30,000 Mile Service Rip-Off?



The 30,000 mile service is up for my 2006 Subaru Forester. This service costs $429 and includes the following…

Lube, oil & filter Lube hinges & locks Tune-up, replace fuel filter, spark plugs, air filter, PCV valve Cooling system flush & inspection Transmission & Differential Service 4-wheel brake service & fluid flush Tire rotation & balance front tires Adjust emergency brake Check clutch if equipped Inspect hoses & belts Inspect exhaust Check fluid levels General visual inspection Check battery & charging system Road test vehicle

The cost seems a bit excessive. Am I wrong?


Its about right for a dealer and what is listed out in the owners manual. Some of those flushes (differential, transmission) are suggested inspections not flushes though in the manual possibly including the brake fluid. You could remove those and price it down. I pay about the same for my 2004 Subaru WRX and wife’s 2005 Subaru Legacy GT. I do also get a free loaner with that price too at my dealership.

However fortuntely I use a Chase Subaru Mastercard that kicks back 3% of my Mastercard purchases into $100 coupons good for repair/purchase/parts at a Subaru dealer. I never pay for any Subaru service due to this.


Not excessive for a dealer rate. Nissan charges about $300 for the same thing on a 2 wheel drive Sentra. A good private shop will do it for much less. Many of these items you can do yourself, of course. To keep the warranty valid I would have it done by a licensed garage.


Why are they replacing the sparkplugs. They’re usually good til 60k miles or longer. Also why the cooling system flush. That’s usually a lot longer then that also.

Clutch adjustment??? You have a cable clutch or a hydraulic clutch??

I think it’s excessive because some of those services are NOT required.


I could have written Andrew J’s post myself, as my experience is identical, right down to the approximate price range for that service and the loaner car. And, like him, I use the Subaru Mastercard and rarely have to pay anything for those major services, as a result of the nice $100. vouchers that I accumulate. If you want to hold down your maintenance costs, I suggest that you get that credit card also.


That is what I was thinking. It sounds like a lot of “checking” as well. I might have to cherry pick services and see if that lowers the price.

I signed up for the Subaru MC. Should have done that early on to receive the vouchers.


You might be able to bring the cost down by dropping the fluid flushes and doing simple draining and refilling. A simple fluid change might be all that your owner’s manual calls for and dealers are infamous for recommending more than you really need.


What does your owners manual specify as to what should be done? That is a factory recommendation, not a dealer one.

The plug replacement interval is 60k miles but I’m not a fan of leaving plugs in there that long. Many plugs, platinum or not, will have a misfire to some degree by that point although it may not even be noticeable to you. If you want the engine running at it’s optimum then change them. Also, leaving plugs in for a long time could lead to their seizing in the threads. Once somone attempts to remove them it may strip out and bring all the threads with them.

One of the few areas I might deviate from the factory recommendations would be in the transmission fluid area. Many car makers do not recommend changing the trans fluid on an automatic transmission until a 100k mile or never. This is utter stupidity IMHO and should be done at roughly 30k mile increments.
Another area might be the 60k miles fuel filter replacement interval. The filter should be changed every 30k miles and ever more often if any fuel contamination is even suspected. Filters are cheaper than fuel pumps.

Note that the car makers usually cover themselves with a “severe service” disclaimer. About 99%+ of all vehicles fall into this category.

The service is not a rip-off. The recommendations are made by the factory, the price is given up front, and it’s up to you as to whether you choose to have them do this job, farm it out, or do it yourself.


The price seems a little on the high end, but not outrageous, which is what I expect from dealer service prices. All the replacement items and replacing both brake fluid and coolant are probably good ideas. I would only ask that they not use any chemical flush on the cooling system, just flush it with plain water only. In my experience the chemical flushes do more harm than good on healthy cooling systems. Yours is not old enough to have serious scale or corrosion in the block, so chemical flush is not needed.


If it makes you feel any better, $429 is about 120 bucks cheaper than what they charge at the Anne Arundel County, MD area dealerships for that service…and they’ll try to sack you for an extra $150 to change the transmission fluid and an extra $100 on top of that to service the fuel system.


Subaru with non turbo motors plug replacement interval is 30k miles. Coolant and brake fluid is every 30k miles. I believe the rest of services are inspections but many dealer replace because they assume severe conditions.


In the Milwaukee area, the dealers are quoting $459 for the 30K service. This was on my mom’s 2003 X with automatic.

My local garage did the service for about $400.

At the 24k service at the dealer, they recommended replacing the back brake pads. My mom didn’t notice the recommendation. During the 30k service, my local garage estimated that the back pads had approximately 50% life left.

I wondered whether the factory recommendation for flushing the brake fluid was overkill. My mechanic said the ABS system on the Subaru is quite sensitive to contamination. At any rate, we had all of the factory recommended work done.

Depending on whether you count the savings by not replacing the back brakes or not, we either saved $60 or perhaps $260 by having the job done at the local garage.


If I were able-bodied and had to do that work myself, I would still pay that price and think it was a bargain. Plus, you don’t have to take the fluids somewhere to dispose of them yourself. Too bad they won’t actually do all the work.