60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

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maroon
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60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by maroon »

Hi! For all you Subaru Forester owners out there (and I believe there's a lot of us!), do you think $599 is a reasonable price for the 60K maintenance service? The local dealership is charging $599 - and I have a $50 off coupon - so final price is $549. The local highly-rated independent charges $557. I guess I could check around further if these prices seem way out of whack!
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goingup
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by goingup »

maroon wrote:Hi! For all you Subaru Forester owners out there (and I believe there's a lot of us!), do you think $599 is a reasonable price for the 60K maintenance service? The local dealership is charging $599 - and I have a $50 off coupon - so final price is $549. The local highly-rated independent charges $557. I guess I could check around further if these prices seem way out of whack!
I'm not a Subaru owner, but my next car may be one. :)

However, I called the Toyota dealership last week to find out how much the 60K service was for my RAV4. It was $299 but included only an oil change, engine filter change, cabin air filter change, tire rotation, and brake check. That's not worth it to me because an oil change costs $45, a cabin air filer costs $30 and I can get my tires rotated and brakes checked for free. My advice is to find out exactly what they perform at 60K service and find out if it's worth it.
JDot
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by JDot »

I agree with last poster. Ask them what they are doing. Or heck, better yet, look in the manual and determine what you need done. Then call them up and directly get quotes for "transmission fluid change", etc.

I could be wrong, but I feel like when you just hand it off to them to do the 60k service is when they screw you.

Do I need my brakes checked? I just had state inspection sticker a month ago where they presumably checked for brake wear.

Anyways- I'm interested to see what other say as I have a forester xt.
dbr
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by dbr »

Wasn't there just another thread where the conclusion was to read what is recommended in the manual and get an estimate for that?

More likely the real danger to accelerated costs is the shopping list of things they will find "need attention" after they do the proposed service.
BlueFin
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by BlueFin »

I would perform the maintenance that the owners manual suggests but none of it needs to be done by the stealership. Any good auto shop can do basic preventative maintenance for a lot less money.
rustymutt
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by rustymutt »

60K Maintenance includes? Without knowing what's included, it's hard to say one way or the other.
But I'd avoid the dealership, as some others have also suggested.
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FiveDriver
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by FiveDriver »

When I google the list of services provided by Subaru at the 60K mark, I see a lot of "Inspect" and "Lubricate" this or that. It looks to me like a glorified Oil Change. They do mention the Trans and Differential Fluids, but the Indy Mechanic can do that also.

Do you jeopardize your warranty if an Indy does this Service ??

If the Dealer is within $50 bucks of the Indy......I'd probably let the Dealer do the Service.
Andyrunner
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Andyrunner »

My wife was told she was overdue for a 60k checkup (she's at 75k). Spoke to a friend who is a mechanic for another car dealership and he pretty much just said besides the oil change and tire rotations there isn't much they will do that is worthwhile, the rest is just upselling.
CedarWaxWing
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by CedarWaxWing »

For years in HS and college ( i have two doctorates and paid for all my college by working and living on a very limited budget)...

I had beater cars, rebuilt by me with mail order parts, etc. for decades....

Now that i no longer work on my own cars other than doing the simplest of maintainance tasks.... it has become evident that very few dealers ( none in my frame of reference) are as efficient, cost effective, straight forward, polite, honest, or considerate as a better than average independent shop in any most any town. If you have little or no interest in doing any car maintainance yourself, or you are simply too busy with the more important tasks of a busy personal and work life... I would consider making a concerted effort to locate and do business with the verifiably goid independent and moderately priced auto repair shop in your area. Ask around.... talk to people who used to do their own car work who they use, and why they use that shop... In my experience a shop with guys who used to work at dealerships but who got fed up with that arrangement are staffed with factory trained folks who know what they are doing, are less expensive than dealerships, and over time a relationship can be built with the people in such a shop.

A car dealership is like a license to print money.... and the repairs/parts/loans dept is the printing press. The ethics of most car dealerships is no better than that of an FA who specializes in front loaded mutual funds with high AUM fees.

I must admit... i personally have a bias toward doing business with smaller individual businesses.... rather than impersonal mega businesses when possible. The ave car dealership repair shop loves customers who do not understand cars... so they can take advantage of that situation. A good private shop knows that if they do not treat you better than the dealer does... you have other options. The ave dealer tends to behave as if a customer who challenges their recommendations or prices.... is not someone they want to bother with.

The price you mentioned for 60 k routine maint is not a fair price for want you really need to have done..

Best wishes....

M
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tyrion
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by tyrion »

This is my favorite car repair site. I can't vouch for the authenticity of the pricing, but at least it lets you know if what you are being charged is in the right ballpark.

It's a little wonky to navigate and find the 'repair' tab, but well worth it. I link to a 2014 Forester in Seattle, but you can change the zip and year.

http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/ca ... 05&x=9&y=8
harikaried
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by harikaried »

Here's the maintenance schedule for 2012 Subarus:

http://www.cars101.com/subaru/maintenance3.html

The main difference at 60k is to replace accessory belts (e.g., A/C), fuel filter, spark plugs, brake fluid.
Cindyjrn
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Cindyjrn »

$550 isn't terrible for that service. That's actually a pretty extensive service, unlike most cars where it's just oil and filter and inspect everything. It would probably cost you $300 in parts to do it yourself, provided you had the expertise and the proper tools.
Luke Duke
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Luke Duke »

Always keep in mind that service advisors at the dealership work on commission.
Browser
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Browser »

I used to shell out for these dealer milestone maintenance things. Since that time I've learned what a massive ripoff this is. Now I figure you'd have to be completely nuts to pay for this. And that's not even mentioning that I no longer believe they even do some of the stuff that's listed because I've found that out with my own vehicle.
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Cindyjrn
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Cindyjrn »

I think it's very unwise to recommend that somebody skip scheduled maintenance where replacement of critical components is required. It might seem nuts to some, but anecdotal evidence that you don't need to do maintenance because your car lasted for 200,000 miles without it is not evidence at all. There are too many variables that simply can't be accounted for to take a chance not doing maintenance to save a few hundred dollars. That Subaru 60k mile maintenance is pretty extensive.
Browser
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Browser »

Cindyjrn wrote:I think it's very unwise to recommend that somebody skip scheduled maintenance where replacement of critical components is required. It might seem nuts to some, but anecdotal evidence that you don't need to do maintenance because your car lasted for 200,000 miles without it is not evidence at all. There are too many variables that simply can't be accounted for to take a chance not doing maintenance to save a few hundred dollars. That Subaru 60k mile maintenance is pretty extensive.
Why don't you list out these "maintenance" items line by line and then see what it might cost to do them ala carte? Many of them are "inspect rear frammis" things which are no-cost items. Others are things like oil and filter change or transmission fluid change that you may not even need at that mileage point. For example, dealers are still recommending oil changes at 3000 mile intervals, which is ridiculous. Still others are things like "change cabin filter" which they may not even do because you'll never know. I finally changed my own cabin filter and it was so full of dirt and bugs that I know it had never been changed even though it was a line item for several of the milestone maintenances. A competent local mechanic can do the routine inspections and routine maintenance items that are on the list for milestone maintenance for half the dealer cost or less. I don't think people understand how much of dealer profits are tied to their service department and how much it is in their interests to charge customers high service costs. This stuff is a major rip.
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barnaclebob
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by barnaclebob »

Cindyjrn wrote:I think it's very unwise to recommend that somebody skip scheduled maintenance where replacement of critical components is required. It might seem nuts to some, but anecdotal evidence that you don't need to do maintenance because your car lasted for 200,000 miles without it is not evidence at all. There are too many variables that simply can't be accounted for to take a chance not doing maintenance to save a few hundred dollars. That Subaru 60k mile maintenance is pretty extensive.
The manufacturers schedule is likely for someone operating at the 99% of the worst conditions and you do not need to follow the manufacturer's timeline to the letter. Almost any maintenance item is inspectible before you need to actually do it. Unfortunately with mechanic prices its only a small amount more to just do the maintenance than to do an inspection.
jebmke
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by jebmke »

Cindyjrn wrote:I think it's very unwise to recommend that somebody skip scheduled maintenance where replacement of critical components is required. It might seem nuts to some, but anecdotal evidence that you don't need to do maintenance because your car lasted for 200,000 miles without it is not evidence at all. There are too many variables that simply can't be accounted for to take a chance not doing maintenance to save a few hundred dollars. That Subaru 60k mile maintenance is pretty extensive.
Yes, but the dilemma is partly due to the fact that the manufacturers know that their dealerships depend heavily on service revenue so they have an incentive to load up the mileage based service portfolio. There is no natural incentive for the service center to tell you what is needed and what isn't. All parties have an incentive to sell you more than you might need.

The risk of course is that you do nothing and risk bigger problems later or safety.

The owner is really stuck here
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SuperGrafx
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by SuperGrafx »

The thing to keep in mind is that Subarus are all-wheel drive cars, which means they have things like transfer cases and differentials that require fluid changes and maintenance.

These are just regular cars. If you're going to buy an awd car, then you need to be prepared to have the necessary performance done.
Topic Author
maroon
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by maroon »

Hi again! For my 2010 model, the 60K maintenance schedule is this: http://www.cars101.com/subaru/subaru_ma ... aintenance

I do have a relationship with the dealership because I get free oil changes; I'm there every 3,000 miles or so. And the dealership did a "goodwill" repair last year which otherwise would have cost me $750+. So I'm inclined to pay up unless the cost is crazy.

Okay, so I just checked out tyrion's link (thank you!), and it says the cost in my area is $454 - $621. The dealership price ($549 w/coupon) is within the general range. Thanks to all for your input on this!

(As a total aside, I LOVE my Forester and would recommend it to others.)
ponyboy
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by ponyboy »

These so called "maintenance services" are complete bullcrap. If you're changing your oil when you should be and changing the cabin/engine air filter every couple years...what kind of maintenance service is being performed? Anyone can check to see if their brakes are worn...anyone can rotate tires. Dont be a sucker.

I have a toyota corolla...It just hit 100k miles...Ive changed spark plugs, brakes/rotors, water pump/belt, and had to replace tires 2 times. Thats it. Regular oil changes along with tire rotation and I change the cabin/engine air filter each year. It cost like $15 a filter, yep I know its too often but I dont care. What else is someone gonna do to my car that I havent already done? Waste of time and money.
Browser
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Browser »

maroon wrote:Hi again! For my 2010 model, the 60K maintenance schedule is this: http://www.cars101.com/subaru/subaru_ma ... aintenance

I do have a relationship with the dealership because I get free oil changes; I'm there every 3,000 miles or so. And the dealership did a "goodwill" repair last year which otherwise would have cost me $750+. So I'm inclined to pay up unless the cost is crazy.

Okay, so I just checked out tyrion's link (thank you!), and it says the cost in my area is $454 - $621. The dealership price ($549 w/coupon) is within the general range. Thanks to all for your input on this!

(As a total aside, I LOVE my Forester and would recommend it to others.)
Looked at the maintenance schedule and saw that an oil change is recommended about every 3000 miles if you have a turbo engine. That's the first I knew that turbo engines may require more frequent oil changes. Interesting. They also recommend changing spark plugs at 60,000. Most cars these days go to 100,000 on a set of plugs. Wonder why. Brake fluid change every 30,000. Not sure why you ever need to change brake fluid, but be interested to know.
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barnaclebob
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by barnaclebob »

Browser wrote: Not sure why you ever need to change brake fluid, but be interested to know.
Brake fluid (at least DOT 3/4 unsure about DOT 5) absorbs water over time which lowers its boiling point and eventually it will boil under hard braking such as going down from a mountain and you will lose braking ability.

Secondly as it absorbs water the corrosion fighting chemicals in it are depleted and if allowed to go to long your brake system wills start to corrode. If that happens your car is worthless.

Both of these can be inspected for free or very cheap from a competent mechanic, don't replace until they both fail. Manufacturers recommend time or miles for replacement intervals but it depends on your driving and environment.

If you need to replace a caliper, master cylinder or something like that then a brake bleed may be mandatory.
derosa
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by derosa »

Let me see if I understand this. The difference between the dealer and the local highly rated independent garage is $8?

$8??

I am not sure what your question is about. I guess your term for highly rated means that they are pretty darn good? They know what they are doing?

So for the exact same set of services, parts, labor, etc let's say you find someone who will do it for $400. What does that mean to you? To me - it just says someone will always be cheaper. Does that mean always better? Hmmm?
Topic Author
maroon
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by maroon »

Hi derosa! The dealership cost is $599, but I have a $50 off coupon, so my price is $549.
The local independent that specializes in Subarus charges $557. (The shop has Subie in its name.)

I haven't price checked other independent (non Subaru-specific) shops; presumably I could find a lower quote from someone else but I'd ideally prefer to take my car to a Subaru specialist. I just didn't know if ~$600 was reasonable or if I should be checking around more. I don't have any family/friend recommendations for a local mechanic, unfortunately.
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

With a turbo Subaru, I will tell you that while under warrantee, whatever else you do, absolutely, positively, without fail have oil change receipts saved for at least the severe condition service interval. Subaru defines severe service as any use other than storing the car in a hermetically sealed plastic bag and never driving it. Any turbo failure will not be covered without these receipts. And you want to use the oil recommended (new subarus are 0w 20. Subaru has been known to make bad engineering mistakes and come down hard on owners who dont have oil change documentation. Yes, you can do it yourself (I do). I keep a box in my garage and throw the receipts all in there.

Look up the legacy gt banjo bolt screen for one famous screw up by subaru.
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dc81584
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by dc81584 »

Who says you automatically need maintenance service at $60,000 miles? Whenever I get my oil changed, I just ask my mechanic to look things over. If something needs to be fixed, I thank him for his assessment and consider the urgency of the need as it relates to his price quote.
Topic Author
maroon
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by maroon »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Subaru defines severe service as any use other than storing the car in a hermetically sealed plastic bag and never driving it.
Ha! I bought my car "certified" used, and I get FREE oil changes at the dealership. (Absolutely free, not even a disposal fee or whatever.) So I'm following the "severe" maintenance schedule. They also wash my car, too!
UncleBen
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by UncleBen »

We didn't spend that much on maintenance for the entire first 60k miles of our Camry. The more I read about Subarus on this site the less I consider buying one.
Ninegrams
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Ninegrams »

Find a good independent mechanic. Don't feed the stealer!
Bill M
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Bill M »

I look at the list of services done as part of the 60K checkup ($600), and compare it to the list of items done by my local Midas shop with every oil change ($30). Looks like Midas + change spark plugs (~$100) (and there is some doubt whether plugs need to be changed prior to 100K miles).
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fandango
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by fandango »

Always keep In mind that there are 3 legs to the dealerships "profit stool""

1. Sale of new and used cars

2. Service

3. Finance

I do all the service requirements that I can do myself. For example a cabin filter replacement costs $45 to $50 at the dealership. Buy your cabin filter at Walmart for $15 and do it yourself.
jasc15
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by jasc15 »

My car is beyond 60k miles, but the maintenance manual says the following for 60k:
Engine Oil and filter, replace
Service Reminder Indicator, reset
Fuel lines, check
Exhaust System/ check for damage leaks
Spark Plugs/ replace
Coolant Level, check/ adjust
Battery, check fluid level and mounting
Power Steering fluid level, check/adjust
Steering/front suspension, check
Rear suspension, check for wear
Driveshaft joints, check for wear/play
Driveshafts, check boots
Washer fluid level, check/adjust
Check all wiper blades
Cabin air filter, replace
Brake fluid level, check
Parking brake, adjust
Brake pads, check
Brake hoses and lines, check for damage/leaks
Tires, check pressure , wear and condition
Long list, but the only "work" to be done is the oil change, spark plugs (60k seems early, but thats what my manual says) and air filter. The rest is pulling/tugging on the wheels/suspension arms to check for play, and looking for leaky stuff. No way is that all worth $600.
Browser
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Browser »

I think the only reason they do "inspections" is to find stuff they can tell you needs fixed. Now, there's nothing wrong with that necessarily. I was told that a CV boot needed to be replaced, had no reason to doubt the dealer and had it done. However, that isn't always the case. At another dealer for the same car, I was told I needed new transmission fluid because it was "dirty". However, I had just put in new fluid myself so knew it was OK. Another time I was told that the serpentine belt needed to be replaced; however, it had just been replaced by an independent garage. I was also told I needed a new air filter which I had just replaced myself. They never actually looked at this stuff -- they just assumed I was a typical driver who didn't pay any attention to this stuff and wouldn't know the difference. So, if you know and trust the dealer then fine. But otherwise not such a good idea, as some dealer service departments are just looking for ways to make money off you via fraud.
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Cindyjrn
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Cindyjrn »

Hilarious people saying "this is the list of what MY car needs at it's 60k mile service, no way is that worth $600." He's not servicing YOUR car, he's servicing HIS car. It needs belts, fuel filter, oil, oil filter, spark plugs, brake fluid, etc, etc. It's not an oil change. Do the service, don't do the service, it shouldn't matter to anybody else how you maintain your vehicles, but telling somebody else that they don't need to do even a modicum of preventive maintenance is reckless. Vehicles need maintenance. There's hundreds of moving parts inside and outside the vehicle that are exposed to a wide array of temperatures and environmental conditions. Ignoring these items to save a few hundred dollars seems very short sighted to me. If you don't know how brake fluid works or why it needs to be changed or why a vehicle may need belts replaced, maybe you're not the best source of advice. But by all means, keep changing your cabin air filters because that's one maintenance item that has absolutely no bearing on how well your vehicle runs and they weren't even standard equipment on vehicles 15 years ago.
CedarWaxWing
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by CedarWaxWing »

fandango wrote:Always keep In mind that there are 3 legs to the dealerships "profit stool""

1. Sale of new and used cars

2. Service

3. Finance

I do all the service requirements that I can do myself. For example a cabin filter replacement costs $45 to $50 at the dealership. Buy your cabin filter at Walmart for $15 and do it yourself.

I do not know what filters are sold at walmart.... but the diff between the cheap filters and the slightly more expensive filters at my auto parts store is about $10.00 and the apparent quality diff is very evident.... imho the slightly more expensive do it yourself filters are significantly better, and well worth it.

M
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jabberwockOG
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by jabberwockOG »

As others have posted, mileage based maintenance packages are the biggest rip off in thge car industry. These evolved because cars were getting so reliable that service departments were going broke. So they invented the high priced 15,30,45,60, 90, etc maintenance package to milk some added revenue from gullible consumers.

Best way to deal with this is to perform as many diy easy maintenance items yourself - watch utube to learn to change air filter and cabin filters. If possible change you own oil, learn to clean your car's MAF and throttle body. Then check the manual for actual factory maint schedule and pay a pro to do limited services listed below ala cart- it will be way cheaper.

Example from typical factory maint schedule - pay to have these done per the manual and pay specifically just for that item - and shop around for best quote on the service.
Flush brake fluid - every 2 years
Flush radiator coolant - every 3-4 years or 60k miles
Differential fluid drain and fill - every 60k miles
ATF drain and fill - every 30 k miles
tj
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by tj »

Flush brake fluid - every 2 years
Flush radiator coolant - every 3-4 years or 60k miles
Differential fluid drain and fill - every 60k miles
ATF drain and fill - every 30 k miles
I have a 2011 Civic with around 57k miles and I don't know that any of these have ever been done.
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William4u
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by William4u »

tj wrote:
Flush brake fluid - every 2 years
Flush radiator coolant - every 3-4 years or 60k miles
Differential fluid drain and fill - every 60k miles
ATF drain and fill - every 30 k miles
I have a 2011 Civic with around 57k miles and I don't know that any of these have ever been done.
They should be done. Your Civic's differential, like most all FWD cars, is part of the automatic transmission, so the ATF drain and fill will cover that. 4WD, AWD, and RWD cars have a separate differential at the rear of the car.

I do a DIY drain and fill for the ATF and coolant myself on this schedule. I check my brake fluid with a $20 brake fluid tester, and leave it alone if it is within spec.
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jabberwockOG
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by jabberwockOG »

My example list was just that an example - each car depending on its specific options and model year will have a different maintenance list in it's manual. Just check the manual/printed maint list or get on the manufacturer's web site and down load the specific maintenance schedule for your car, model, and year. The list will be very specific with each item requiring maintenance and miles or years of service for each component.

Do minor maintenance yourself, and have more complicated work done on an a la carte basis per the maintenance schedule and it will save you serious money. I do suggest using the dealer for state inspections - take the car to the dealer instead of some random gas station for the state inspection. It will cost the exact same amount - and my dealer washes exterior and cleans/vacuums interior with any service. :wink:
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bottlecap
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by bottlecap »

No, these services are not worth it. Go to an independent and have him check what the manual says to check. Don't take it to the dealer unless you have to. Even if the dealer is honest, they're more expensive.

JT
tim1999
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by tim1999 »

I always ask for specific services (change oil, change coolant, change belts) rather than the "bundled" service which always costs a ridiculous amount. You end up paying for things like "check horn function" (looking at you, Audi).
stlutz
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Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by stlutz »

All of this paranoia over the "stealership" is a little over the top. The "independent mechanic" has one incentive only--to sell you repairs. With the dealership, yes they want to sell you repairs but they also don't want you to think that the particular type of cars they sell are junk. Ever heard of a Corolla driver tell you the dealership tried to sell them a new transmission at 62K?

If you like your dealership, fine. If you like your independent mechanic, fine. They both want to make money off of you, so I wouldn't automatically assume one is more trustworthy than the other.

I agree with the other posters--price the services recommended in your owners' manual and go with that. The price should be about the same at the dealership as at an independent mechanic.
Bidwell
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:50 pm
Location: Jupiter, Fl

Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Bidwell »

BlueFin wrote:I would perform the maintenance that the owners manual suggests but none of it needs to be done by the stealership. Any good auto shop can do basic preventative maintenance for a lot less money.

Holy Bogleheads, No No don't do it. Follow BluFin here. Open your car manual, it will talk about oil and filter changes, tire rotation and perhaps wiper blade replacement. Do those things outside of the "Stealership" and keep your receipts for warranty purposes. Then, drive on. If some part or system is out of sync it will tell you. Not doing the inspections has no implications for your warranty; lubricants, filters must be done for warranty purposes. Do the tire rotations to increase the life of your tires.
tibbitts
Posts: 12865
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by tibbitts »

stlutz wrote:All of this paranoia over the "stealership" is a little over the top. The "independent mechanic" has one incentive only--to sell you repairs. With the dealership, yes they want to sell you repairs but they also don't want you to think that the particular type of cars they sell are junk. Ever heard of a Corolla driver tell you the dealership tried to sell them a new transmission at 62K?

If you like your dealership, fine. If you like your independent mechanic, fine. They both want to make money off of you, so I wouldn't automatically assume one is more trustworthy than the other.

I agree with the other posters--price the services recommended in your owners' manual and go with that. The price should be about the same at the dealership as at an independent mechanic.
This is an excellent point. The equipment and training investment necessary to operate an independent repair shop that services essentially all makes is non-trivial, and somebody is going to pay for that. In recent years, in my admittedly limited experience I've found maybe a 10% difference in price between well-equipped, full-service independents and dealerships. It's not like the independent is going to typically save you 50% on the same service, which is the impression you get from the "stealership" terminology. Yes, you might find an oil-change or some specific service that will be half the cost of a dealership, but not general repairs. I'm sure there are forum members who "know a guy" and somehow get amazing service values, but that's not necessarily something the rest of us can replicate. Independents do have some flexibility in possibly utilizing different, non-OEM parts, which may or may not be better values or just plain better than OEM, so that is a possible consideration that might favor an independent. But it's not necessarily a cost-saving issue.
Ninegrams
Posts: 557
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:12 pm

Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by Ninegrams »

tibbitts wrote:
stlutz wrote:All of this paranoia over the "stealership" is a little over the top. The "independent mechanic" has one incentive only--to sell you repairs. With the dealership, yes they want to sell you repairs but they also don't want you to think that the particular type of cars they sell are junk. Ever heard of a Corolla driver tell you the dealership tried to sell them a new transmission at 62K?

If you like your dealership, fine. If you like your independent mechanic, fine. They both want to make money off of you, so I wouldn't automatically assume one is more trustworthy than the other.

I agree with the other posters--price the services recommended in your owners' manual and go with that. The price should be about the same at the dealership as at an independent mechanic.
This is an excellent point. The equipment and training investment necessary to operate an independent repair shop that services essentially all makes is non-trivial, and somebody is going to pay for that. In recent years, in my admittedly limited experience I've found maybe a 10% difference in price between well-equipped, full-service independents and dealerships. It's not like the independent is going to typically save you 50% on the same service, which is the impression you get from the "stealership" terminology. Yes, you might find an oil-change or some specific service that will be half the cost of a dealership, but not general repairs. I'm sure there are forum members who "know a guy" and somehow get amazing service values, but that's not necessarily something the rest of us can replicate. Independents do have some flexibility in possibly utilizing different, non-OEM parts, which may or may not be better values or just plain better than OEM, so that is a possible consideration that might favor an independent. But it's not necessarily a cost-saving issue.

Here's a common problem, you live in an area where maybe you have one dealership in easy driving distance that specializes in your brand of vehicle, but a number of choices in the independent realm. The dealer knows it has a "captive" clientele of those who will only use a dealer regardless of cost or who don't know any better, whereas the independent is competing not only against the dealer but all the other independents. If one does a little research, it isn't that hard to find an outfit that does good work and is priced reasonably( and often significantly below dealers pricing ). Of course there are always exceptions, the dealer with a heart of gold, etc.etc. My experience has been the "stealer" moniker is appropriate more often than not but YMMV.
RoC
Posts: 151
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:30 am

Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by RoC »

maroon wrote:Hi derosa! The dealership cost is $599, but I have a $50 off coupon, so my price is $549.
The local independent that specializes in Subarus charges $557. (The shop has Subie in its name.)

I haven't price checked other independent (non Subaru-specific) shops; presumably I could find a lower quote from someone else but I'd ideally prefer to take my car to a Subaru specialist. I just didn't know if ~$600 was reasonable or if I should be checking around more. I don't have any family/friend recommendations for a local mechanic, unfortunately.

Check with both establishments and see if you can get a list of the work performed for each one. While the price might be similar after using your coupon, they might not be doing the exact same work. Take the different lists that you got from them, and then compare them to your owner's manual. I'm not 100% sold on cars101, it's a great site, but I've seen it list items in the maintenance schedule on the site that's not listed in the owner's manual.

For example, replacing the fuel filter. The fuel filter on Subarus are now in the gas tank and not easy to change, which is why Subaru now says they're "lifetime" filters, so it's not something the dealership or shop would be doing, but it's something Cars101 still has listed on the maintenance schedule. Cars101 also says you should change your cam belts, but if you check the owner's manual in your car it might not list that as something to perform. I've seen the belt thing being listed/unlisted in a similar Forester to yours. Funny story though, the belts weren't changed because the owner's manual didn't say to do it at the 60k mile maintenance, but then the next winter (at about 65k-70k miles) the belts started squealing in the cold. So they ultimately got changed in the Spring.

Look at what each shop says they'll do for the price quoted, then compare them to the list in the owner's manual. Pick the items you don't want to do yourself, and then call the shops and get a quote for just those items. It'll probably save you some money doing it that way, because sometimes they charge exorbitant amounts for simple jobs like changing air filters. Check YouTube and you'll find plenty of videos showing step by step instructions on how to perform the simple things you can do yourself.

Looking at the list given on Cars101 here are the items I would see about having performed. I've broken out the list in those you should have someone else do if you're not comfortable doing them yourself, and the ones that are actually very easy to do yourself.

Have them do:
* Change drive belts - even though it might not be listed, see my comment above
* Oil/filter change - I believe you said you get this free at the dealership
* Spark Plugs - they aren't difficult, but because of the horizontal engine it's not as easy as on some other engines like an in-line engine.
* ATF and Differential Fluids - I like to do a drain and fill of the transmission, and get fresh oil in the differentials. I believe in doing a periodic drain and fill of the transmission to make sure there's always good fluid in there. As for the differentials, unless you do anything extreme (heavy towing, off roading involving crossing water ways, etc) chances are you'll never have to do the differentials again.
* Brake fluid - should be done every few years
* Rotate the tires - should be done every 6-12 months

Things you can easily do yourself:
* Inspect Coolant - Subaru long=life coolant is good for 10 years, so just make sure it's up to level. Check the plastic overflow reservoir on the driver's side of your radiator. If there's fluid at the bottom of it, then you're good, if it's below the Low level marking, then you might need to add some. Either add the Subaru brand coolant (expensive), or get the Peak Global LIfetime coolant. I know other coolants will say you can mix them with any coolant, but I like the Peak Global LIfetime coolant for Subarus because it is *very* close to the original Subaru long-life coolant. Do some google searching on the two and you'll see that they're extremely similar, must more similar than any other aftermarket coolant.
* Replace the engine air filter - Check YouTube, you'll see videos on how to do this. It's easy. You can see how much they charge to do this, but if they're charging you over $25 they're ripping you off.
* Replace cabin air filter - again, check YouTube and you'll find step by step videos showing you exactly how to do it. Again, you can see how much they charge to do this, but if they're charging you over $25 they're ripping you off.
* Power Steering Fluid - Very easy to do, the hardest part is getting the old fluid out. People will tell you to use a turkey baster, but on Subarus the opening is way too small to get a turkey baster in there. Most auto stores will have a $5 syringe with a tube on the end of it, you can use that to suck out the old fluid, then replace it with Subaru ATF fluid. You can usually pick up a quart of Subaru ATF for about $8 at your Subaru dealership. Just suck out the old with the syringe, and refill it with the fresh fluid up to the level. Do this once every couple days/weeks until you've put in about half a quart of fresh fluid and you should be good. Do it again in another year or two. You can technically do it all in one day, just drive the car between extracting/fillings and make sure to take some turns that turn the steering wheel to the end in each direction, this will make sure that the fluid circulates so you're not just extracting the good fluid you just recently put in.

Granted, if you didn't want to do anything yourself, you could just price out all the items above at the dealership or auto shop, and chances are it'll be less then the 60k mile maintenance package deal that both are offering you.
DDMP20
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:12 am

Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by DDMP20 »

Browser wrote:I used to shell out for these dealer milestone maintenance things. Since that time I've learned what a massive ripoff this is. Now I figure you'd have to be completely nuts to pay for this. And that's not even mentioning that I no longer believe they even do some of the stuff that's listed because I've found that out with my own vehicle.
Kudos to you!

Screw the dealer!!!

Find a competent, honest, independent local mechanic and build a relationship with this person.
"An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens." -Thomas Jefferson
DDMP20
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:12 am

Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by DDMP20 »

stlutz wrote:All of this paranoia over the "stealership" is a little over the top. The "independent mechanic" has one incentive only--to sell you repairs. With the dealership, yes they want to sell you repairs but they also don't want you to think that the particular type of cars they sell are junk. Ever heard of a Corolla driver tell you the dealership tried to sell them a new transmission at 62K?

If you like your dealership, fine. If you like your independent mechanic, fine. They both want to make money off of you, so I wouldn't automatically assume one is more trustworthy than the other.

I agree with the other posters--price the services recommended in your owners' manual and go with that. The price should be about the same at the dealership as at an independent mechanic.

I live in a small town in NH. There are a few local mechanics and I use one of them. The guy's been in town for 40 years and has a reputation for being honest. He and the people in town both know that if he were overcharging and doing unnecessary work people would talk and he'd lose business. His incentive is not to sell unnecessary repairs but rather be honest with the people that have been coming to him for years and make a living off of performing legitimate repairs at a reasonable price.

The right independent mechanic beats the dealer every time! Hands down!
"An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens." -Thomas Jefferson
Topic Author
maroon
Posts: 384
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:59 pm

Re: 60K Car Maintenance Service = $600. Is this Reasonable?

Post by maroon »

Just in case anyone's interested in how this turned out, I took my car to the dealership for the 60K service.
My cost was $599 - $30 (because my oil changes are free) - 10% coupon = $512 + $35 haz. waste fee = $547 + sales tax = $572.
I also got a loaner car for the day - a brand-new 2016 Forester with < 100 miles on it.
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