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Did my friendly Subaru dealer get over on us?

Little dilemma here, is our local Subaru dealer trying to help us or get their freebies back and then some? We bought a new Outback and they said bring it back every five thousand miles for free service for two years. While we brought it back without reading the fine print, we got free oil and filter changes ($69 with synthetic oil), tire rotation ($20), multi-point inspection, and state inspection ($16/year in Virginia).

So here’s the problem. We brought it back before the two year period and because it had 30K on the odometer the dealer took the car in, never said a word, and did the 30K service at our expense because we had already gotten our “four free services,” the service manager said afterwards. The bill was $545!

Brake flush $150 and the fluid was a clear as the day it was new.

Front and rear differential fluid change $200. The maintenance schedule said “Inspect” but the service manager said it looked dirty so they changed it.

Air filter $34 never asked if we had changed it or said if it was actually dirty.

Cabin filter same, $50.

Did we get taken or are they trying to get the car to go the distance without problems?

My only surprise here is that you didn’t get charged for the 25k service. That maintenance agreement clearly says 2 year/24,000 mile in big letters, not in the fine print.

In my opinion, the front and rear differential oil changes were bogus, but then I did not actually see the oil, but if it was bad, then I’d suspect the differentials have defects in them and should be replaced. You might want to mention this to the dealer and threaten to call the Subaru CSR if they don’t replace those differentials under warranty. Bet you see some back peddling on that.

All the rest is legitimate, a little over priced but legitimate. But dealers tend to be that way. You might want to look for a good independent mechanic, not a chain store mechanic, to take care of your vehicle from now on.

It is a bad practice imhop to not alert you to the charges for additional costly services that will be performed, You may find this an interesting read.

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Yes, they pulled a fast one. No work should ever be done on a car without prior authorization. You should send a letter to the person in charge at your dealer… if that doesn’t work then send the same letter to one of these 3 people at the main office and tell them you want Subaru to pay this bill. I complained about a service and got a $100 coupon. Worth a try. I am also now going to a local place I trust rather than the Subaru dealer.

This one of those unable to blame anyone without being there when vehicle was checked in. All Len can do is talk to the service manager and ask for proof the work was authorized. No satisfaction there then keep moving up the ladder.

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If there is a signed repair order the states to perform the 30,000 mile service the work was authorized.


Yeah I think they should have gotten your OK first if there was a charge, but still its not like the work was not needed. I will disagree a little on the front and rear differentials. Acura said to replace the rear lube at the first 10,000 miles than at 30 K both the transfer case and rear differential along with the transmission fluid. And with that CVT transmission, I’d not skimp on fluid changes. OEM filters are also not cheap anymore so they essentially charged $20 a piece to replace them. So I don’t know, register your complaint and maybe they’ll give you an oil change or something. Still I don’t think four oil changes in 30K miles is anything to brag about. I do 5000 mile changes.

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here’s an important question . . .

Did you deal with the same service writer, as on your previous visits, the ones where you were not charged?

If so, I’m wondering why he didn’t say “I’m glad to see you again. This time we’ll have to charge you for the service, because you’ve already received your four free services. Do you want us to proceed?”

You took the cae in for a 39,000 mile service and you got one. If your contract with them to purchase a car states you get free service for two years and 24,000 miles, you don’t get a free 30,000 mile service.
You should always ask what a service includes and what it costs. The necessary service is in your owners manual, many dealers list additional work for a 30,000 mile service but all you need to do is tell them you are only authorizing the work listed in your owners manual and if they feel anything elase needs to be done they beed to get authorization from you.

We are at 26 mo on our 2yr old civic. Dealer charges $20 for syn oil changes. He did say cabin filter looked fine last month. I did read at 20k to inspect everything and do fuel inj service? And just oil and rotate tires at 25k

You have a maintenance schedule in your glovebox. What does it say your Subaru needs at 30,000 miles? If they did anything extra without your explicit approval, they cheated you. They should have called to say that the other items were needed and ask for approval.

It depends on what was printed on the repair order, some dealers offer a choice between “Factory minimum 30,000 mile service” and “Dealer recommended 30,000 miles service”.

We people think everything is free sometimes they don’t pay attention to the details.

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I’d kinda feel like I wasted money if I paid for a brake fluid flush and differential oil change at 30k miles. Unless I was maybe using the car for rally racing or something.

What does the manual say to do at 30k miles? Probably an oil change, air filter change (maybe) and “inspect” the rest.

I found it kinda funny, the Toyota manual says to inspect the drivers side floor mat every 5k miles. So far, it’s still there.

2016 Outback schedule:

It clearly indicates brake fluid to be replaced at 30K

differentials is “I - inspect”, so it was not needed

OP can find this table in glove box, “Warranty and maintenance” booklet :slight_smile:

The differential gear oil may not have appeared to be “dirty” but how can anyone determine this without being there. If you give a shop the opportunity to repair as needed they will probably perform any maintenance that appears to be necessary.

from what I recall on my prior Subies, for rear one you unscrew a plug and put your finger there to both check level and get an idea if it is dirty or not

for the front one: it has a dip-stick

Now that seems odd. Is 30k miles the general recommendation by most manufacturers for a brake fluid exchange? Seems awful early.

my 2012 Nissan Altima: replace brake fluid at 30K under “normal” schedule and 15K for “severe” one

for some reason it is an urban myth that brake fluid does not need the be changed… ever :slight_smile:

Yeah? Learned something new. I was trying to look up 2013 Toyota Highlander maint schedule right now cause it’s too cold to go look in the glovebox.

I’ve recently observed the consequence of NOT changing brake fluid in my daughter’s 2007 Altima.

She bought it at 68K and I’ve replaced fluid immediately, it was not extremely dirty, but definitely was not changed from the factory, it was greyish color, especially on back calipers.

Fast forward 1.5 years.

Fortunately, it was not yet cold this December when her right rear caliper started to stick a little bit: I’ve observed it by comparing brake pads on left/right when rotating tires.

I’ve bought a set to replace rubber pieces in calipers and upon opening caliper on that side (to compare to left side) I found it had some internal corrosion setting up. Sure enough, this is where darker color of the old fluid was coming from.

Fortunately it was not yet to the point of needing caliper replacement, so cleanup and reassembly made it work like new again