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Old 06-28-2010, 06:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question repair costs?

I'm still deciding between the Forester, CRV, and Rav4. Looking at all sorts of information.

Tonight, I was looking at edmunds True Cost to Own and the 5 year costs, especially regarding Maintenance (not Repairs) was significant compared to the other two small SUVs. By significant, I mean 1000-2000$ difference for routine maintenance costs. The repairs cost was only about 100$ difference.

A friend told me that Subarus need a very strict maintenance schedule. So, I'm wondering if that's why I'm seeing higher maintenance costs now.

What have been your experiences regarding maintenance and repairs? I know nothing is prefect, but I prefer a less-needy car over the alternative. :)
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Old 06-28-2010, 08:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have not had a CRV or RAV4 but can compare to our Sienna and the Pathfinder the Forester replaced.

Just to set it up a bit, my Forester is a 2009 and currently has 54,000 kms on it. The Sienna is a 2004, with 90,000 kms. The Pathfinder was a 2002 and had about 180,000 kms when I traded it in. Both the Forester and Pathy are/were work vehicles, so I have pretty good records for tax purposes. Sienna is my wife's and we do not track to the same level.

Of these, the Sienna has had the least in maintenance costs. Its biggest was the timing belt this spring, for $800 CDN. Rear shocks were also done at the same time. It is on its second set of tires, both summer and winters. Brakes are original at this point. Did need a new rad, but that was covered under warranty. Do not have a cost of ownership calculation.

The Forester would be a little higher. So far just oil changes and the regular required maintenance. And this is where it is more costly. The 48,000 km service (30,000 miles) is a big one, with new plugs and other stuff. Cost me just under $400 CDN. No "repairs" to date. Cost of ownership is running about $0.35/km.

The Pathfinder, well the less said about that the better! At its age, it was in need of a fair bit of work on suspension bits that were just about worn out. And for repairs, it has some pretty pricey electronics that had to be replaced. Cost of ownership over the almost 5 years I owned it was about $0.55/km.

Hope this helps. I do know that Consumer Reports shows the Forester as having a better than average cost of ownership. But it is a Subaru and I find its benefits are worth the extra costs.
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The 105K timing belt/waterpump/idler/bearing replacement is certainly an issue in this area. Hed gasket leaks are unheard of on CRV's and Subaru is more likely.

CRV will statistically be a less needy..gotta' be honest (IMHO)

CRV will be less capable in the snow.
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Old 06-29-2010, 05:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If miantince cost is your bigest concern, don't get Subaru, they are not cheap, prone to HG failure that will cost you arm and leg to fix compared to let say honda. Almost any mechanic knows his way around hondas or toyotas, but only few are knowledgable enough to come even close to Subaru. I own both CRV and Subaru, CRV is the cheapest one of the bunch. Honda can't be beat as far as cost of ownership goes. This car need almost no maintaince. Go check www.bobistheoilguy.com people run factory filled oil (engine) for 10k and it shows that it still good to go for another few K, and thats on dino not synthetic. Honda makes solid cars that need almost no maintaince. But saying all that I prefer my Subaru over CRV, just totaly different car. As far as driving experience goes my Forester handles as nicely as q5 feels solid in all condition and honda well it handles like a honda, nothing impressive about it, just another car.
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default re: Repair Costs

I asked the owner of my shop and he said that in his opinion many car manufacurers were going backwards in that cars like toyota and honda used to have strict maintenance requirements and seemed to last forever. It seems to him that they've loosed up and that has resulted in more problems and the cars not lasting. He recommends a 3 month-3000 mile oil change on all cars. Yea, he makes money on an oil change, but not much.

Maybe it's worth a little extra $$$ for the subaru maintenance.
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I can only compare mine to my old CRV. Big difference in regular maintenance cost. Plugs, oil changes, etc, etc. Also timing belts down the road. Forester costs much more to own.

But on the other hand, the AWD system is great.
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I can't say much about my 09 because I've actually been sticking to the scheduled maintenance, oil change every 7500miles or so and did the 30K tune up. But as for my '01 that I had prior to my '09 I was driving about 3500 miles a month so I did the oil changes every 15-20K or so and didn't do the timing belt till 180K and only did 1 tune up on it around 110K so the cost of ownership was really low and it lasted well into the 200K mark but I can't say you'd be able to do that with all Foresters and get away with it.
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hey Starry,
I'm also from Georgia and I come from a background of Jeeps and Chrysler products for many, many wonderfule years. LOL
If you want to talk about costs to own and maintain, throw a Jeep in the mix and it is a whole new ballgame. I loved all the Jeeps I have ever owned (except for one '96 model that never wanted to leave the repair shop-BUT was "lemon-lawed"). I love my Forester even more though.
If you want to buy a vehicle to get in and drive and never, ever think about as far as regular servicing, maintenance, etc, get a Honda, Toyota (watch out for ability to stop ) or whatever. Pretty much all of the cars now days are going to have some sort of "expensive" costs. Look at those costs per mile, figure in how many miles you plan on driving per year or how often you plan on trading and decide what is best for you.
I love my Subaru and really don't plan on going back anytime soon.
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you everybody for your replies.

The maintenance costs and repairs aren't the most important, but they are important. That said, I don't want my car to be higher maintenance than me and I'm extremely low maintenance! I work a lot of weird hours, so getting the car to the dealer for maintenance is another concern. The latter may be more trouble than the cost, actually.

For example, I had Volkswagen sportwagen TDI on my list for awhile, but I removed it due to reliability concerns, specialized technicians, and many comments about self-maintainers dream cars. I don't want to get into my car everyday and think, gee, is this the day the fuel system's going to self-destruct?

I'm sure the Subarus are nowhere near that bad! I really love the Forester's drive and size, but don't frequently have snow here... plus the groceries empty and the streets close in Atlanta. The snow handling isn't a huge draw for me, but I do sometimes travel to Boulder, CO and someday I want to return to Seattle, WA, where mountains and lovely snow are just outside the door. Overall, I'm looking for a nice small-to-medium sized wagon. The Forester is highly appealing for it's size and comfort in Wagon-less land of the USA.
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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traction in the rain is great too compared to FWD only!

subaru will likely cost more to maintain than honda.

find a good mechanic that specializes in subarus (not likely dealer) and they can help keep you on the right track with maintenance and getting $ where they need to go most.
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starry View Post
....I work a lot of weird hours, so getting the car to the dealer for maintenance is another concern. The latter may be more trouble than the cost, actually.

....
With the exception of the 48,000 km service, all the rest has been done by my local mechanic and he noted how easy Subaru's are to work on compared to some others. So if you can find a mechanic that you are comfortable with, no need for the dealer for regular maintenance.

I was also concerned about having a dealer locally but if I followed that thought, I would only be able to buy GM! So there is a bit of faith in the reliability and not needing to go to a dealer and so far, no warranty issues for me at 54,000 kms. But there should not be with Honda or Toyota either.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:00 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I have a 04 XS Forester. I love it. I have done most of the maintenance on it except the recent 105K service. Too much to handle. Alignments too.

I get parts on line and get a higher quality part for less than NAPA price.

Besides the oil changes that I do, I have had my mechanic do the following in the last 111K miles
  • 1 Alignment
  • 2 Auto Trans Flushes
  • Replace 2 sets of tires (LOVE the Goodyear Triple Tread)
  • 2 Auto Trans Filter Replacements

Relatively trouble free. My wife and I love to drive the Subie.

Foresters are known and expected to exceed 200 - 300K miles.

My mom has an 04 Honda CRV. We did some maintenance on it before I gave it to her. I did not like working on that car. Then again, did not like working on my 2 Accords either. Honda for me is not a friendly car to work on.
As for ride, my wife and I drove it from NY to CO for her and we could not wait to get out of the car for the last time. Did not like the feel, the ride, or the driver's seat.
In CO, this has been an expensive car to maintain.

My wife and I bought the Forester after we looked at CRV and RAV4. Definately made the right choice.

Hope you do too.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:13 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starry View Post
Thank you everybody for your replies.

The maintenance costs and repairs aren't the most important, but they are important. That said, I don't want my car to be higher maintenance than me and I'm extremely low maintenance! I work a lot of weird hours, so getting the car to the dealer for maintenance is another concern. The latter may be more trouble than the cost, actually.

For example, I had Volkswagen sportwagen TDI on my list for awhile, but I removed it due to reliability concerns, specialized technicians, and many comments about self-maintainers dream cars. I don't want to get into my car everyday and think, gee, is this the day the fuel system's going to self-destruct?

I'm sure the Subarus are nowhere near that bad! I really love the Forester's drive and size, but don't frequently have snow here... plus the groceries empty and the streets close in Atlanta. The snow handling isn't a huge draw for me, but I do sometimes travel to Boulder, CO and someday I want to return to Seattle, WA, where mountains and lovely snow are just outside the door. Overall, I'm looking for a nice small-to-medium sized wagon. The Forester is highly appealing for it's size and comfort in Wagon-less land of the USA.
Forester wont dissapoint, I am honda guy and buying forester over CRV was the best choice I ever made, even if will cost slightly higher to maintain I don't regret. CRV dose not drive as well and feels as comfortable as my Forester. To be honest my mother x3 dose not feel as comfortable as my Forester lol for little bit over 20k I think is the best car you could ask for. I do my own maintaince I don't pay delear arm and a leg for something basic. The only thing I let my delear touch is transmission fluid change. that's all.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:36 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Starry: we live in sometimes snowy and icy MA, hence our choice of Forester over CRV or Rav4. If we lived in the sunbelt, we would have gone with one of the other 2 vehicles (and flip a coin on those). Do you need AWD? That is where most of the extra maintenance costs come in. If you don't need it...why buy it? And don't forget, the other 2 vehicles get better mpg, too.
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:07 PM   #15 (permalink)
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If you need AWD for light offroading or winter driving go with Forester. If you don't need AWD go with FWD CRV. I drive a 2005 MT AWD CRV and have had very few problems. Purchased new and now 86k. The rear diff oil needs to be replaced every 15K or it starts groaning but other than that no complaints, just the typical stuff (brakes, battery, tires). Dealer service has been great. The CRV AWD is not the greatest. It's nowhere near Subaru AWD in snow. The CRV has decent ground clearance (8" in think) but there are several critical parts that hang low and take a beating offroad and I don't think anyone sells skid plates. CRV interior is a bit more refined than Subaru.
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