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45K Subaru service necessary?

I have 46K miles on my 2007 Subaru Outback sedan. I recently had the oil change done at the dealership but didn’t want to have the extended service done there - too expensive. I put new tires on at 41K miles and can get them rotated them now for free. I’ve talked with 3 independent garages. Once said the 45K service wasn’t necessary, to wait for the 60K service. According to Subaru, the following should be done now: change air filter and in-cabin HEPA filter, brake fluid flush & conditioner, fuel & oil conditioner, check brakes, hoses, battery. The other two garages said to do it. Is it necessary?

Sounds like a wallet flush…Key words: “Flush and Conditioner” Can you find those words in your owners manual?? I don’t think so…

You should learn how to change the air filters yourself, if indeed they need to be changed…

Here are my comments, based on what we do for our Subarus, in compliance with their warranty requirements. Appears your dealer want to increase his profits.
change air filter: should have been done at 30K. If so, 15K can be premature.

In-cabin HEPA filter: optional for you; again 30/60/90K makes as much sense. Probably a DIY item also.
Brake fluid flush: usually done on a 30/60/90K cycle with good success.

brake fluid conditioner: probably not needed; check owner’s manual

fuel & oil conditioner: neither needed, or DIY with aftermarket products of your choice

check brakes: we do brake check on 30/60/90K cycle with mechanic telling me if they can’t go another 30K

hoses: checked on a 30/60/90K cycle.

Battery; annual normal maintenance. No special test or much required unless it fails.

Air filter is pretty easy, you should be able to this yourself. Cabin filter could be easy too, see if there are “how to change” instructions in the owner’s manual.

Fuel and Oil Conditioner, what is that? These are just profit generators for the dealer.

It looks like about the right time (3 years) for a brake fluid flush, which any garage can do. The “checks” anyone can do as well.

What the Subaru dealer recommends for 45K service and what the Subaru owner’s manual list as the manufacturer’s recommendations are not the same. The dealers pump up the profits with flushes, and conditioners, and other items beyond the mfg’s recommendations. These extra dealer services do nothing to add life or value to the car. They are good for the dealer’s profit and bad for your wallet. Get out your owner’s manual and review it carefully to get the info and answers you need.

I would change oil & filter, air filter, in-cabin filter, change the brake fluid if car has ABS (forget “flush” and “conditioner”), forget fuel and oil conditioner, check brakes, hoses and battery. Read your ownwer’s manual; it has most likely fewer tasks than the dealer recommends.

Most of these are are normally required services for a modern car with ABS brakes. It seems your dealer is “enhancing” the required services with some quick extra money-making “services” probably not mentioned in your manual.

For instance, you categorically do not need fuel and oil “conditioner”; these items are already in all modern oils and fuels.

The things that really matter at 45,000 miles are:

  1. Change automatic transmission fluid and filter.
  2. Drain cooling system and replace with fresh coolant specified in the manual.

The 46,000 mile services you mention, minus the ones you don’t need should not be too expensive at an independent garage.

On my Toyota, the manual at 40,000 miles calls for:

  1. INSPECT fuel system
  2. INSPECT valve clearance
  3. Replace cabin air filter

The dealer total for this is $164.90! I realize a Toyota is not a Subaru, but the services you need should be done if you want to own this Subaru for a long time.

what does the owner’s manual say you need done at 45k miles?

Take your owners manual wherever you have your work done, even the dealer if you wish and tell them you want everything done that your manual requires you to do and nothing else (unless there is something You want done) because it is Subaru and not your dealer that warranties your car.

There is a difference, sometimes a big difference, between the factory maintenance schedule and the “dealer recommended” maintenance schedule. The dealer often proposes “more” maintenance than is required by the factory, simply to increase their profit.

You need to read the factory maintenance schedule, which is included in your owner’s documentation. There’s no need to do anything more than the factory engineers recommend. Make sure you don’t fall under the “severe service” schedule.

It is inspections not any fluid changes. I do not perform the 15k services on my Subaru’s except for oil change and change the air filter myself.

Here is the schedule>>>

These sound like dealer-recommended wallet flushes. Is this correct? I’ve never seen an official owner’s manual recommend flushes.

The only dubious thing I see on the list is the oil/fuel conditioner. Yes, the brake fluid is due for a change and you can bet your bottom dollar the air filter should have been done long ago.

The factory owners manual recommendations are notoriously chintzy and do not recommend what is really needed because the factory wants the car owner to have the impression they own a car that doesn’t need to have the hood raised for a 100k miles. It’s a PR stunt and they all do it, not just Subaru.

Example? Your car have an automatic transmission? If so, the fluid should have been changed at 30k miles. Compare that to the manual and you’ll probably see what a load of garbage the owners manual really is.

Do some net searches about Honda owners who followed the owners manual recommendation about extended valve lash inspections and wound up with engine damage by doing so.
And so on and so on, ad nauseum.

If the OP is performing the 30k services on their Subaru which are inclusive of 15k intervals they are maintaining the car well. Subaru still has not gone to the “maintenance free” schedule.

People who typically buy Subaru’s do not focus on the maintenance schedule or lack thereof. It is a niche car that is one of the few makers who is actually growing not shrinking in sales this year.

Why, oh why, oh why can’t the OP (and many other people) simply utilize the very clearly written maintenance schedule that is sitting in the glove compartment? Surely Subaru didn’t put it there just to take up space.

A simple perusal of the maintenance schedule will reveal that the only major services are at 15k, 30k, 60k, 90k, 120k, 150k etc. At all of other intervals, the maintenance consists of simply changing the motor oil (and filter), and rotating the tires.

The dealership would like to add many things to that short list, but for anyone astute enough to open the glove compartment and read the booklet sitting in there, the dealer’s “extras” are clearly not called for by the people who designed and built the car.

There–That wasn’t so difficult, was it?

What the heck is Oil Conditioner???

As a long time Subaru tech, service manager, and warranty issue wrangler (both with wrenches and paperwork) I’ve seen firsthand how some of their skewed policies and recommendations work. My opinion of corporate Subaru (SOA) is not very good based on many dealings with them.

If SOA was completely forthright then SOA wouldn’t have covered up a steering rack problem to avoid a Recall being issued and they wouldn’t have smashed up countless hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of brand new parts right off the shelf in the name of their “Obsolescence Program”. And by smash, I mean literally; with a large hammer.
From windshields to master cylinders to alternators; they all had a face to face meeting with Mr. Hammer.

So let me pose this question as an example and feel free to vote on it.
Subaru says forget changing the automatic transmission fluid. I say it should be changed every 30k miles and vote no on their policy.

I’m with you on changing the fluid at 30,000-40,000 or so regardless of what the company says. Their recommendation will most certaintly get the car past the warranty expiration mileage or date. A very good reason not to buy a high mileage used Subaru.