True or Rouse- Use only Subaru oil filters & drain plug



Is this true or a rouse by the Subaru dealer to get you to buy their product?

The dealer wrote:

“Very Important Note:

If you use a quick lube or any other service company besides a Subaru dealership. Make sure you have a Subaru factory oil filter adn drain plug gasket. This is common issue with outside service companies, and can result in possible engine problems. We will gladly mail some oil filters that you can store in your car when you need one.”


I guess there is some truth to it…a cheap oil filter and failure to replace the drain plug gasket by a service station would lead to engine damage. The dealer is taking advantage of that factor in trying to sell you their products.


Since the dealer wrote it, you can safely ignore it. Don’t use the quick lube places, a lot of unskilled labor happens in these types of places and you can’t tell if you’re going to the good one or the bad one. It can fluctuate. The dealer price for oil change isn’t a big expense.


Since it’s from a dealer, not the manufacturer, don’t take it seriously. It is possible the dealership had problems in the past caused by outside incompetency and the car owner expected Subaru to compensate. Or maybe the dealership owner is simply concerned about his monthly boat payment.


Speaking as an ex-Subaru tech, there is some truth to this.
As to the filters, you do not have to use a Subaru filter. You may use any name brand filter or even a WalMart filter, which is just as good.
I think the point they’re making here is that some fast lube facilities may be using some bootleg filters of very dubious quality. These filters are sold dirt cheap to facilties like this and usually come in plain, unmarked boxes. These kinds of filters are pretty shaky IMHO.

As to the drain plug gasket issue, I cannot even count how many frozen Subaru drain plugs, butchered plugs, and screwed up oil pans I’ve had to mess with because someone either:
A. Reinstalled the drain plug without a gasket.
B. Reinstalled the old gasket and overtightened it.

This pulls the threads and may lead to all kinds of grief the next time the oil is changed.

So yes, the dealer could be truthful on the first one if the fast lube joint is using bootleg filters and no doubt at all on the second one.


I would not use a fast lube place because they all have very bad track records. They just don’t get the basics right.

Most any filter available, at least all the brand names ones are fine if they are designed for your car.   That gasket likely should be replaced with each change.  The fast lube places have a tendency to reuse them or just not bothering with them at all, which can cause serious engine damage when the drain plug comes loose and you loose all your oil.  

However the part about going to the dealer for all this is hogwash. You can do it yourself or find a good local independent mechanic to do the work for you the right way.

The dealer will likely do it right, but they have high overhead and they will almost certainly charge you more and in truth they are no better than local independents.