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2017 Outback 2.5 Limited w/Eyesight, White
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My wife has a 2017 OB Limited bought new. She doesn't drive it very much so when the 6 month intervals for maintenance come up she is nowhere near the mileage expected at that point. For instance, she had her 18month maintenance check recently and only has about 5000 miles on the car. The service advisor keeps telling us that the dealership only goes by mileage but the manual states mileage OR months. We have had it serviced every six months as required but each time we are told we don't really need service yet. The service manager told us we could wait 10 months before each service.


To their credit, they have performed the maintenance required at each 6-month interval but the mileage issue always comes up. Wouldn't I be risking a denied warranty claim on the engine if I don't adhere to the 6 month schedule?
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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There is likely a reason they put those miles/months guidelines in there and it probably goes beyond just creating cash flow for the dealership service department. Most likely the six month intervals are excessive but I'm not going to take the chance of pushing it longer while the warranty is still in play. As you suggest it could give them a reason to deny a claim if something catastrophic happened. The odds are extremely low but why take the chance?
 

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Wouldn't I be risking a denied warranty claim on the engine if I don't adhere to the 6 month schedule?
Yes.

Start planning on some weekend getaways. :grin2:
 

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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited, Crimson Red Pearl
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123 Posts
I just had my first 6-month oil change at 2,600 miles. :frown2:
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 Limited
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I do all my own maintenance but I have the same situation as yours - I go by months, not mileage. Here are some of the considerations I make to justify the "by months" maintenance I do. If I had to pay someone else to do this I may be inclined to scale back a bit.

Engine oil: Low mileage is typically associated with shorter distance travel, often times not giving the engine a good opportunity to fully warm up. So those miles, while fewer in number, are going to be a lot harder on the engine oil. In addition you'll typically see more moisture buildup in the oil as well in situations with a lot of short tripping. So it makes sense to go by months in low mileage situations from that perspective.

Brake fluid: Brake fluid is hygroscopic and will deteriorate in quality based on time alone, even with no usage. Yes, there are lots of stories of brake fluids that were never changed and no issues were encountered. However it's a simple procedure and the fluid is cheap so I view it as reasonable to change it based on the maintenance schedule.

Tire rotation: The months-based schedule doesn't really make much sense here, but I happen to rotate tires twice a year since I'm swapping between all-seasons and winter tires anyhow. I also take that as an opportunity to inspect the brakes and re-lube the caliper pins.

"Inspect [insert area here]" - it makes sense to regularly perform inspections even without a lot of miles. The short trip situation, again, can drive a lot of wear with a lot fewer miles associated.

Diff fluid/transmission fluid: You could once again make the argument that fewer miles = more short trips = heavier wear in fewer amount of miles. That said, for extremely low mileage you can probably get away with relaxing this a bit.

Fuel filter: Meh. By miles is probably fine. A lot of people don't bother changing at all.

Coolant: I actually change coolant more aggressively than what the maintenance schedule calls for, as I view it as cheap insurance. I don't bother with a full system flush. I happen to think draining and filling the radiator periodically, instead of waiting a long time and then having to do a full system flush, is a lot easier and prevents gunk from forming in the first place.
 

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2019 2.5i Limited Forester (hers) (4th Subie), 2014 Impreza Premium (mine)(#5)
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Tire rotation: The months-based schedule doesn't really make much sense here, but I happen to rotate tires twice a year since I'm swapping between all-seasons and winter tires anyhow. I also take that as an opportunity to inspect the brakes and re-lube the caliper pins.
Depends upon what part of the country you're in.

Car that sits in a hot garage in a Texas or Oklahoma summer without being driven much will see more rubber deterioration than one in, say, Indiana or Michigan.
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 Limited
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Depends upon what part of the country you're in.

Car that sits in a hot garage in a Texas or Oklahoma summer without being driven much will see more rubber deterioration than one in, say, Indiana or Michigan.
I wasn't immediately following your argument so I attempted to apply it to tire rotation specifically. Am I getting it right that you are suggesting that the uneven wear one is seeking to remediate with a tire rotation would manifest itself in fewer miles because the rubber compounds have been weakened by UV/ambient heat exposure and as such will wear at faster rates?

Theoretically that sounds reasonable but I have no experience here so I will not dispute it.
 

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2007 2.5 L Obsidian Black Outback XTL
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They have months or mileage because some elements of your vehicle are going to age, even if the vehicle never leaves a garage.

For example; brake fluid constantly absorbs moisture and it tends to pool in low spots in the system, causing rust. It is so significant that if you open a bottle of brake fluid, put the cap back on and then go to the bottle a year later there will be water that had leaked past the cap and ruined the bottle.

Cooling systems are constantly undergoing a process of inhibiting corrosion on metal surfaces but there is enough of a electro-chemical difference between metals of different composition (lets say, steel and aluminum or copper) that coolant wears out and loses its ability to prevent corrosion.

To a lesser extent oil does the same thing. Usually what happens there involves rubber seals that dry out and crack. If the manufacturer just said "see us when you reach 10,000 miles" you would have some yahoo who drove a car one day a week. He would come back in at the three mile mark and want his first oil change, only for the dealership to find the crankcase filled with rust.
 
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