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2015 Forester
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103 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am sure you all have noted that in this century there are now differences between what the owners manual says should be fluid change/inspect intervals and what the dealer says the change intervals should be.
Case in point. My wife's 2015 Subaru Forester CVT. At 90,000, the manual says to inspect the front and rear differential fluids (this according to my wife). The dealer wants to replace them for a couple of hundred bucks.
She is unsure if the fluids were changed at 60,000 miles. I told her to have the other 90k work done ($300) and to come home and look at her records and decide whether or not to change them at next oil change.

I have so many vehicles that I have to take in my own maintenance records (in a word document) as well as a copy of the owners manual reccommendations and make decisions on whether or not the dealer is trying to upsell something.

Question. Are these standard differential fluids and how often would you change them or have them changed? My Honda CRV has a very special type of rear differential where all the AWD mechanism is contained and it uses a special "Dual Pump Hydrolic fluid" and the factory has decided that the original change interval was too long and that 30,000 miles is best but I dont believe the Subaru is like that. How often do you change yours?
 

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2019 Sport CVT
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642 Posts
Diffs and drain and fill on the 4EAT every 30k for me. My 2 CVT’s don’t have a lot of miles yet, so haven’t decided long term what I am doing there
 

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2015 Forester
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103 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I change [email protected] miles, as well as drain fill the CVT @ same time.
Synthetic GL5 75-90 in the diff
and CVT rated fluid in the trans.

Fluid is cheap insurance for$$$$ components.
OK, thanks! What does YOUR owners manual say. If the two diffs are easy to change, then I can see why you change them every 30k.
 
2017 2.5i Fozy CVT
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1,283 Posts
In Subaruese, "inspect" means to: look at, service, or replace... depending on severity of usage.

There are quite a few discussions on diff servicing in ths forum. The rear is easy. The front, not so much as, depending on what country you live in, the fill hole for the front diff can be on either driver or passenger side. For the sake of this discussion my only concern is for '14-'18 US Fozy's
In the US. it is on the passenger side.
On the drivers' side, there is an identical fill plug- but that is for the CVT, so use that one if you want to put diff lube into your transo_O.

Some years prior to '17 in this discussion may have a trans fill accessible from the engine bay. But that is beyond my pay grade.
 

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2015 Forester
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103 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
OK, it really doesnt sound to difficult...$100 apiece which the dealer wants is pretty criminal. Half hour labor and the fluid would be fair...more than fair. Now that my wife's car is out of the 80,000 mi warrenty, I would have no problems technically doing the work. I hold an aircraft mechanic's license. My issue is, how often does this really need to be done? This car doesnt tow anything. It spends its life actually on the interstate going to dog shows. I change the oil, brake and clutch fluids, and rear end fluid on my motorcycles more often than necessary because its easy and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling....a feeling I dont get with my wife's car! LOL!
 

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1999 "L" - 231,000 mi. AT
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699 Posts
... and how often would you change them [diff fluids] or have them changed? ...
How often do you change yours?
My differential fluids are changed every ~60K miles.

My A/T fluid I service every 25 - 35K, 'cuz I want the expensive tranny to last. At 230k tranny's still solid.
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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When looking at Subaru's recommended maintenance schedule, keep in mind that "I" is defined as: "Inspect, correct or replace as necessary."
Replacing diff fluid at the "I" mileage intervals might be the best course of action.
 

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2015 Forester
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103 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
My differential fluids are changed every ~60K miles.

My A/T fluid I service every 25 - 35K, 'cuz I want the expensive tranny to last. At 230k tranny's still solid.
Oddly, I got a letter from Subaru out of the Blue that extended the CVT warrenty on my 2018 Forester to 100,000 miles. I have the 80k 8 year warrenty as it is as I dont drive my '18 much with two other cars and 3 motorcycles....I think I need to find a manual and see what this "flush" of the CVT entails.....and see if my wife's car got flushed at the 60 k. I am hoping my Subaru outlives me as I love it and its features like "manual parking brake" and " Keyed ignition". Autonation Subaru tried to sell my wife an antibacterial spray job and a special "factory reccommended" oil additive.
 

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2015 Forester
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Discussion Starter #12
My differential fluids are changed every ~60K miles.

My A/T fluid I service every 25 - 35K, 'cuz I want the expensive tranny to last. At 230k tranny's still solid.
I think your advice is sage. Back in the last century, in the 1960s, I think we changed pickup rear diffs at 60k...I will look into this tranny's needs.
 

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2015 Forester
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Discussion Starter #13
When looking at Subaru's recommended maintenance schedule, keep in mind that "I" is defined as: "Inspect, correct or replace as necessary."
Replacing diff fluid at the "I" mileage intervals might be the best course of action.
I did not know the definition of "I" before as all of our Subarus have been purchased by my wife, until I got my '18 Forester. She runs them into the ground at 250,000-300,000. Then donates them. Thanks! every car manufacturer is different. My 2004 Honda CRV is very explicit about "Check, inspect, and Replace"
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i Premiu
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I've noticed this issue as well. I had one dealer say that Subaru has declared my area (Washington, DC and suburbs) to be extreme driving conditions and that justifies all the additional work that they claim needs to be done. So I went to MySubaru and ask about this issue. Here's the (disappointing) response I got from Subaru:
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We appreciate your feedback on Subaru retailers in your area recommending services for the 30,000-mile maintenance interval in addition to our recommendations. We appreciate you bringing your experiences and concern to our attention.

Your message has been documented in our Customer/Retailer Services database. Such feedback is documented to continually track, review and consider the performance of Subaru retailers, always with the intentions of improving as an organization. This documentation is reported throughout Subaru.

Many Subaru retailers have maintenance recommendations that differ from ours. Some recommend more frequent maintenance and others recommend services in addition to ours. We recommend that customers at least follow our minimum recommendations as detailed in the “Warranty and Maintenance” booklets.

When setting your appointment, I would recommend advising the retailer that you would like our recommendations completed only.

Thank you again, Ken, for your message to Subaru.
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So in other words you're on your own to keep track of what needs to be done and making sure that a particular dealer doesn't keep upselling you. In the end I switched dealers so that my 30,000 mile checkup cost less than half of what the original dealer was telling me I needed to do.
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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184 Posts
All dealership service departments typically pad or recommend services sooner than later or more frequently; IMHO this is simply to amp up the profit margin from the department. This "padding" is also based on the fact most people haven't a clue what services are required by the factory an what services aren't and are optional; the dealerships know this and take advantage of it. Case in point: I just brought my 2011 2.5X Foz into the dealer for the air bag recall and had them do a regular mileage service check minus a couple things I had already done myself or would do (like replacing tghe cabin air cleaner). The service rep I was working with was an ex-Subaru tech ...mechanic ...and we talked about some of the service items. I'm mechanically inclined and do a lot of my own service work on our vehicles (I'd just done the rear brakes) so he knew I knew a lot more about my Foz mechanically than most customers. One of the things I asked him about was the differential fluid; his response to me was the stuff is quite robust and, unless your making regular creek crossings with your Subie, the fluid is good out to it's 100K service interval ...no sweat. I also asked about the tranny fluid in the 4EAT; I had it changed at the 60 or 70K interval as per the maintenance schedule. His response to me was unless I was doing some serious off-roading or towing regularly I was good to go until the next scheduled service point ...somewhere out around 120K-ish.

One thing I did accomplish on the service call that isn't listed in the required services chart was an upper intake and fuel injector cleaning; at 82K I doubt seriously it had ever been done. And that brings up the "fluff" services all dealerships will try and sell you; things like various fluid flushes ...tranny, power steering, brake fluids are the typical fluids they try to get you to sign off on and the upper intake cleaning. Don't get me wrong here; these fluid flushes and cleanings are important ...especially swapping the brake fluid every couple or so years. But these are money-makers for the dealer since most are done using machines; the tech simply hooks up the machine and it does all the rest and are "sold" as if they are all needed items.

I highly recommend you become familiar with the required services and their intervals before you bring your car into the dealer for service. Make a list of the things you want done on the factory required list and any stuff you've already taken care of ...like an oil and filter change or the air filters (engine and cabin) ...that you don't want done. Then be familiar with the "additional services" the dealer will offer you and choose the one(s) you want done ...if any. Also, make sure you don't forget stuff like alignments, tire rotation and balancing. Don't let the dealer service rep bowl you over with all manner of fluffy services that really aren't needed but will significantly boost the cost of your visit. You be in control; it's your car and you tell the dealership what you want done and what you don't want done. Period.

Doing services more frequently than scheduled (by the factory) will do no harm. And if servicing your vehicle more frequently gives you peace of mind then have at it ...especially if you can do the work yourself and save significantly on labor costs.
 

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I did not know the definition of "I" before as all of our Subarus have been purchased by my wife, until I got my '18 Forester. She runs them into the ground at 250,000-300,000. Then donates them. Thanks! every car manufacturer is different. My 2004 Honda CRV is very explicit about "Check, inspect, and Replace"
And Honda requires specific Honda fluids in many applications, the power steering is one example!
 
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