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2013 Outback 2.5 Limited
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. My 2013 Outback (2.5) has turned 5. I have about 35,000 miles on it. So far, maintenance has been limited to oil changes, air filters, and one brake fluid replacement. All dealer-serviced at seemingly reasonable prices.

Looking at the Subaru service schedule for 60 months, it looks like more of the same, plus spark plugs and a lot of inspect this and that. I plan to head back to the dealer, but I'm trying to order a la carte to avoid the "service package", which could run $700-800. The car will be state-inspected at the same time.

Do I really need new plugs at 35,000 miles? How much should I expect to pay? I do idle and short-trip it (5-10 miles) a lot. Should I have the throttle body cleaned too?

I question whether the CVT and diff fluid/oil really will be "inspected". Should I just have them changed (how much to pay?), or not worry about it yet?

Anything else to have done at this time?

Independent shops around me seem hit or miss, and in the past have not impressed with cost or service, and I don't have the space or physical ability to do this type of work myself, so I'll be heading to the dealer one way or another. Any advice appreciated.
 

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2013 3.6R Limited
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1,086 Posts
You would be wasting your money replacing your spark plugs at just 35,000 miles.

I would find a good indie shop and specify exactly what items you want checked and serviced.

A simple ATF drain-and-fill at this time would be good insurance for your transmission.

It is a shame that you cannot do this work yourself. With just a few basic tools, these vehicles are fairly easy to perform basic maintenance on.
 
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2013 Outback 2.5i Convenience
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1,370 Posts
Do I really need new plugs at 35,000 miles? How much should I expect to pay? I do idle and short-trip it (5-10 miles) a lot. Should I have the throttle body cleaned too?

I question whether the CVT and diff fluid/oil really will be "inspected". Should I just have them changed (how much to pay?), or not worry about it yet?

Anything else to have done at this time?

Independent shops around me seem hit or miss, and in the past have not impressed with cost or service, and I don't have the space or physical ability to do this type of work myself, so I'll be heading to the dealer one way or another. Any advice appreciated.
I would ask for service pack A (the usual oil change one) since it inspects everything you need to do.
On top, I'd drain/fill the CVT and differentials since you do a lot of short trips (you're kind of in the "severe driving" style). Not sure on costs, I recall hearing ~$350 for these fluids.

They might push for plugs as per interval, I'd decline it.
 

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2019 2.5i Outback Limited, CVT, Nav, Eyesight and the rest of the safety stuff.
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171 Posts
Don't they still offer service by mileage?

Usually it's X months/X miles, I've always set up the service by mileage and never had any problems since it seems one of the family Outbacks seems to get a lot less use than the other.
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 Limited
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1,062 Posts
Usually it's X months/X miles
The part you're leaving out is "whichever occurs first" as per the service manual.

So for OP the months occurred before the miles for the 60k miles / 60 months.

The rationale for "whichever occurs first" is two-fold: 1) certain components or fluids wear simply by age alone (brake fluid would be an example); 2) low mileage is typically indicative of frequent low-mileage trips, which cause more wear-per-mile than longer trips.

That being said the 60k laundry list in the maintenance manual is relatively conservative. Since I DIY all maintenance I did the plugs myself (I had accumulated 40k miles by 60 months) and the old plugs looked great. It's just $40 in parts as a DIY job though so easy peace-of-mind item.

I deviate from the service schedule with the following:

1. It calls for new fuel filter by 60k/60mo. I bought a new filter, but haven't gotten around to installing it and doubt it's really needed.
2. I do drain/fills on differential and CVT. Easy and not super expensive. I strongly disagree with the whole "lifetime fluid" concept.
 

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2013 3.6R Limited
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Yep, "lifetime fluid" can eventually become "deathtime fluid", particularly for automatic transmissions.
 

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2013 Outback, 2.5i Limited w/ Moonroof
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1,537 Posts
With only 35k miles on your car, I would absolutely hold off on the spark plugs. They are totally mileage based. There is no reason to change based upon time.

There is no reason to do a CVT fluid change before 60k miles either. However, based upon what I saw in the differential fluids at the 30k service for my Outback, I would have the fluid changed in both the front and rear diff.

It's not a bad idea to have the throttle body cleaned.
 

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2019 2.5i Outback Limited, CVT, Nav, Eyesight and the rest of the safety stuff.
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The part you're leaving out is "whichever occurs first" as per the service manual.
Got to admit I did miss that part. When I realized that the months/mileage was going to be so "out of wack" I called my service department and they recommended going by the mileage. Sorry...
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 Limited
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No need to apologize. The month-based maintenance schedule does appear to be pretty conservative. I still mostly go by it since I DIY so it's not a big deal. I'd probably hold off on a few more items if I were paying for the service.
 

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2017 Outback, 2.5L, Auto; 2018 Forester, 2.5L, Auto (for Mama); 2005 Baja, 2.5 Turbo, Manual
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796 Posts
Yep, "lifetime fluid" can eventually become "deathtime fluid", particularly for automatic transmissions.
Or as my mechanic explained it -- without fluid changes, the automatic transmission dies around 100thou, and that's its "lifetime"
I use the severe use schedule for the CVT, just cuz I'm new to the whole CVT thing, not totally comfortable with the concept. But it's working well, though I only have 48K and a lot of that is on the highway.
 
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