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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So,

I take my 3 month old Subaru Outback (2013 w/ Eye Sight) to the dealer to have the oil changed.

The service rep tells me that the tires need to be rotated.

I ask (and state) "What's what going to do for me? Aside from wear all the tires out at the same time? I really think I should just replace the fronts with the same ones, and then repalce all four the name time..."

The service rep says "Well, if you do that, replace the front tires only, and the rear tires have less tread on them, then Subaru can refuse to warranty the transmissions / transaxel(s) if something goes breaks."

<INSERT manager. service by life tread on commentary furter>

Of course, I said to him in a loud voice that everyone could hear "Are you telling me that Subaru transmissions are so feable that if the tire tread is 1/16 of an inch different from the front to the rear that they fail?"

He didn't have much to say.

I went on to ask what the SERVICE manual says. (Nice guy, but didn't know.) ...and I then told him that I'd pickup the service manual for the 2013 Outback and find out for myself.

That got me a look, and a comment: "Service manuals are pretty expensive."

Me: "I can live with $150.00..."

Him <SLIGHT laugh>"They aren't that cheap..."

Me: "Are you kidding?"

He was right: $350.00 at the stealership for a 2013 service manual!!

Wow.

Now for the question:

Does Subaru REALLY not warranty your car if your tires don't have EXACTLY the same amount of tread on all 4 wheels, or even front / rear tread differences that are not below the wear indicator?

GB
 

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So,

I take my 3 month old Subaru Outback (2013 w/ Eye Sight) to the dealer to have the oil changed.

The service rep tells me that the tires need to be rotated.

I ask (and state) "What's what going to do for me? Aside from wear all the tires out at the same time? I really think I should just replace the fronts with the same ones, and then repalce all four the name time..."

The service rep says "Well, if you do that, replace the front tires only, and the rear tires have less tread on them, then Subaru can refuse to warranty the transmissions / transaxel(s) if something goes breaks."

<INSERT manager. service by life tread on commentary furter>

Of course, I said to him in a loud voice that everyone could hear "Are you telling me that Subaru transmissions are so feable that if the tire tread is 1/16 of an inch different from the front to the rear that they fail?"

He didn't have much to say.

I went on to ask what the SERVICE manual says. (Nice guy, but didn't know.) ...and I then told him that I'd pickup the service manual for the 2013 Outback and find out for myself.

That got me a look, and a comment: "Service manuals are pretty expensive."

Me: "I can live with $150.00..."

Him <SLIGHT laugh>"They aren't that cheap..."

Me: "Are you kidding?"

He was right: $350.00 at the stealership for a 2013 service manual!!

Wow.

Now for the question:

Does Subaru REALLY not warranty your car if your tires don't have EXACTLY the same amount of tread on all 4 wheels, or even front / rear tread differences that are not below the wear indicator?

GB
I hope you take this the correct way. Its customers like you that we like to FU-CK with.

Tire rotation is standard protocol at every oilchange for the AWD Subaru primarily due to the AWD system and with the OB the raised suspension are hard on tires. Most dealers will do it with no charge when asked. Most seem to charge $20 for it if you don't ask.

As for improper tire care with AWD yes all auto companies reserve the right to deny warranty claims involving failed or failing AWD systems caused by improperly sized tires. Given the AWD systems depend on tires being more or less equal in size and wear.

By the way being an A S S Hole to a dealer or for that matter any shop because they simply offer what they normally do - is like being a jerk to wait staff before your dinner arrives. No telling what the wait staff pissed in - spit in or dropped on the floor before it made it to your table. This sort of lesson in life tends to apply to everything and even more so to places outside the US where people are less likely to find your antics amusing or acceptable
 

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The issue with all full-time AWD's (not just Subaru) is that the circumference of the four tires have to be, essentially, the same. Otherwise, the four wheels won't turn at the same speed, tension can build up in the drive train, and this can damage drive train components.

Tire manufacturing isn't perfect, so makers of AWD vehicles usually provide a recommended limit to differences in the circumference of the tires on their cars. For Subaru it's 1/4-inch (again, it's the circumference, not the diameter, or radius).

This is also why you will find threads here with the common story "I blew a tire, and it has to be replaced; the dealer is saying I have to replace all four." Again, the reason is that the new tire will have more tread than the other three old tires.

To give you some perspective on this, if you have two identical tires, but one has a tread depth that is 1.3/32 of an inch lower than the other, the difference in circumference will be 1/4-inch. It's doesn't take much in the way of tread wear to result in this.

Consequently, the dealer is, indeed, suggesting that you rotate the tires so that they all wear at the same rate.

Is this published somewhere? Yes indeed.

This is on page page 11-39 of the 2011 Owners Manual, and others should be similar if not the same:

All four tires must be the same in
terms of manufacturer, brand
(tread pattern), construction, degree
of wear, speed symbol, load
index and size. Mixing tires of
different types, sizes or degrees
of wear can result in damage to
the vehicle’s power train.


See http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...rmed-subaru-techtips.html?highlight=confirmed for a related discussion.

And, for a Factory Service Manual go to SOA's tech info site: Subaru Technical Information System - Welcome
 

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You don't need a service manual, just look in your owners manual. I believe for all 2010 - 2013 outbacks tire rotation is at every 7500 miles, which coincides with oil changes on the 2.5i. Every dealer has their own "recommended schedule" which you don't need to follow to keep your warranty. Tires with uneven wear will cause damage to your AWD system... so get them rotated on schedule.
 

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how many miles have you put on? It may very well be the dealership was trying to pad the bill slightly. I also think your service schedule mentions tire rotation. I suggest you also read up on the proper procedure for using the spare tire anf having the car towed. Both those can damage the drivetrain if done improperly.

anyway, as subisailor said, it's specifically because the AWD system is so GOOD, that rolling tire size must be kept very close - in the past the most common number was all tires withing 1/4" CIRCUMFERENCE. This is to prevent torque bind. This issue is not unique to Subaru either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Guy's, you rock... yes, I was purposefully being difficult...

I've owned MANY cars over the years, but this is my FIRST AWD vehicle.

Generally, rotating the tires does nothing but insure that you have worn tires at ALL four positions. This is not useful, when you can just replace the really worn tires on the front of the vehicle. I liken this to a dealer telling you to repalce your oil every 3000 miles, when the manufacturer tells you to replace it every 7500 miles.

So, it's clear, I've been corrected in so far as the Subaru is concerned. I thank you for that. Looks like I'm rotating and repalcing them four at a time...

...and to be clear, the Service Manager was a great person. There is no doubt I gave him crap, he was completely professional, and I was able to determine if he really knew what he was talking about.

[He's a former Subaru mechanic, though it appears that he's not been wrenching for about 5 years, I'd guess.]

Interesting point about the circumference difference... I guess the only other way to fix that is to make sure your vehicle can be put into 2 wheel drive when you have a blow out, something to remember for the next car.

I should point out that I asked if this was a Subaru requirement OR a dealship policy. I didn't get answer, and I asked two times. He did give me an explaination, similar to the ones above, but he'd lost credibility in my eyes once he didn't answer the first question. [So at this point I'm wondering if he's feeding me a line.] Once we started talking, it was clear he knew all about older Subarus, and was probably taken aback by the fact that I was asking detailed questions (and getting progressively more annoyed as answers were not forth coming).


As far as the service manuals: I like to know how my vehicles are constructed.

I also like to know just what's in a job when I take it to dealer.

The Owners Manual is decent, but it lacks certain technical details I'm interested in. More to the point, when I've asked questions politely, I've gotten different answers. It's interesting how "Sir, I really don't know, we'll need to check" doesn't come out too much:

- Do I have a timing belt or a timing chain?
- What is the factory recommend interval for changing the oil?
- Does the 3.6R require synthetic, that's what your sales guys told me?...
- When do the differentials need to have their fluids changed, and, unlike the coolant, does it require some special Subaru lubricant? [See, I actually did at least look at the Owners Manual... remembering is another story.]
- How long before I need to replace the cabin filters and the engine air filter?
- What is the next big service appointment I'm going to have and what, specifically, will need to be done?

I don't think these are uncommon questions...

My assumption is that these will be detailed in the service manual, along with the procedures for doing them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Seriously, all you had to do was deny the service.

A simple no.

Or, like subiesailer, no thank you.

Joel
I did that with the first guy I spoke with over the phone... and then he went silent when I asked if it was a Subaru required service, or a dealer policy.

I will say the overall the stealership was pretty great. I may have to actually change my phrasology back to "dealership" now that I no longer own any Hondas.
 

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Guy's, you rock... yes, I was purposefully being difficult...

I've owned MANY cars over the years, but this is my FIRST AWD vehicle.

Generally, rotating the tires does nothing but insure that you have worn tires at ALL four positions. This is not useful, when you can just replace the really worn tires on the front of the vehicle. I liken this to a dealer telling you to repalce your oil every 3000 miles, when the manufacturer tells you to replace it every 7500 miles.

So, it's clear, I've been corrected in so far as the Subaru is concerned. I thank you for that. Looks like I'm rotating and repalcing them four at a time...

...and to be clear, the Service Manager was a great person. There is no doubt I gave him crap, he was completely professional, and I was able to determine if he really knew what he was talking about.

[He's a former Subaru mechanic, though it appears that he's not been wrenching for about 5 years, I'd guess.]

Interesting point about the circumference difference... I guess the only other way to fix that is to make sure your vehicle can be put into 2 wheel drive when you have a blow out, something to remember for the next car.

I should point out that I asked if this was a Subaru requirement OR a dealship policy. I didn't get answer, and I asked two times. He did give me an explaination, similar to the ones above, but he'd lost credibility in my eyes once he didn't answer the first question. [So at this point I'm wondering if he's feeding me a line.] Once we started talking, it was clear he knew all about older Subarus, and was probably taken aback by the fact that I was asking detailed questions (and getting progressively more annoyed as answers were not forth coming).


As far as the service manuals: I like to know how my vehicles are constructed.

I also like to know just what's in a job when I take it to dealer.

The Owners Manual is decent, but it lacks certain technical details I'm interested in. More to the point, when I've asked questions politely, I've gotten different answers. It's interesting how "Sir, I really don't know, we'll need to check" doesn't come out too much:

- Do I have a timing belt or a timing chain?
- What is the factory recommend interval for changing the oil?
- Does the 3.6R require synthetic, that's what your sales guys told me?...
- When do the differentials need to have their fluids changed, and, unlike the coolant, does it require some special Subaru lubricant? [See, I actually did at least look at the Owners Manual... remembering is another story.]
- How long before I need to replace the cabin filters and the engine air filter?
- What is the next big service appointment I'm going to have and what, specifically, will need to be done?

I don't think these are uncommon questions...

My assumption is that these will be detailed in the service manual, along with the procedures for doing them.
3.6 is designed and run on standard oil has for years. Nothing has really changed with it. But subaru just this year has more or less probably because all of their new engines the 2L and the 2.5 are ground up new engines which are actually designed with synthetic in mind.

Fair guess that subaru simply decided to avoid confusion to recommend synthetic for all the engines so not to mix people up. But the older 3.6 was run for years on non synthetic just fine and wasn't designed originally with the intention of needing synthetic by design.
 

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3.6 has the timing chain - oil change interval is listed in owners manual but keep in mind your use - can shorten the max listed interval length.
 

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. . . .
As far as the service manuals: I like to know how my vehicles are constructed.

I also like to know just what's in a job when I take it to dealer.

The Owners Manual is decent, but it lacks certain technical details I'm interested in. More to the point, when I've asked questions politely, I've gotten different answers. It's interesting how "Sir, I really don't know, we'll need to check" doesn't come out too much:

- Do I have a timing belt or a timing chain?
- What is the factory recommend interval for changing the oil?
- Does the 3.6R require synthetic, that's what your sales guys told me?...
- When do the differentials need to have their fluids changed, and, unlike the coolant, does it require some special Subaru lubricant? [See, I actually did at least look at the Owners Manual... remembering is another story.]
- How long before I need to replace the cabin filters and the engine air filter?
- What is the next big service appointment I'm going to have and what, specifically, will need to be done?

I don't think these are uncommon questions...

My assumption is that these will be detailed in the service manual, along with the procedures for doing them.
The mechanical questions (e.g. belt or chain) will be apparent from the repair instructions in the service manual, as will "recommended materials" (there's a small separate sub-section on this in the General volume), but "schedule/mileage-related" questions (e.g., oil change interval) are not covered; instead this is covered in the Warranty and Maintenance booklet that should be with the Owners Manual.
 

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Any 4 wheel drive vehicle can be sensitive to even wear. My dealer included 2 years of oil changes, and rotates the tires at every service. Also, remember todays softer tires are much more susceptible to 'cupping', proper inflatation and rotates will help you from having noisy tires as well. Why do you find it economically feasible to replace 2 tires only? If you keepthem rotated, you would get more life out of the tires, and you should ALWAYS replace all 4 on ANY 4 wheel drive.....and really, find a dealer you like and be respectful, it will go much further for you in the long run
 

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...

- Do I have a timing belt or a timing chain?
- What is the factory recommend interval for changing the oil?
- Does the 3.6R require synthetic, that's what your sales guys told me?...
- When do the differentials need to have their fluids changed, and, unlike the coolant, does it require some special Subaru lubricant? [See, I actually did at least look at the Owners Manual... remembering is another story.]
- How long before I need to replace the cabin filters and the engine air filter?
- What is the next big service appointment I'm going to have and what, specifically, will need to be done?

I don't think these are uncommon questions...

My assumption is that these will be detailed in the service manual, along with the procedures for doing them.
Every single one of your questions is answered in the Owner's Manual under the "Maintenance Schedule" Chart. If there are lots of things listed under a certain mileage, then it's a "big" service appointment.
 

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I will say the overall the stealership was pretty great. I may have to actually change my phrasology back to "dealership" now that I no longer own any Hondas.
well, let's not get crazy - lol.

i'm actually looking for an indie shop.

there are two in my area and will give them a go!!!

and, to be fair... my local dealership has been okay.

joel
 

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Interesting point about the circumference difference... I guess the only other way to fix that is to make sure your vehicle can be put into 2 wheel drive when you have a blow out, something to remember for the next car.
AWD vehicles tend to have restrictions on spare tire usage. Some require full size spares, some require the driver to engage a 2WD mode. A few require waiting around for a flatbed- no option to fix it yourself.

Older Subarus with the 4-speed automatic had a 2WD mode for just this reason. The 5-speed auto in your car is designed to be more forgiving of a temporary mismatch than the 4-speed, but if memory serves:

50mph hard maximum
50 mile total trip maximum
temporary spare allowed on the rear axle only- so if a front goes you need to move a rear wheel to the front and put the spare on the rear.

You should confirm these in your owners' manual.

Given how unpopular roadside tire changes are with the american public these days, I don't think Subaru is overly restrictive with these warranty protection rules. Personally I'm thankful that Subaru has not joined the fast-growing list of automakers who don't include a spare at all and simply sign you up for a roadside assistance tow club.

(other points from your posts well addressed by now)
 

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It isn't four wheel drive that creates the need to rotate tires...it's slip control. If you have a RWD car with positraction, the same would be true for the two tires on the drive axle. The problem is that different tires may have different circumferences, and thus may turn at different speeds. The posi differential would react as if the smaller tire is slipping, and try to compensate. You end up wearing out the posi clutch. On a 4wd, the problem is tripled, because you have three differentials...one for each axle, and one center...which are provisioned with slip control. It's very important that you have four tires that are as close in design and treadwear as possible. Rotate regularly, change all four at once.

If you think your Subaru is expensive to service, try taking a Porsche to the dealer. But at least the Porsche won't handle like a hippopotamus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So, the two vs four wheels...

On a NON-AWD vehicle, IMO it's a load of poop [trying to be better about the swearing] to rotate the tires.

Consider this:

If you have a front wheel drive vehicle, you are going to wear out the front tires first. Period.

The rear tires, properly inflated, and properly aligned, will outlast the front tires 2 to 3 times as longer.

So, if you are putting 15k a year on the car, you're going to get about 2-3 years out of the rears, and repalce the fronts at least 1 time, probably 2. [This assumes you drive like me.]

The tires in the front will be the same as each other, and so will the rears.

Why would you put yourself in the financial position to have to replace four tires at every time you need tires, when you can just replace the front tires several times? Especially, when the rear wear indicator isn't close to being hit...

---

Now, if you have a rear wheel drive vehicle, the logic sorta goes out the window, as you're probably going to go through a set of tires a more regular intervals.

However, you are still repalcing them 2 at a time; tires should be repalced in sets in the rear and the front.

---

Note: I'm not talking about different brands in any of my comments. I'm talking about replacing the fronts or the rears with the same model and brand. I've sorta assumed that people would understand that. It's fairly obvious to me that if you are only replacing two tires, they still have to match the other two tires on the car. (Compound formulation, size, etc.)

What I didn't take into consideration with the AWD aspect was the example where different treadware results in a 1/4 inch difference from one differential to another.

That could be pretty significant.
 

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Consider this:

If you have a front wheel drive vehicle, you are going to wear out the front tires first. Period.

The rear tires, properly inflated, and properly aligned, will outlast the front tires 2 to 3 times as longer.

So, if you are putting 15k a year on the car, you're going to get about 2-3 years out of the rears, and repalce the fronts at least 1 time, probably 2. [This assumes you drive like me.]

The tires in the front will be the same as each other, and so will the rears.
The flaw in your logic is that when you replace the fronts, you will then (temporarily anyway) have better tread on the front tires than on the rear. That's a no-no, especially if it rains or snows where you drive. This is true regardless of the number of drive wheels. For spinout safety in a braking turn, you ALWAYS want more tread on your rear tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The flaw in your logic is that when you replace the fronts, you will then (temporarily anyway) have better tread on the front tires than on the rear. That's a no-no, especially if it rains or snows where you drive. This is true regardless of the number of drive wheels. For spinout safety in a braking turn, you ALWAYS want more tread on your rear tires.
I have found that I destroy the fronts while not even coming close the wearing out the rears on any of the Hondas that we owned.

Where I live, there is no driving with snow... the local roads have never been plowed enough that I could even get out.

This is one of the reasons we now have an Outback and a Legacy.

I just really didn't want to buy them in the same year -wink-.

I'll just start a tire fund for replacing them all at the same time.
 
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