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2018 Subaru Forester XT CVT
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Howdy folks,

If I hardly ever drive my 1.5 year old 2018 Subaru Forester XT (probably about 4,000 miles a year), how often should I change oil? Change cabin air filter? Rotate tires?

Subaru is saying that how much you drive doesn't matter. They want me to change the above as per the time that's elapsed (for example, oil every six months, cabin filter every year, etc.).

What do you folks think?

Thanks!
 

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2013/14 2.5i-L CVT
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If I hardly ever drive my 1.5 year old 2018 Subaru Forester XT (probably about 4,000 miles a year)
While it's under warranty you should adhere to the makers service intervals to avoid have a claim rejected and it's probably a good idea to do so afterwards too for oil changes if most of your trips are short. They are much harder on oil, and thus engines, than driving longer distances as the oil often doesn't become hot enough for moisture, gasoline and other contaminates to 'boil' off.

Replacing cabin filters and rotating the tyres every second year should be adequate.
 

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2017 Touring CVT
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I'm in the same boat as MidAtlantic--2400 miles in last 12 mos. with mostly short local trips, occasionally longer and 1-2x/mo 31 mi. circuits on the local interstate loop to keep battery charged and allow full engine heat (as well as enjoying the opportunity to put the H-K system through its paces.) I'm adhering to the recoms here and my thanks for others' inputs.
 

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1999 A/T - 235,000 mi. WA state
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I'd change engine oil every 6 months cause it's cheap, and no engine has ever been damaged by having clean oil in it.

Tires won't be a warranty item, so I'd rotate them whenever ...

No thoughts on what warranty item could be impacted by cabin air filter getting dirty ... I'd let it ride. At 4000 miles, you'll just be replacing a clean filter with a clean filter.

Like you guys, I also let my Forester sit a lot (in warm months). I try to leave my A/C system as dry as possible to minimize mold growth in the always wet A/C evaporator, where water is condensed out as the air cools. I turn off A/C unit, leaving fan on, 2 or 3 miles before I park it, so the blowing air can mostly dry out the evaporator unit as it warms up. <My father lived in a humid climate (NY state); he didn't do this - his car ventilation systems smelled gross.>
 

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2016 Forester
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Was in a similar situation but I still do it every 6 months as required by factory maintenance schedule. After 5 year warranty is up I will switch to 1 year (or the same mileage).

Air/engine filters every 10~15k.
 

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2016 2.5i Touring CVT
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I only have 11k on my 2016. I go by the owners manual and change it every 6 months. Keep good records and there should be no warranty issues in the future.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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This is my dirty little secret. I maintain my subaru immaculately . And do oil analysis. I keep the oil box tab and write the mileage and date I change oil. And if I have a receipt fine if not fine.

So...if you go longer buy a filter and on the back of the filter box lid write the date and time the oil was "changed" if you can read between the lines.. And if you want actually remove the old filter and slap on the new filter. It takes 2 minutes.
 

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1999 Forester S
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How is the car driven, when it does get exercise? If the engine never sees long highway drives, you'll want to change the oil on the "Severe Service" interval. If the oil doesn't get above 212*F, water from the combustion process won't be evaporated from the engine oil.
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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I have a '19. The dealer was absolutely emphatic that the car be serviced on the dot every 6,000 miles, or 12 months, whichever comes first. They said they don't think accelerated maintenance (dusty roads, stop-n-go, etc) is necessary.

For comparison, I've also got a '19 Mazda CX5 (non-Turbo) and the official Mazda service interval is 12 months/7,500 miles, but the dealer says so few people in urban settings ever get their cars fully up to temperature, they recommend 6 months/5,000 miles. As noted above, oil changes are cheap.

My rule of thumb is the amount of time it takes water temperature to get to normal, allow at least that much more time for the oil to get up to temperature.
 

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2003 Forester X Automatic
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I have about 40,000 miles driven on my 2003 Forester, a combination of the occasional few miles in city traffic, and the rarer four-hour trips combining freeway driving with steep Forest Service gravel roads for camping trips.

I try to stick to the "severe service" schedule. It means I throw away a lot of clean-looking, clean-smelling synthetic oil, which is probably a damn shame, but presumably there's volatile stuff in Mobil 1 that goes away with time.

I strongly second the above advice to "leave my A/C system as dry as possible to minimize mold growth in the always wet A/C evaporator" -- we inherited a Honda on which that hadn't been done and it stank of mildew until we had the dashboard pulled apart to bleach-clean out all the vents.

Two tire-related thoughts.

Valve stems on tubeless tires age and eventually crack, flattening the tire. We carry two spares (nasty Forest Service roads) and our tire shop had to replace all six valve stems after we had one break off and flatten the tire. They were all cracked fairly deeply and ready to fail.

And, wheels can get stuck on the whatchamacallit against which the bolts hold them tight, by rusting, if some kind of adequate antistick lube is not used behind the bolts. We had to get an AAA guy with a big sledgehammer and wood block to get said flat tire's wheel off the car. And that was with fairly frequent tire rotation.
 

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Yes, follow the manufacturer guidelines, but at 4K miles a year changing the oil once per year is plenty. Time is not the issue, miles are, unless you spend all your time idling in traffic. Most oils these days are at least semi-synthetic, good for 3 to 5K miles. I would go with a full synthetic, good for 7500 miles or more, Amsoil has one good for 25K miles, which is what I use. But at 4K you don't need that either, just a name brand full synthetic and filter. As for the cabin filter, every few years is fine unless you are getting a strange smell when you turn on the heater or AC. More important is the engine air filter, there again, I would check it each year but at 4K you would not need to change it but every few years unless you live on a dirt road. Same with tire rotations, every few years. The front tires will wear faster than the rear so keep an eye on them and move the front tires to the back if you want to get a little more time out of a set. In your case you may age out of your tires before you wear them out. There is no need to spend money you don't have to when it will do nothing to extend the life of your vehicle. Some dealers and oil change places will want to do everything every time you go in and it simply is not necessary.
 

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2018 Forester XT Touring HT-CVT
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I'm in a similar boat. I have 3k miles on my FozXT after about a year. And 1000 of those miles came from a couple road trips. I'm in the camp of changing out oil every 12 months. It's synthetic and not the old dinosaur stuff so it'll last just fine. Just as long as you take it on the highway every now and then to let the engine get some exercise for a bit. Even my salesperson said just change the oil every 12 months and it'll be fine since I'm not hitting the mileage point. Scotty from YouTube agrees as well.

Tire rotation should only be done based on mileage, not time. Since tire wear is a function of driving the car and not time. Filters just change based on appearance. If it's not dirty, just knock out the large debris and keep it in service until the next time you check it.

Just my two cents...they'll only deny you warranty coverage if they can prove serious neglect. If you follow bare basics for maintenance, there shouldn't be an issue. Not to mention low mileage cars are less likely to encounter mechanical warranty issues.
 

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I disagree with rotating tyres altogether...

As Ssgarfield has said, this operation serves to ensure they all wear out at the same time. But who does that benefit?

Why not just replace the front tyres before the rear, there's no need to accelerate the wear rate just to ensure you buy a full set when you need to replace them.

As for the stems, you can get metal stems, they aren't real expensive and won't have the cracking problem.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5 Premium CVT
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...they'll only deny you warranty coverage if they can prove serious neglect.
Just my opinion, of course, but deliberately neglecting half of Subaru's required maintenance (as far as oil and tires go) is "serious neglect."

Not saying I disagree with "do it by mileage," just referring to possible warranty claims. But I like to play it safe...

Mike
 

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I disagree with rotating tyres altogether...

As Ssgarfield has said, this operation serves to ensure they all wear out at the same time. But who does that benefit?

Why not just replace the front tyres before the rear, there's no need to accelerate the wear rate just to ensure you buy a full set when you need to replace them.

As for the stems, you can get metal stems, they aren't real expensive and won't have the cracking problem.
Ray,

From what I've read here and elsewhere, you want your tires to wear evenly with Subaru AWD vehicles so they are at the same circumference.

Mike
 

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‘14 FXTT; '15 Legacy FB25
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Oil: Personally, I'd run the severe-service mileage and forget time. If you reach a year before making it to 3,750 miles, then change it then.

Cabin Filter: This can be easily inspected by you. Inspect it yearly and change when it's dirty. I personally have a Fram washable filter in mine.

Other: follow your owner's manual, not what the dealer tells you.

I disagree with rotating tyres altogether...

As Ssgarfield has said, this operation serves to ensure they all wear out at the same time. But who does that benefit?
Who does that benefit??? YOU, the owner!? I've never heard of someone with a Subaru questioning tire rotations, though I guess there's a first for everything.

//

With that said, I've been lucky with our Subies, in that front in rear for our summer and snow tires seem to all be within 1/32". I have to keep track of which was which, because it's so close to know which tire was in which position based on wear.
 
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Tire rotation / replacement: Current safety guidelines (based on science and statistics, not your father's recommendation) state that your best tires should actually be in the rear. Why? Because more fatal accidents are caused by rear end sliding and loss of control than loss of traction or control up front. Sure, better front tires were the age old recommendation. Back when blow outs were common. How long has it been since anyone here has experienced a full off blown out tire? So a good tire rotation scheme is a good way to make it simple -- they wear out evenly and you ditch em all at the same time....

OCI for low mileage, severe duty vehicle: Keep to factory specs till off warranty. Keep in mind that some low yearly mileage vehicles are not really severe duty, so long as there are some long range trips. Very vague how often and what long trip means... Once the warranty is off -- these days I'm just dropping some Mobil 1 extended mileage oil and changing it once a year. Biggest issue is that no one really knows which FILTER is good for 10k plus miles. Going with Mobil extended in this respect as well, but cannot say that there is much science behind that.....
 

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2016 Forester CVT
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I disagree with rotating tyres altogether...

As Ssgarfield has said, this operation serves to ensure they all wear out at the same time. But who does that benefit?

Why not just replace the front tyres before the rear, there's no need to accelerate the wear rate just to ensure you buy a full set when you need to replace them.
Actually, AWD vehicles can be very sensitive to differences in tire circumference, so I believe there IS a need to accelerate the wear rate on the rear tires to ensure they all stay the same size. You could say it benefits your vehicle's transmission/differential, since it is designed for 4 tires of equal diameter and equal degrees of wear. Here's a pretty good article I came across that explains how/why this is important for AWD and 4WD vehicles:
https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=18

I've seen various measures of acceptable tire differences for unspecified Subaru vehicles based either on remaining tread depth or tire circumference:
but nothing terribly definitive or specific to the '14-'18 Foresters.

The owner's manual for my 2016 Forester 2.5i Premium only states the following:
When replacing or installing tire(s), all four tires must be the same for the following items.
(a) Size
(b) Circumference
(c) Speed symbol
(d) Load index
(e) Construction
(f) Manufacturer
(g) Brand (tread pattern)
(h) Degrees of wear​
For the items (a) to (d), you must obey the specification that is printed on the tire placard.
The tire placard is located on the bottom of driver’s door pillar.
If all of four tires are not the same in items (a) to (h),
it may lead to serious mechanical damage to the drive train of your car and affect the following factors.
— Ride
— Handling
— Braking
— Speedometer/Odometer calibration
— Clearance between the body and tires​
It also may be dangerous and lead to loss of vehicle control, and it can lead to an accident.
Anyway, I'd suggest rotating those tires every 6k or 7.5k per the owner's manual to ensure they wear evenly and then replace them all at the same time when necessary. Tires are much cheaper than transmissions, so I think both your drive train and your wallet will thank you.
 
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