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2018 Subaru Forester XT CVT
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hiya folks,

Its been over 3 years since I bought my 2018 Forester XT, and I put only 8,000 highway miles on the car in that period of time. During our "Covid Year" I put only 1,000 miles on the car. The car runs like a dream, and has never given me any problems.

I've been doing oil & filter changes like clockwork, except during the Covid Year where it didn't make sense to do a 6-month oil change when the car had 700 miles on it during that time (so I pushed it out to 10 months instead). I also did one tire rotation in the life of the car, maybe 1,500 miles ago. The cabin air filter was last checked 1,000 miles ago, and it was clean-as-a-whistle (I always recirculate cabin air).

So my question is: should I be doing the recommended 3-year / 30,000 mile service?

Would you agree its a waste of time and money to do the entire service, given how little the car is driven?

Should I consider just doing a coolant flush or brake fluid? Maybe lubricate door, sunroof, back hinges?

Just wondering what you Car Gurus out there think I should do.

Thanks!
 

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1999 A/T - 235,000 mi. WA state
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868 Posts
I wouldn't do a thing. I personally would not do brake fluid. That's just me.
This is me, too. Driving it for 300 miles some day to use up a full tank of fuel and get the oil nicely hot is probably the best thing to do at this point, imho.

Do brake fluid after maybe 5 or 6 yrs. A lot of warnings about fluid sucking up moisture, yes, but it's a mechanic's worry. I've never had a stopping issue or seen brake fluid based corrosion myself - and you are hugely more gentle to your car. Your driving only 250 miles/month, in itself, is taking super good care of your car!
 

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2018 Subaru Forester XT CVT
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the responses! I do take good care of this vehicle, and it just so happens I took early retirement and then Covid hit, so I've basically been staying put. I try to walk as much as possible for exercise, so this car doesn't really get used. It actually hasn't even seen rain in two years as it's garaged indoors, in a climate controlled environment, so it does look basically the same as when it left the showroom three years ago.

I learned a lot about how to take care of it by reading this Forum, and as a result about three times a month, I go do some shopping about 30 (highway) miles away and so I do make sure to get the engine good and hot on the trip.

I'm not one to just throw money away, so although I do try to stick to an oil schedule, as it's synthetic, I don't really think I should change it every six months / 1,500 miles, so I've moved to about 10 months. But as now the 30-month Service is up, I'm just really not sure how to handle it, and so any of your advice is hugely appreciated!
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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1,303 Posts
Lubricating the hinges is probably a good move as they are not used much. In your shoes, I would change the oil once this year. As for the rest a visual inspection should suffice. I think the mileage intervals are more important than the time ones in your case.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5 Premium CVT
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71 Posts
This reminds me of the pound of feathers or a pound of bricks question. Which car has higher mileage? One that is driven 700 miles a month with 30k, or one that is driven 25 miles a month with 30k?

I subscribe to the more aggressive maintenances, my dealer replaces fluids where subaru says Inspect or Replace. We live in an area with bad traffic and congestion and garbage roads, so by the book, considered 'Severe' driving. You might want to consider that replace diff and CVT service at the 60k if not at the 30k. I can feel a difference in CVT performance from when I bought the car at 45k miles to 59k miles, so hoping that my fluid change makes a difference. I don't have much faith in the 'lifetime CVT fluid' or CVT lasting as long as the engine or chassis.
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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1,303 Posts
ShadeTreeSubie, the Forester in question has 8,000 miles total on the odometer. Its last service was 1000 miles ago.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5 Premium, Black
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55 Posts
The only thing I didnt see mentioned was the engine air filters, so pop the clips and check those. They are most likely good. You can always bang them on the ground to
get any bugs and birds off and then vacuum them with a crevice attachment. Check the coolant level, check that your tires are wearing evenly, get a hold of me when you
decide to sell it.
 

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2021 Forester Base Automatic
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168 Posts
Rotate the tires and Change the brake fluid. When I changed the brake fluid on my wifes 2015 after 4 years it was very dirty and my wife thought I installed new brakes since they felt stronger and reacted faster to pedal inputs. Ignore those who are too cheap to change out brake fluid, it not only improves stopping power it prevents corrosion of the brake components which are much more expensive to replace. I'll admit, I don't feel the same about coolant.
 

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2019 Forester Sport Rubber band
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559 Posts
@MidAtlanticGuy The 30k/3yr service is pretty simple. The engine and cabin filters are simple replacements. Easily under $30 and simpler than an oil change. All of the inspections are covered in the dealerships free twenty-something point inspection. My dealer does free tire rotation also. You do your own oil. That leaves only brake fluid change. My dealer gets $125. That's cheap insurance and it's in their records if any questions come up.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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1,223 Posts
Brake fluid is hygroscopic, but it has to be exposed to moisture in order to collect it. A vehicle driven often (daily), ie.) is going to get much more moisture exposure than one mostly parked and driven little.

I do recommend periodic brake fluid changes, simply because the price of ABS parts makes the costs of fluid changes a bargain any way you look at it, but in the OP’s case, unless he’s planning on this vehicle to be the last one he ever owns, and based on its current driving regime, a 5 year interval should be far more than adequate.

You know, you can change all the fluids monthly in a vehicle, but it isn’t going to prolong the life of it a single day if the fluid quality being removed is perfectly fine.

In the end, do whatever helps you sleep at night…
 

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Sahuarita, AZ 2018 Forester Limited
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2,741 Posts
One of the best independent Subaru-only shops in the country says this about brake fluid:
"During the summer months the fluids are at more risk of evaporation and breaking down under extreme temperatures, this can be especially true for brake fluid if it has collected enough moisture it can actually boil during excessive brake use like coming down a mountain pass with a full load of family and gear. Brake fluid, should really be changed every 15,000 miles, or at least once a year."
Perhaps the best way for the OP to resolve this issue is to have the brake fluid tested, although simply removing the brake fluid cap for testing may introduce moisture.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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1,223 Posts
I wonder just how many vehicles across the entire manufacturer spectrum used in light-to-normal service suffer brake fluid-related failures in the first 3-4-5 years spans of service life.

I’d be willing to bet good money its a minuscule number.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,542 Posts
... actually, go back and read the original post - 8K per year since new (2018) and just 1000 miles the last year. Then mentions of "it's been over 3 years since I bought..."... So that means at least 17K miles (8000 miles for the first 2 years and 1000 miles on year 3...

But regardless - you should maintain your vehicle as referred to in the owner's manual and/or other sources for the maintenance schedule. As you drive in frequently, you an decide if you want to follow the "severe" or normal schedule.

One other thing about those service/maintenance schedules - at certain miles, it is not a replacement requirement but a 'check and replace' as needed. So have a check of the coolant and the brake fluid. If they're bad, then replace them. If they're not - then don't.

My 2014 Forester has yet to hit 51000 miles in the 7 1/2 years I've owned/driven... for those mathematically challenged, that eeks out to under 7K per year... The majority of my driving is around town and maybe 1 or 2 highway runs a month...
Follow the schedule and you shouldn't go wrong. I tend to follow the 'severe' service schedule because of the shorter trips I do and the "light-to-light" driving I do.
 

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2018 Subaru Forester XT CVT
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
... actually, go back and read the original post - 8K per year since new (2018) and just 1000 miles the last year. Then mentions of "it's been over 3 years since I bought..."... So that means at least 17K miles (8000 miles for the first 2 years and 1000 miles on year 3...
Hi FozzieBalou, no, the car only has a little more than 8,000 on it in total, for all three years of ownership. And due to Covid, in the last year, I only put 1,000 on it. It's also been living in a climate-controlled garage, and hasn't been driven in rain/snow in over 2 years.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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1,223 Posts
“But regardless - you should maintain your vehicle as referred to in the owner's manual and/or other sources for the maintenance schedule. As you drive in frequently, you an decide if you want to follow the "severe" or normal schedule.”

If a manufacturer ever gets sued for component failures, the only maintenance schedule they really have to defend is THEIR published maintenance schedule. Knowing that, going by the manufacturer’s schedule is by far the safest bet as a vehicle owner.

Again, follow the plan that lets you sleep the best at night…
 

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2018 Subaru Forester XT CVT
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for everyone’s advice!

It sounds like the first thing to do is take the car into the dealers and have them do their complimentary 20-point check, and get their thoughts on what needs to get done, and then go from there.

At least I’ll have it all documented, in case there’s an issue later on and Subaru says, “you should have changed something” I can always say that the dealer didn’t recommend that I do it, and therefore I can’t be at fault….

Then, based on everyone’s advice on here, it seems like folks are 50/50 on changing break fluid. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and get that done, and hopefully that will be around $100 with a dealer’s coupon.

On lubricating the hinges, maybe get that done as well, with a dealer’s coupon. Again, should be under $100 I think for that one (does anyone know if they lubricate the sunroof as well?).

On the engine air filter and the cabin air-filter, if the dealer checks those as part of their complimentary check, that’s great, and if they don’t, I can check these myself, and might as well just buy the filters and switch them out if they are cruddy (they should be inexpensive, and with 20 minutes work on my part, can be done with).

On Coolant, I always check that myself, and it’s in between the two lines – I haven’t really had to add any at all in the past year.

Then, just wait until I get to about 12,000 miles to do another tire rotation (looks like, with my next oil change).

Unless you folks say otherwise, that’s my plan!
 
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