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Tire Rotation/Balancing Needed at 7,500 Miles?

We have a Suburu Outback 2011, the 7,500 servicing includes $65 for tire rotation and balancing. Is this really necessary if we are not experiencing any problems? They apply pressure by saying their lifetime warranty (have no idea what is covered under this, but it is diff from 3yr warranty)

Tire rotation should be done…but balancing probably isn’t needed. And unless you’re experiencing any problems I’d skip the balancing.

What brand of tires. I know that a Bridgestone/Firestone tire store (company store) will rotate those brands free, balancing would be extra.

The OP needs to open his/her glove compartment, take out the booklet entitled Maintenance and Warranty, and read the actual maintenance schedule. By doing so, he/she will find out that the manufacturer specifies tire rotation every 7,500 miles.

Is this 7,500 rotation schedule arbitrary? Absolutely not.
If you don’t rotate your tires on a consistent basis, you will cause damage to the expensive AWD system.
And, the warranty would not cover this damage because failure to abide by the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule constitutes owner negligence. Consistent tire rotation is necessary on all vehicles with AWD.

Is the balancing necessary? Possibly not.
However, the front suspension on the new-design 2010-11 Outback has shown itself to be very sensitive to minor tire imbalances, just like some other new cars on the market.

If you are really trying to save money, you could try skipping the tire balancing and seeing whether the steering wheel is still devoid of shaking at high speed. If the steering wheel is steady after tire rotation, then balancing is not necessary. However, you would be VERY foolish to try to skip tire rotation, just as you would be very foolish to skip any other maintenance specified in the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.

Read that maintenance schedule!

A Subaru needs the tire circumferences to match within a small tolerance to avoid drivetrain damage. Rotation is strongly recommended to help with this.

…it’s not just strongly recommended.
It is required in order to keep warranty coverage on the AWD mechanism and transmission in effect.

I get my tires rotated and balanced at about that interval, but $65 seems pretty high to me. If you pay an extra $15 per tire when you buy your tires, you can usually purchase “lifetime balance and rotation” so you don’t have to pay $65 every 7,500 miles.

“If you pay an extra $15 per tire when you buy your tires, you can usually purchase “lifetime balance and rotation” so you don’t have to pay $65 every 7,500 miles.”

Or, you could buy your tires at Costco, where the low price includes lifetime rotation, balance, and puncture repair.

However, this is a new car that the OP is talking about, with the tires that came with the car–as delivered from the factory. So–it is very unlikely that the OP will find any merchants or garages willing to do a free rotation of tires that were not purchased from them.

Regularly rotating the tires is important on AWD vehicles, but unless there’s evidence of anomolous wear or a ride problem, rebalancing is not. A good tire indexed and balanced on a car in good shape and properly aligned will maintain it balance.

And IMHO $65 is outrageous. Typical dealership cost, but outrageous. You ahould know that your warranty will remain intact if you have the work doen elsewhere, as long as you keep your copies of the shop orders as evidence that you’ve kept up with the required maintenance schedule. It does not have to be done at the dealer.

For those “lifetime” warranties by dealer you have to perform all maintenance they want otherwise they null the dealer warranty lifetime warranty. Basically all your maintenance at dealer funds this typically at high rates.

To maintain the manufacturer warranty simply follow your maintenance booklet or section of owners manual.

Rotating the tires is a good idea on a Subaru. Otherwise if uneven wear occurs you CANNOT replace tires in pairs but have to replace all four at once. So its better to spread around.

This is a major disadvantage to AWD vehicles.

See what the dealer charges for just rotating the tires. You should rotate the tires for an AWD car. If they charge the same as for rotate and balance, find someone else to do it. It is possible that your wheels might be out of alignment, but only if yo hit a lot of potholes on the highway or drive over speed humps too fast. Actually, find someone else to maintain the Outback for everything.

I wonder if these dealership does “lifetime” tires for free.

The $20-$30 upcharge on rotation over a series of them will cover the cost of “free” tires for life some places offer like my local Subaru dealer. This warranty only applies if you do every bit of maintenance their.

When they instilled this program (not part of) I found prices leaped. However I use a 3% credit card kickback to pay for occasional repairs but they are excessively expensive. Eg O2 sensor replacement was $360.