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Tune Up Price for a Subaru

I have a 97 Subaru Legacy Outback. I had to replace the engine at 120,000 miles (I had bought it 6 months earlier). I’m now nearing 200,000 miles and my mechanic recommends a tune up. He gave me a list of things including spark plug replacement, various inspections, and a fuel injection service. It would run me $620. Is this reasonable? I’ve seen some other postings for $250. He didn’t mention anything about a timing belt - should that be expected?

If an independent mechanic (as opposed to a dealership) is charging that much, it damn well better include a timing belt! Even at a dealership, a 60k/120k major service (which includes EVERYTHING except a timing belt) usually runs somewhere in the area of $350.–$400.

ADDENDUM: I would recommend replacing the water pump as well as the timing belt. Hopefully that incredibly inflated price includes both procedures.

The major service at 30/60/90/120K miles runs about $550 for an Outback at the dealership. This includes an “inspection” of the fuel systems, lines and connections, but not actually “servicing” them. For the most part, this major service includes spark plug and air filter replacement, coolant drain and refill, changing the break fluid, and rotating the tires. Everything else is just “inspected.” $620 for a major tune-up from an indy mechanic seems unreasonably high, unless he is including the timing belt–which I highly doubt since he would have mentioned it otherwise. Maybe he’s planning on taking care of some previously neglected items that wouldn’t normally be included in a tune-up? I would probably shop around for a different mechanic.

The dealership that I use charges somewhere in the $350.–$400. range, and in addition to the items that you mentioned, that includes a transmission fluid change, an oil change, changing the fuel filter, servicing the differential and cleaning the injectors. My dealer is beginning to sound better and better.

I would change the plugs, run it til it dies and get another car after that. I really wouldn’t, but the question I have is: How long do you want to run that thing? Or, better. How much are you trying to save here, and is it worth it to keep the old thing going? It could be worth it to you but maybe not to someone else. I would save most of that money for maintenance after the head gaskets blow out, or use it for a newer car when the big failure happens. You should be operating in worry-free territory here. Your money skills are admirable so I think you will come to the right conclusion.

There really is no such thing as a “tune up” anymore, since the car’s computer “tunes” the engine as you drive. New plugs and wires, and maybe an oil and filter change, is about it. I’d like to know what this expensive mechanic is going to “tune.”

You need a new timing belt, and if the belt is included in the price quoted, the price is OK. Otherwise it’s outrageously expensive.

Ask for a detailed list of what will be done during this “tune up.”

By the way, skip the fuel injection service. It’s unnecessary and worthless. Gasoline has fuel system detergents in it, and that’s all you need.

Thank you so much for all of your replies, you have no idea how helpful it is!! I just came back from the mechanic, and I asked for a detailed list of what the tune-up includes. It does NOT include a timing belt. It is an “electronic tune up” - new spark plugs, air filter, PCV valve, fuel filter, distributor cap and ignition rotor, and also has a fuel injection service. I will call some dealerships. I’m curious how necessary much of this is? I just had the front brakes done and a transmission service. Since it’s getting close to 60,000 miles since the engine was replaced, so is it time for a timing belt?

I pretty much agree with the electronic tune-up part of this, although the words “tune up” are not really appropriate anymore.
Rather than cap/rotor replacement, I would examine them for burning or carbon tracking. If there is none, they can be re-used, but I would replace the plug wires if they’re the originals.

Mileage is not the only factor in timing belt replacement; time is an issue also. Rubber dry rots and a belt that is 5 years or so old has a chance of breaking no matter the mileage.

One area that should be examined when a “complete” tune up (bad words again) is done is valve lash adjustment.
Depending on the engine you have some models have mechanical lifters and a regular inspection and adjustment should be performed, although Subaru, Honda, Toyota, etc make recommendations of a 100k miles on this.
Pure bunk IMHO. They’re not the ones having to pay for damaged cylinder heads due to lash problems.

If you’re not familiar with which engine you have look at the sticker under the hood. There should be a spec given for “Valve Lash”. It will either give some numbers about Intake/Exhaust clearances or say something to the affect of N/A, with the latter meaning they’re hydraulic lifters and no adj. check is necessary.
Hope that helps. :slight_smile:

If your mechanic is charging $620. for that relatively short list of parts and procedures, I really think that he is trying to take advantage of you. His price is at least $350. more than it should be for that short list of services, and his list omits a lot of things that are recommended by the manufacturer for that mileage interval.

Getting less and paying more? I don’t think so!

Your dealer does sound pretty good. I left out the oil/filter change, but everything else you mentioned costs extra on top of the $500-$550 that Wilkins Subaru in Glen Burnie, MD charges…They sack you for an extra $150 for the transmission service alone.

Your Mechanic is a liar and a thief, You have no distributor cap and ignition rotor. Report him to the BBB and Yelp and leave a Google review. That’s $100.00 in Parts and 1 hr labor. And $80.00 for the FI Service.

Why are you replying to ME, instead of the OP?
She was the person who stated that her mechanic was going to change the non-existent distributor cap and rotor.

In any event, responding to a post that is more than a decade old is essentially pointless, as I really doubt that the OP still owns this car.

And the people who run this forum can’t seem to understand why some of us want the old threads closed. As for the statement that it adds to the discussion , right maybe 1 time out of 100 .