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Is the forester an expensive vehicle to maintain?


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I'm glad I don't have to go to a dealer! My local mechanic charges me $45 to change the oil and that includes the oil and filter. For $2400, he replaced the catalytic converter, redid the head gasket and all the seals, put new brakes all around, changed the plugs and wires and changed the radiator. I was told when I bought my 2010 Forester that the parts would be really expensive. That's not been true. They aren't anymore expensive than the parts were for my Ford Explorer. The quotes from the dealer were $1000 for the converter and $3200 for the head gasket. That didn't include all the other things. I'm very thankful for my mechanic!
 

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2005 Forester EJ251
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75 Posts
There is not much that can go wrong with a starter motor. Only solenoid and brushes will give a problem and most likely only brushes. Down here in Oz I purchased a whole brush set casette for about 20 Australian dollars (less in US dollars). The cassette only has a few screws holding it from behind and one flying lead to the back of the solenoid. Easy fix however it takes longer to clean the starter motor than change the brushes. I purchased a spare starter from a wrecker and fitted new brushes. Note that the starter pinion has one more or less teeth between manual & auto transmission. Google part numbers first to make sure you have the correct starter if you buy a spare.
 

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2014 2.5i Premium CVT
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28 Posts
I am not sure about brakes cost either. If you are not comfortable doing your own brake job (which is not that difficult, just time consuming) it can be much cheaper. Heck, even my local MavisTire shop offered to put in Centric rotors + Bosch ceramic pads for 375$ plus tax. One can get these from Rockauto for about 100$ and spend couple hours putting them on oneself.
 

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2008 Forester
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Is anyone here actually paying anything close to $161 for an oil change? That's nuts. I'm guessing the $1k full brake job is probably pretty close to what my dealership would charge, though.
I recently had an oil and filter change at a Subaru dealership and it only cost $63.78.
 

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2017 Forester
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124 Posts
I got 4 free services with my 2017... oil change / tire rotation / cabin filters / even wiper blade replacement and a new battery plus a car-wash and starbucks with cookies at the dealer.. so I can't whine too much. But I asked the guy what the next service would cost ( 30,000 mile service ) and he said around $450... so I won't be going to the dealer for that service.

Lucky for me I live near a dude who eats, sleeps, and drinks Subaru ( SubiWorx ) and I've let them install a transmission cooler and they know their stuff. He'll most likely see me in the future. Good work at a reasonable price.
 

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2003 Forester XS
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22 Posts
I've never tracked my maintenance costs, but I know that having a good mechanic do the work rather than a dealer means I'm not paying absurd costs. He uses mainly Subaru parts and doesn't do dealer nonsense like charging double labor for changing a timing belt and water pump. He doesn't charge for hooking up a high end code reader. One other thought - no matter how many times my daughter wrecks my 2003 Forester XS, it gets put back together and you'd never know what happened.
 

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I voted 'yes' on the maintenance costs too high b/c my Subaru dealer overcharges.
Ex: got a new battery in my older Forester $60 cheaper at AutoZone--just as good as dealership's product.
C'mon Subaru--we have choices--5%, even 10% markup, I could see... over that I'm headed elsewhere.
Paul
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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I cannot fathom paying anyone with a functioning brain stem paying $161 for an oil change or the one grand cost of doing a wheel set brake job.

Are these "average" costs across the nation ...as in the USA ...as opposed to say, Canada or the UK or wherever ...are they hand-picked, worse-case scenarios made to fit the agenda of the "article"? And if these are averaged prices that means some shops are charging more than $161 for oil changes. A grain of salt? Yeah ...more like a rock of salt.

Something's fishy here.

And what I think is driving these crazy prices is the website that's referenced in the article linked in your post. It's not really an article at all just a paragraph with the three prices you posted without any sourcing. Oh, but wait ...the link to "Your Mechanic.com" ...ahh ...the plot thickens. I looked at the beginning of the of the "expensive cars to maintain" article and found two things: 1) links to "the best" extended warranties and; 2) all the information on cost to maintain are "provided" by the folks at the "Your Mechanic.com" website. So I go to the YM website and I find it's a new-ish(?) online company providing at home repairs and regular maintenance for your car; in other words it's mechanics who make house calls. And this isn't so much a bona-fide study on the price of servicing your Fozzie as it is an info-mercial for, you guessed it ...Your Mechanic dot Com ...and some extended warranty companies. The following is quoted from the YM website:

"Book a service online and our mechanics will come to your home or office to service your car. We make the entire process easy for you. Using our website and mobile apps, you can access the maintenance schedule of all your cars, get a fair and transparent price, book an appointment, make payments, access service history and get maintenance reminders. And since we don’t have the overhead cost of a shop, we are able to charge less while providing a convenient service."

"We’ll provide a detailed list of the parts, services, and costs needed to service your car. In most cases, we will provide a fair and transparent price instantly. All our mechanics have agreed to honor the quotes we provide. This ensures that there will be no need for negotiations or any last minute surprises."

So basically this is a load of sweet-smelling cow ka-ka designed to make you think the dealer is "Dr Evil" and out to screw you; they charge outrageous prices and make you pay for the coffee in the waiting room to boot ...and hypnotize you into actually paying these prices. The article eludes to the idea the ONLY way around this maniacal monopoly is to get an extended warranty and get your car serviced by the "Good Guys" ...the "Your Mechanic dot Com" mechanics ....who ride up your driveway in shiny-white Sprinter Vans, dressed in clean, starched and pressed uniforms looking like Johnny All-American and standing for "Truth, Justice and Transparent Pricing!"

Right.

Guys ...really ...you need to think a bit when you read stuff like this. I know my dealer doesn't charge $161 for an oil change or $1000 to do brakes. If they did ...how long do you think they'd be in business? I live in the Atlanta area ...there are three Subie dealerships and a whole lotta indie shops and more than a few specializing in Subarus; there is solid competition. I know I can get the same level of service from my local indie shop as I do at the dealership ...and the dealerships know this too; they price accordingly. Might there be some jobs costing more done at the dealership? Sure. Because the dealer is gonna use factory parts (a good thing) while my indie shop usually sources NAPA parts (which used to be a sure-fire good thing 'til so many US parts suppliers are making their stuff in China). So if it's important to me to get OEM Subaru parts for the job ...like brakes ...I go to the dealer; if not, I go to my indie shop.
 

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2009 Forester
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I think Foresters and most Subarus are expensive to keep in general compared to a similar Toyota Rav 4 etc.
Consider simple jobs like sparkplug changes, headgasket changes, clutches, timing belts etc, all take longer and trickier on a Subaru but that is the nature of the boxer engine with a proper AWD system.
* Based on 10 year old models and older - Since the article is all about 10 year cost of ownership

If you want a cheap to run vehicle, get a Corolla or Camry
I agree. I have become a non-lover of Subarus. Honda, and probably Toyota make a much more dependable car. My Forester has become all but new over the past 18 or so months, calipers, entire cooling system (why not) radiator, timing belt, water pump, hoses, belts, etc. Then, believe it or not, the head started to seep. So much already spent, got the whole works, gaskets, heads redone, rear seal, valve seals, etc. OUCH! The two catalytic converters, resonator, oh why not, two mufflers... Many"American" brand cars have cost MUCH less to maintain than this gas guzzler.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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282 Posts
I think Foresters and most Subarus are expensive to keep in general compared to a similar Toyota Rav 4 etc.
Consider simple jobs like sparkplug changes, headgasket changes, clutches, timing belts etc, all take longer and trickier on a Subaru but that is the nature of the boxer engine with a proper AWD system.
* Based on 10 year old models and older - Since the article is all about 10 year cost of ownership

If you want a cheap to run vehicle, get a Corolla or Camry
I'm sorry - but a head gasket and a clutch and timing belts are "simple jobs"...? On what planet...? The only simple engine to work on is a simple inline 4 cylinder (like the ancient Chrysler 2.2 liter based on the old slant 6)...

And ANY newer vehicle is going to be more involved for ANY type of job. With all the newer models having shrouds and covers on the tops of engines, or with intake plenums plopped on top of the fuel system, ANYTHING is going to be expensive. And with the rush towards more aerodynamic bodies and "simple" engines mounted in new and interesting ways to sit lower and at angles, plus with tighter engine bays, it makes access to any of these parts difficult and - therefore - more expensive.

As many have said in other posts - if you're spending $160 on an oil change, I've got a bridge to sell you on some ocean front properly near Sedona.

And even the Camry and Corolla are not all that cheap to maintain any longer. As with every other model sold in the US, with the changes to engine controls and management, for improved economy and emissions, with more and more "stuff" on top, the costs will continue to climb...

As for simple jobs - things like oil changes, spark plugs, filters, and so on - those ARE simple.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i MT
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Had a '66 Dodge Dart.... fond memories of that old slant-6. I could see and reach most anything under the hood. Only thing easier on my Subaru is the oil filter!
 
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