and a fuel filter every 30-40K. My best advice to you would be to have the dealership explain exactly what they are going to do for you and go through the list per line item, and find out what they are going to charge you for each service. Then shop around. Find a reputable shop that will listen to your concerns and treat you fairly. If you do use an independent shop, be sure to have them fill out your maintenance log and initial it. You could go online to investigate any shop through the Better Business Bureau’s website. Ask your friends and relatives who they use. I hope this has answered your question.

Kerri Papajohn, Marketing Director at USA Sealants, Inc. Hi, I am assuming by large services you are inquiring about the maintenance which includes fluids, plugs, etc. Here is Subaru's recommended maintenance shedule: http://www.cars101.com/subaru/subaru_maintenance1.html. Your dealer should only be asking you to replace the "R" and "P" under "30". And I say you can skip on the plugs if your car is running fine till possibly even 100K. You can also skip on the brake fluid till your brakes are replaced or 60,000 miles (though some cars never "ever" need the brake fluid replaced). If you want, you could even use You Tube to help guide you through: Air cleaner and engine filter replacement to save money.

Lori Johnson, Owner and Instructor at Ladies Start Your Engines Dear Maria, First of all you need to maintain your vehicle to keep your warranty valid. This being said, I think the 30,000 mile services are important. Many of the fluids need to be changed at this time and other items checked. Look in your owner's manual to see exactly what needs to be serviced at the 30K. Keep in mind that you don't need to have this service done at a dealership. Any shop can do it as long as you keep your receipts. I strongly suggest that you do the recommended services at this interval so that you don't develop problems down the road. Lori Johnson www.ladiesstartyourengines.com

Pat Fleischmann, Director of First Impressions at Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair It is always to your benefit to have these recommended services performed.  The recommended services will keep your vehicle maintained and will ultimately keep the vehicle in good condition to avoid possible break downs.  Also, by performing these services you will be keeping you warranty intact.  If what they are asking seems a bit much, I would consult your owner’s manual. I refer to the owner’s manual as my “Bible” and I do exactly what the manual says to do, when it says to do it.  There is a section in the manual that outlines when maintenance services should be performed.  The difference here is, the owner’s manual will be the voice of Subaru, whereas your dealer might be adding additional services in order to gain additional sales.  Keep in mind, some recommended services are recommended based on where you live.  For instance, in Arizona we recommend certain services be performed above and beyond what the manual recommends.  You might consult another dealer in your same town and see what they recommend at this mileage interval.  See if they are recommending the same services be performed.  If so, we would recommend you have these services done.     

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