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Discussion Starter #1
I took my 2005 Impreza Outback to the dealer for its 90k service. I've been to this dealer for most of my service during the life of the car, and they've always been very nice. In addition to the $500 maintenance, they also tightened and adjusted loose heat shields and performed fuel induction cleaning (with my permission) for an extra $200. They also recommended replacing the front inner axle boots due to leaking (on the phone he said they were torn, but that wasn't in the write-up) and leaking valve cover gaskets. I declined, as it would have been an extra $1000. I then took it to a small shop next door to my office that is very trustworthy. He checked it out and told me there was a dot of oil on one of the boots and a spot of anti-freeze on the head cover gasket. He saw no leaking on the valve cover gaskets. He said nothing needed to be done, and didn't charge me a dime to look at it. Who should I believe here? I can't imagine the mechanic would pass up work that really needs to be done.
 

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I hate to say it, but likely the dealership is being overly cauitious and/or greedy.

It IS likely the VC gaskets are leaking a little - very common. many people just use xtra vigilance to keep the oil topped up. And torn inner boots are quite common. Do a search here for options but, if you choose not to reboot immediately, you can drive for months until it starts making a noise if you want - expect any grease thrown onto the exhaust to stink though.

You could have a longer discussion with the indie mechanic about what can wait, and what may need to be done soon. Or try for a 3rd opinion. Someone here may be able to recommend a shop in your city.
 

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Clean well taken care of proper oil change 2.5L subaru engine should go 150K before the valve covers start to show any signs of leaking. 90K your dealer was trying to line their wallets. I would even question that they were even doing the work they were going to charge you for vs simply power washing your car and giving it back to you.

90K service for $500? Did they change the spark plugs and wires along with the timing belt which is due in another 15,000 miles? Your dealer was simply looking to fill shop hours and make some profit.
 

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Clean well taken care of proper oil change 2.5L subaru engine should go 150K before the valve covers start to show any signs of leaking. 90K your dealer was trying to line their wallets. I would even question that they were even doing the work they were going to charge you for vs simply power washing your car and giving it back to you.

90K service for $500? Did they change the spark plugs and wires along with the timing belt which is due in another 15,000 miles? Your dealer was simply looking to fill shop hours and make some profit.
 

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Your independent mechanic is the one to go with on this issue. Dealerships will always caution on side that upsells the customer.

I wouldn't think that a dealership would purposely try to dupe customers into unneeded repairs by lying. Their reputation would suffer, and so would their business. That said, they will try to upsell additional services for preventative issues, because they are in business to make a profit and keep their service shops open.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the advice. subiesailor: they replaced the spark plugs, but did not replace the timing belt. Seemed expensive for routing maintenance, but I guess that's what I get for having it serviced in an upscale Boston suburb. I think I'll stick with my indie mechanic from now on.
 
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