Maintenance on a 2003 Subaru Forester

subaru
forester

#1

I’m at about 105K miles. The Maintenance Schedule chart shows. Replace camshaft drive belt, engine oil, and oil filter, and inspect disk brake pads, steering, suspension, front and rear wheel bearing lubricant. At 120K, there’s a lot more to do. Tire rotation is suggested about every 10K miles. This all seems reasonable, but I thought I’d ask for comments anyway.



However, per my recent post on timing belts, I see no mention of a timing belt or chain. Does it have one?


#2

Camshaft drive belt = timing belt

Yep, all reasonable. At the 120k also change the coolant, brake fluid, and trans. fluid, using Subaru-compatible brands (I don’t remember if those changes are specified).


#3

Texases is 100% correct on all counts.

All of the listed services should be performed at 105k miles, but at 120k all fluids and all filters should be changed, rather than simply inspected. The fluid that is most important in terms of compatibility is the coolant, because only Subaru’s own-brand coolant has an added ingredient to prevent head gasket problems. The other fluids are “generic”, and any brand is okay, as long as it is the type that is specified by Subaru.

Regarding tire rotation, the most important thing is to pick a mileage interval and then stick with that same interval for the life of the car. Subaru recommends tire rotation every 7,500 miles. I suppose that 10k miles is okay, but be sure that you adhere to that schedule. If you later switch to a different interval, you will be contributing to uneven tire wear which can cause very expensive damage to the AWD system.

Personally, I would stick with the recommended 7,500 mile interval for tire rotaton. For me, that works out to every second oil change.

Incidentally, kudos to you for reading the maintenance schedule, and for asking questions.
Based on the incredible number of posts from people who suffered mechanical breakdowns as a result of lack of maintenance, it appears that a very small percentage of the driving public actually opens the glove compartment in order to read the booklets sitting in there!


#4

You can forgo the scheduled maintenance but then the car will not last and perform as well and as long as it will otherwise. So the added burden of these maintenance items$$ is tiny compared to the $$ of replacing the car or major repairs to the car. You can have these repairs done at a shop or your self for less $ then the dealer charges or a combination of each. Happy trails


#5

I plan to let my mechanic do them very soon.


#6

Shop around on a timing belt for a Subaru.

Its a straightforward job on a Subaru for a mechanic who has done one before. My trusty independent did it for $450 including timing belt, tensioner and 3hrs of book labor. A local dealer quoted similar work at $700+.


#7

Waii…it a minute. The maintenance manual chart shows nothing about a timing belt. Are you telling me it has one??


#8

Apparently you missed the first line of texases’ response at the top of the page:
“Camshaft drive belt = timing belt”

You can call it a timing belt or a camshaft drive belt, but it is the same animal, and it is supposed to be changed at 105k miles or 105 months, whichever comes first. If it is not changed, the consequences with an interference design engine like this are…very expensive.

Incidentally, when you have that camshaft drive/timing belt changed, you should also change the water pump, serpentine belt, and all belt tensioners.


#9

Another forgotten procedure is valve lash adjustments. This should be done about every 30k miles but few car owners have this done based on the factory recommendation.

Most people won’t have a problem if this procedure is ignored. If you’re one of the unlucky few, when a problem finally crops up due to this it’s generally too late; especially if an exhaust valve is involved.

Not only is the factory recommendation ill-advised to put it politely, the suggestion that valve lash can be inspected audibly should be considered ridiculous, asinine, laughable, or downright moronic. Any of those words fits.


#10

Cute name. Yes, I missed it. Thanks for catching it.


#11

I did have a known head problem somewhere back at 80K. Not much doubt something was wrong. I think the problem was solved in the 2004 problem.


#12

“… in the 2004 model.” No edit capability here I guess.


#13

You should see a little icon of a pencil in the lower right-hand portion of your posts.
You will not see it in the posts of others.
If you click on the pencil icon, you can edit your posts.


#14

Ah, ha. Thanks. When I noted your suggestion, I thought there was no pencil. However, when I logged on, it’s there. I should say this is one of the better formatted forums I’ve used.


#15

Lucky me. I called my mechanic to arrange a replacement for the timing belt. They said they replaced it back when I had the engine head problem. I’m good to got to 185K miles.