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Is 30k mile maintenance really required? I have a subaru wrx '09 and the time has come for the check. I called the dealer after going through the manual. They quoted me 500+ for the check which included topping of fluids, and other regular checks (most of which are already done during an oil change). I have read that this kind of check helps detect problems before the warranty runs out. So how big of a deal is to get this done?

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Dealer could avoid the warranty if you miss it (most likely). –  sibvic Jul 30 '11 at 0:56
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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The short answer is "yes."

The longer answer seems to hinge on the cost. The 30K mile service on my 2004 WRX included the following:

  • Inspect Drive belt(s) [Except camshaft]
  • Inspect Camshaft drive belt
  • Replace Engine oil
  • Replace Engine oil filter
  • Perform Replace engine coolant and inspect cooling system, hoses and connections
  • Recommended Performance Replace fuel filter and inspect fuel system, hoses and connections
  • Replace Air cleaner element
  • Replace Spark plugs
  • Inspect Transmission/Differential (Front & Rear) lubricants (Gear oil)
  • Replace Brake fluid
  • Inspect Disc brake pads and discs, front and rear axle boots and axle shaft joint portions
  • Inspect Brake linings and drums
  • Perform Inspect brake lines and check operation of parking and service brake system
  • Inspect Clutch operation
  • Inspect Steering and suspension
  • Perform Rotate and Inspect Tires

I've marked in bold above the items on this list that, if improperly inspected or not fixed if there was an issue, could lead to death (and would probably lead to a failed vehicle inspection or MOT). Bad brakes = very bad.

I've marked in italics above the items on the list that are a pain / have a larger labor cost associated with them. For example, I rotate my own tires but I don't pretend that it's fun.

While it is true that some of these things would happen on a regular service, you should consider the fact that you've spent a whole lot of money on this vehicle. A "major" service is still a fraction of the vehicle's total cost.

That said, if you don't like the quote from your service provider, go to another one and get another quote. Go with the shop that you trust the most.

Following up: if you're an amateur enthusiast and would like to learn some straightforward car maintenance tasks for fun and profit (or, at least, cost avoidance), here is my suggested subset of the big list:

  • Replace Engine oil
  • Replace Engine oil filter
  • Replace Air cleaner element
  • Perform Rotate and Inspect Tires

None of the above are terribly hard nor are the parts very expensive so they're reasonable learning opportunities. Also, you can check the detailed service quote and say "please take that off the list, already took care of it."

By the way, one way I judge the quality of the shop is their response to that statement is "great, now I'll be done with your car a little quicker."

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Thanks Bob. I think I'll shop around for a bit and go with it. The thing that threw me off was a dealer in Northern Virginia has quoted me 900 - 1050 for this, which I found to be ridiculous price just to check. He said he would charge extra for important replacements like spark plug. –  suryalistic Aug 1 '11 at 14:11
    
@suryalistic, go ahead and ask for a detailed quote. You will likely find that the plugs are cheap parts but an expensive replacement on some cars due to the labor. My car has a flat-4 engine so you can't just reach under the hood and unscrew the plugs. There's also nothing wrong with learning to do some of the above yourself and saying "please take that off the list, already done." –  Bob Cross Aug 1 '11 at 15:12
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the dealer took to offense when I asked him to split the costs and explain why they quoted 1000+ when the neighborhood has dealers with 500+. He refused to take off spark plug out of the routine when I said it is not needed till 60k for turbo models. I am going with the other dealer for now. Just that I trusted the first guy(1000+) with my car for oil changes. The problem with DIY is that I do not have required set up. Thanks for the explanation. What you said is exactly right. The plugs cost me $150, but the labor cost is almost as much. voting up. –  suryalistic Aug 1 '11 at 17:44
    
@suryalistic, I feel your pain on the rude dealer. Still, he did make your decision process easier: "don't come to me for quality service. Come to me for a rude attitude." With respect to DIY, some things are less tool-intensive than you might think. Come over to the dark side.... ;-) –  Bob Cross Aug 1 '11 at 20:10
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I have heard, it does not really need it. If you see any problem or worried about it something, of course you can take it.

If you have drove your car really rough, don't drive it that much (is 5/6 years old), then I would take it in that case. Otherwise not.

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In the UK if you don't do these (especially the items @Bob marked in bold) your car is likely to fail it's MOT and will not be allowed on the road. YMMV in other countries - in the US the requirements are quite a bit more relaxed, but the maintenance is there for a reason - to keep you and others safer. –  Rory Alsop Jul 31 '11 at 21:51
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30K miles is a long way to go without having somebody check your vehicle, and it falls right in line with manufacturer recommended schedule of maintenance for the majority of all car manufacturers. –  FossilizedCarlos Aug 2 '11 at 3:48
    
I am assuming you are maintaining your car every 3k miles so it should be pretty healthy at 30k unless as I said, it has been standing a lot or you are using it rough. –  Dave Aug 2 '11 at 13:00
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