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2019 Blue Outback in Premium trim
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35 Posts
There are a wide range of dealers out there, and I’ve experienced the full range. A lot of dealerships tack on extra ”recommended” work that’s not part of the manufacturer’s recommended service. Two dealers I dealt with did a heavy sell on getting your injectors flushed every year for an extra $100. “Is that recommended by the manufacturer?” I’d innocently ask. “No, but it’s a good idea,” they’d always reply. I got stung by one crooked dealership who tacked on an extra $150 to a scheduled service that I only found out later wasn’t part of the regular service.

I bought my Subaru is part because of the reputation of the dealer- Hodges in Ferndale, MI- and their service organization. I just had my 6,000 mile service, which was free, and no suggestions that I add any extra-cost work.
 

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4th & 5th 2.5L Outbacks: new '19 & '14 with 75k. Traded '[email protected] yr 112k, '[email protected] 155k, '[email protected] 155k
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47 Posts
I will not have my local dealer do ANYTHING other than warranty work.

They claimed our '11 would not pass inspection due to (I think) ball or CV joint $800 repair.

I took it to a non-inspection mechanic we trust who said there was nothing wrong. Took it to another inspection station and it passed and it PASSED for the next TWO YEARS before we traded it!!!!
 

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20 Outback Limited XT 13 Outback 3.6R Limited
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94 Posts
OP said he already bought the 2020, so that's water over the dam. Understand there really are dealers where the sales and service departments' reputations are wildly divergent, i.e. one can be extremely good and the other extremely bad, or vice versa. Perhaps the price was right, or they were honest on that end of it, or whatever. Main point is it's done, so don't think too hard on it.

And OP also said that it was never his intention to trade in the 2009, so I presume he still has it and not yet taken in for any kind of service there, so that's also water over the dam. I don't think he'll be going back there.

But if it were me, I'd take it one step further: Write a letter to the owner explaining your experiences - and enclose paperwork, if you have it - and why they will never again get your service business.
Good comments, and advice. My local Subaru sales and service departments aren't even at the same location. I suspect while they have the same owner, each has their own manager responsible. We've bought 3 Outbacks over the last 13 years from the same salesman. After a friend recommended another dealer, we spent hours trying to negotiate a good deal on the second one, finally walked out. I called the salesman at the dealer we bought the first Outback from, arrived 15 minutes before they closed, and wrote an order for a new Outback that was several thousand dollars less than the dealer my friend recommended. Similar experience with our 2020 Outback Limited XT, test drove the car, knowing what the invoice price was, had a reasonable below invoice price, no haggling in a few minutes and wrote up the order. Love the sales department.

The service department on the other hand usually tries to up sell work. You need to know something about the cars, and what the factory recommended service is. Know what repairs and maintenance have been done. Skip the extraneous stuff which is usually pure profit. I had them try to tell me my '07 Outback needed a new brake/ABS module, think it was in the $900 to $1,000 range. I was getting an error code that indicated it was a bad ABS wheel sensor. Took it to my local independent mechanic, $60 part plus an hour of labor. On the other hand, the backup camera on our '13 Outback had moisture in it, useless after a rain. Not a cheap part, and a bit of a pain to replace. Spoke to the service advisor, who knows me from having our cars serviced there and he got it covered for no charge well past the warranty period as goodwill. Same guy who tried to sell me the brake/ABS module. Are they crooked, or incompetent? Even my local independent mechanic wrote up the timing belt & water pump as recommended service, as he didn't know I'd had the head gasket replaced and the timing belt done at the dealer. He said no problem and took it off his recommended list. I also had front control arms go due to excessive rust. If you're not sure if something is needed, and assuming you know at least a little about cars, don't hesitate to ask them to take you back to the service bay and show you what they are talking about.

I used to do almost all my own car and motorcycle service. As I've gotten older, I have less interest in doing that. I try to make sure the service advisor and service manager at my motorcycle dealer know me, and my bikes. I tend to get a lot of extra help, like printing service manual segments for things I want to do my self. I've known the parts guy for over 25 years, and the sales guy for just as long. I get hellos by name when I walk in. I think this helps get good and fair service. With my Subaru dealer, they probably have 7 or more service advisors. The one I had mixed good and bad experiences with is no longer there. I've talked to a few of them, and there are several I will not deal with, not customer focused. I asked my salesman, who knows me from purchasing 3 Outbacks who's best, he told me which service advisor to work with. She wasn't there last week when I brought my wife Outback in for an airbag recall. Like the guy I dealt with, customer focused, didn't try to sell me anything after the airbag repair, went over upcoming maintenance that would be due. They forgot to wash the car, he realized it when he went to bring it out, apologized to me and said if I could wait 15 minutes, they'd get it washed. Good way to handle the situation. The salesman told me to call him if I have any issues. It's in his and the deanship's interest to keep me happy so I buy Subaru #4 from them when the time comes.

If you are not happy with the service experience, let the service manager know. I'd also followup with a call or letter to SOA.
 
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