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2017 Outback 2.5 Limited w/Eyesight, White
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Discussion Starter #1
We have two '17 Outbacks and I have had each of them to the dealer twice for 6 month and 12 month service. We don't drive much and only put about 4000 miles a year on each of them. At each service visit, the rep tells me I don't need an oil change because the mileage isn't that much. I ask him why the owners manual tells me to come in at 6 months? I have better things to do I suppose. They have gone ahead and changed the oil on my insistence each time. I asked the service manager by email why I am being told I don't need service but the manual says I do and his answer was that they were only trying to save me money. I am not following, they are free.
 

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They might be free to you but someone is paying for them.

Tell them thanks but you want your oil change.
 

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2018 Touring 3.6 '15 XV
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90 Posts
I vote with the dealer. Changing the oil at 2000 miles is a waste of oil. It can be proved by sending a sample of the used oil to Blackstone Labs for analysis. If you leave your car in a dust storm, or some other severe storage I guess you can pollute the oil in less than a year. For $28 you will know yourself what I know.

https://www.blackstone-labs.com

Or, you can save your money and the dealer's, too. Change the oil yearly at 4k is plenty.
 

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I vote with the dealer. Changing the oil at 2000 miles is a waste of oil. It can be proved by sending a sample of the used oil to Blackstone Labs for analysis. If you leave your car in a dust storm, or some other severe storage I guess you can pollute the oil in less than a year. For $28 you will know yourself what I know.

https://www.blackstone-labs.com

Or, you can save your money and the dealer's, too. Change the oil yearly at 4k is plenty.
Only good advice if your warranty has expired. If one is still in their warranty period it is foolish to not change oil by the book.
 

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2019 Subaru Forester Premium, Crystal Black Silica, Pkg 15
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While you only drive 4000 miles, if you’re doing short trips the oil is still going through a thermal cycle. Over time some of the properties of oil change.

There’s a big difference between bombing around town 1-5 miles a time vs a 100 mile commute on the highway.

That is the reason behind 6 months / 6000 miles. There are people I know that drive their car less than 3000 miles a year because they take mass transit to work... you wouldn’t want to go 2 years with the same oil.
 

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While you only drive 4000 miles, if you’re doing short trips the oil is still going through a thermal cycle. Over time some of the properties of oil change.

There’s a big difference between bombing around town 1-5 miles a time vs a 100 mile commute on the highway.

That is the reason behind 6 months / 6000 miles. There are people I know that drive their car less than 3000 miles a year because they take mass transit to work... you wouldn’t want to go 2 years with the same oil.
Yet there owners that will change by the miles and not the calendar, then scratch their heads when the engine fails prematurely.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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Change it - follow the owners manual to stay within maintenance guidelines and stay within the warranty requirements.

Technically speaking we have no idea - are you towing, driving 4,000 one mile trips, offroading, autocross, aggressive, idling the car with an inverter and extension cord running Christmas lights?

We, nor the dealer, know any of that. More than likely - it's light/average use but big corporations need one-size-fits-all solutions that can work effectively across wide ranges of circumstances. Scaled system driven requirements are never perfect.

Mechanically - the dealer is right, UOA would prove you have thousands of miles left. If you really want to monitor oil properly and have a current interest - get a UOA now so you can compare it to one in the future and you'll know the dealer isn't making mechanically risky suggestions.

Oil degradation is largely driven by the engine running, the time constraints are for more ambiguous and fuzzy reasons but are needed for other reasons.

Warranty - here is the gray area. Bottom line - The possibility of an expensive situation exists - so you need to make sure it's done, that's why you change it. But, here's what it looks like in reality.

Dealers don't make a habit of even checking or caring about maintenance for warranty work on average non-turbo vehicles. I've yet to personally hear of one warranty denial because of maintenance records on non-turbo vehicles. Once you've opened up/been around a lot of the same engines - it's not really that hard to tell when neglect is a causative reality. It's not like dealers see engine failures and are confused or surprised - there are patterns and trends and failure modes and causative and non causative agents. Anyone around engines can put this stuff together pretty quickly.

A guy I've helped over the years - his transmission was fixed under warranty, he does all his own maintenance (including never changing the transmission fluid), and he wasn't asked for records...and on and on...
It would be a horrible marketing move is a company started denying warranty claims on every vehicle who missed an oil change by 500 miles. Clearly the dealer knows this as well.

But it's not really worth the risk, not knowing your specific dealer, the personnel working there, etc - on a simple oil change either so you just do it.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Change it - follow the owners manual to stay within maintenance guidelines and stay within the warranty requirements. .....
It would be a horrible marketing move i[f] a company started denying warranty claims on every vehicle who missed an oil change by 500 miles. Clearly the dealer knows this as well.
Agreed. But note that the potential for increased wear and tear on the engine due to in-service oil life has most of the consequences of failure at the end of life of the engine, not the beginning, when it's under warranty.

And also note the two somewhat conflicting issues at hand here:
1. The "don't change it" recommendation comes from someone in the dealer's service organization who has a financial incentive to say this to save costs.
2. The warranty is upheld by Subaru of America, who has a financial incentive to deny warranty claims if they can show you exceeded either time or mileage limits.

I'm not saying it would fail or warranty would be denied, mind you - I'm just pointing out the motivators involved here. And the fact that the OP is in the middle of it all.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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yep. i see that. and there's unsavory consumers trying to coerce, lie, and it turns into an unsolvable differential equation when discussing all the possibilities and trying to make some universal statement online into a question that exists in a vacuum.
 
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