2008 Subaru Forester 60K Maintenance

My 2008 Forester has 60,000 miles on it and I’d like to keep it a while longer but don’t have the $400-$600 for the 60K maintenance suggested by the Subaru dealer where I bought the car. I know there’s stuff in their suggested maintenance that I probably don’t need. Does anyone know what REALLY needs to be done to keep this car in good running condition?


Have you priced an independent mechanic instead of the dealer? Are you sure the dealer is intending to do only the work listed in your owner’s manual?

More important, if you don’t tell us what’s included in that service, how do you expect us to answer your question?

For what it’s worth, skipping scheduled maintenance often leads to more expensive repairs down the road. If money is tight, servicing a car properly is the smarter choice.

A Subaru owner who is cheap? Never heard of that.

Subarus HAVE to be maintained properly. Read your owner’s manual and let us know what it includes. We’ll coment on what is absolutely necessary, and what can be postponed for a while.

An independent shop will do all this for less.

Click the “Mechanics Files” tab on this page to find a recommended local mechanic.

Follow what’s in the owners manual. You can have it done elsewhere. But you MUST use Subaru coolant to keep the troublesome head gaskets in shape (maybe).

Find a reputable independently owned and operated shop, show him the recommended maintenance in the manual, as ask his judgement on what’s critical and what’s not. Even if he says it’s all needed, you’ll still save money over a typical dealership.

The required/suggested 60K maintenance is the MINIMUM required to keep the vehicle running smoothly within the warranty period.

If you are going to sell the vehicle at say 150K - this works out fine. If you would like to still be driving it; and have a reliable vehicle at 600K - you need to be considering maintenance that is not even mentioned to be done. And considering the vehicle and systems - from Front to Back.

You wish to have the maintenance performed. Just are not super rich. Make AutoZone, O’Reilly’s; RockAuto, etc. your friends. You can obtain car parts from them - MUCH cheaper. Later, when you have a bit of funds - you can also purchase a Factory service manual from http://www.books4cars.com Also, ‘AllData’ (autozone owns it) has various subscriptions - but I find it difficult to use… Purchase an after-market Service Manual.

Arrange for a couple of mechanically inclined friends to come over and help you with the required 60K service. 60K is usually something which the average DIY can do themselves. This will get this done much, MUCH cheaper; and will also start teaching you about your car; and what actually goes on with it; and how they work…

Also, please be aware that many spark plugs are now ‘life-time’ or 100K plugs. These can be difficult to remove when the time comes.

So, it might not be a bad idea to just remove each plug; (take a quick look at them) and put a little ‘anti-seize’ on the threads; and re-install. This will ensure that you are able to easily remove them - when they need to be replaced.

Ok, here is my 2 cents worth. My '09 Forester has 70k miles and I did the 60k service in July. Here is what I know based on that. I had my local shop do the 60k svc which covered synth oil change, frt and rear diff fluid and trans flush and change. The cost was $433. In Jan 2012 I had my dealer (where I bought it) do the 30k svc and the cost was $545 which covered the same plus new plugs. Now before I took it in to the dealer for the 30K svc I called another dealer and got a quote for the same from them. I then called my dealer and got their quote, which was over $100 lower. I made sure they were doing the same things and took it there. for the 30k svc. One big thing is replace your own cabin air filter (if you have one) the dealer labor cost is 1/2 hours labor! Its also cheaper at a parts store. My BIGGEST issue, after MY 60k svc was that my transmission was vibrating during slow acceleration between 3 and 4th gear. Read my question and answer about this problem-search transmission vibration. MY dealer told me NOT to have a detergent trans flush and specifically that Subaru does not reccomend it. Just drain and refill. Hope this helps you.

Absolutely disregard the following advice.

"Also, please be aware that many spark plugs are now 'life-time' or 100K plugs. These can be difficult to remove when the time comes.

So, it might not be a bad idea to just remove each plug; (take a quick look at them) and put a little ‘anti-seize’ on the threads; and re-install. This will ensure that you are able to easily remove them - when they need to be replaced."

The long life plugs are plated with an anti-seize plating. They will not be hard to remove, but removing them early and reinstalling them will disturb the plating and then it could be very difficult to remove them later. Using anti-seize compound will not always help as some of the platings are not compatible with the anti-seize compounds and that can a problem too.

When the 100,000 mile plugs were first used by manufacturers, they were not plated and they did seize in the heads, but that was 20 years ago. There has been progress since then, but some people still haven’t gotten the word.

OK. Don’t wish to steer anyone wrong. Was reminded of the problem and so stated it - from a very recent repeat of a 1999 Car Talk call in show…

Just make sure you replace the coolant with Subaru coolant. Those engines were known head gasket killers.

In 1999 that was a valid concern and a lot of people, especially those who had a bad experience with those early long life plugs freezing in the heads still do not trust them.

While I’ve heard that Subaru addresses the problem, it still seems to come up after about 5 years.

Do the 60 k items piecemeal over time as you change your oil in the next 10 k miles. No one says you must do it all at once and it you have an independent do it, you can often have it done for less. The actual items should be in the service manual…, you should be albe to get inspected items done for nothing…

You should do everything that the owner’s manual requires, not what the dealer shows as “recommmended” services. Now bear in mind that the required maintenance items are the bare minimum required to validate your warranty, and that the long list of items that require inspection may result in additional work to be done. For example depending where you live and drive at 60,000 miles it’s not unusual for brakes to be worn and needing replacement. Your battery may be weak. Serpentine belts may be worn. These items should also be addressed as needed.

As @dagosa stated, you can break these items up over several months, there’s no magic timer that makes coolant good at 59,000 miles but bad at 61,000. But to forgo maintenance because of cost is like saying “I don’t want to get my furnace serviced this winter because I can’t afford for there to be anything wrong with it.”

I don’t want to pay 600 at once cuz I am cheap. And I do not want to pay 150 every 3 months cuz I am still cheap? Refusing to pay it all now or refusing to pay in small chunks is still cheap.