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We are close to needing the first oil change on our 2012 Outback. The closest dealer is about 30 minutes away and not really convenient. I am not interested in changing it myself.

So, where is the best place to get the oil changed? There are plenty of Jiffy Lube type places close by, as well as Firestore, Goodyear type places and some independent shops.

Where should I take it for the first change?
 

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30 minutes doesn't seem like a horrible drive.

personally, I'd prefer an independent mechanic to a 'typical' Jiffylube place but, plenty of cars have their oil changed at lots of places successfully.

maybe ask friends, neighbors, relatives for recommendations or check yelp.com, angie's list, google (google maps will do a search for nearby oil change places with reviews) etc.

If you are open to using an independent mech. now might be a good time to post your city and see if anyone here can recommend a mech. may as well establish a relationship now if you are reluctant to go back to the dealership.
 

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Take it to an independent mechanic, rather than to any of those chain operations. The chains--particularly Jiffy Lube--have an incredibly high screw-up rate that results in the destruction of engines, transmissions, brake hydraulic systems, and differentials.

Changing fluids and installing filters is not exactly rocket science, but those chains have a history of not being able to do it very well, unfortunately. Additionally, they use really crappy-quality filters.

And, with a Subaru, there is one additional chance for them to screw up. The proximity of the identical-looking oil drain and transaxle drain plugs has led to cases where the transaxle was drained, instead of the engine's crankcase. Then, when new oil is added to the engine, you wind up with twice as much oil in there as there should be, plus a dry transmission. The result is a trashed engine and a trashed transmission--neither of which your warranty will cover.

I would suggest that you look for an indy mechanic with Subaru-related experience.
 

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I have had oil changes done on Subarus at many different places and think that you should check the dealer website for a discount coupon and take it there for your first service. Remember, you will probably be going to all-synthetic oil and the cost will be higher than is advertised at the other places, so the cost difference with a coupon will be small. Also, this will give your Subaru dealer a chance to inspect the whole car for any warranty covered problems.

After this first visit, you can be more flexible in where you have the oil changed. However, I always opened up the cover under the engine oil plug/filter before taking it to a non-Subaru place or else they may take off the whole splash guard instead. I always double checked the drain plug for tightness following the service as well.

The other poster's comment about mistaking the oil plug for the trans-axle plug is very real and worth considering. Also, the fill spouts for transmission and front differential are easy to get mixed up by anyone not really familiar with Subarus.
 

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Take it to an independent you TRUST or do it yourself. All the "quickie" lube places are disasters waiting to happen. You are entrusting your valuable vehicle to some kid making $8 an hour who has no clue what he is doing. The only one more incompetent in those places than that kid in the pit is the "manager". It takes me about 30 minutes to change the oil/filter and check/top up all the fluids. The peace of mind knowing everything has been done right, PRICELESS!
 

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It's been some time ago, but I tried the quickie places twice and both times they overfilled to the point where I felt the need to drain some back out. Never went back.
If I have the time I do it, if not, I take it to my independent mechanic.
 

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I've taken my old Forrester to Goodyear and NTB without any issues. I often did this due to having to leave my car with the dealer all day, because they were so busy. My dealer is in the process of installing an express service area for oil changes and such. Guess they finally smartened up and realized how convenient the other places were.
 

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I'd check for a dealer coupon online for first change. I'd also stay away from the "30 min" change shops since by the time they try to upsell you on everything that can be changed you could have been to the dealer and back.

I got a Groupon coupon for Quik Lube a couple months ago and the amount of time wasted waiting for them to give my car back made the coupon worthless. Of course I needed a new cabin filter for $50 so I drove from there to Wal Mart and bought the $10 filter for my Honda.
 

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I know this doesn't help someone else, but I typically change our own oil and filter and check all the fluids and make sure everything is well-greased.

I know, if I put pure synthetic oil in, then the vehicle has synthetic. If I go to 'pay' for full-synthetic oil, I have no absolute guarantee that that is what I end up with. If not, then that goes against my whole 'system' of being able to go longer than specified if I need to for some reason. Heck, some people put synthetic in and all they do is change the filter and add synthetic as needed, NEVER bothering to change it.

When I saw a friend's Bronco II go over 65,000 miles with the original oil in it and it was still running fine:gasp:, it gave me a different attitude about oil changes, not that I want to abuse my car's engine:gasp:. Heck, his oil wasn't even SYNTHETIC, either!:gasp:
LOL!
 

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Once I get past the first time doing my own oil change on my Civic, I'll probably do the oil and filter intervals myself. More involved maintenance I'm trying to find a good independent to trust, but don't currently have one now.
 

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Once I get past the first time doing my own oil change on my Civic, I'll probably do the oil and filter intervals myself. More involved maintenance I'm trying to find a good independent to trust, but don't currently have one now.
I know that feeling.
Having a good mechanic that you can both trust and rely on are few and far between these days.

Any that are really good are so busy with appointments that you generally have to wait at least several days, if not longer, for an appointment.
 

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I never use a dealer for anything, over the years I've met and known many dealership mechanics. Some are good others I would trust them to put air in my tires. Dealerships are no better and in my experience worse than most independent repair shops. Also more often than not more expensive.

All that said an oil change is about as basic as boiling water. Learn to do it yourself and then you know its done right, plus save a few bucks.
 

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I do the oil changes on my Soul and Camaro, but take my wife's ES350 to a local mechanic since it's a PITA with its cartridge filter. It's also a CPO and Lexus seems to prefer records of professional service rather than DIY (which they can do since CPO warranties aren't covered under Magnusson-Moss).

In other words, my vote goes to "independent shop".
 

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DIY, long trusted mechanic, or dealer is the order of my trust. Never Jiffy Lube or any place where the "technicians" look like Burger King employees.
 

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To the guys that do their own oil changes. Do you just keep a log and receipts for the oil/filter as your "records"?

I'd have to check the maintenance schedule again, but most manufacturers likes to throw in those "inspections" and "adjust if necessary" pieces to the service intervals, how do you deal with those? Not that I am skilled enough to know what I am looking at (unless it is really screwed up), but just wondering.
 

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We have a friend that has an independent garage across the street from a Jiffy joint. When they opened, he was scared he would lose business. They are now one of his best clients for repairs to stripped drain plugs and new oil pans.
 

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Both my cars have entries at my.subaru.com . But, keeping a log should be good enough.
(I'll point out, there are a few entries by dealers that are confusing and cryptic compared to my own! - plus, both myself and dealers have forgotten to make entries 2-3 times)

I'll try to paste in a sample;

06/07/2008 Other

replaced brake pads front/rear
self 37,886 Owner
10/22/2008 Other

synth oil and oem filter
self 42,620 Owner
04/30/2009 Other

all 3 wiper blades, air filter, oil filter & synth. oil

rotated tires, checked fluids
self 47,009 Owner
08/04/2009 Other

30,000 MILE SERVICE

PARTS TOTAL

MISC

ONE YEAR STATE SAFETY AND EMISSIONS INSPECTION

52 POINT FREE INSPECTION
TEAPE SUBARU OF ARLINGTON 49,013 Dealer
04/27/2010 Other

Synth oil and roki oil filter, air filter, checked/topped battery and other fluids
carl 52,384 Owner
10/15/2010 Other

synth oil & roki filter, posi quiet brake pads F&R,,adjust handbrake,replace washer pump
self 56,300 Owner
04/30/2011 Other

Intake air fltr., synth. eng oil and fltr., synth, front and rear diff. oil., topped off battery and windshld washer, cabin air filter
self 61,463 Owner
10/16/2011 Other

roki filter & synth eng. oil, all 4 KYB struts, frnt. pass. axle(EMPI)
self 64,500 Owner
10/29/2011 Other

idler and tensioner pulley bearings changed. Installed new serp. belt
self 64,600 Owner
12/11/2011 Repair

greased Pwr Stg pump intake o-ring to stop air infiltration
self 65,220 Owner
02/04/2012 Repair

replaced O-ring seal on hose conn. at top of P.S.Pump to stop air infiltration/noise. Replaced over 3/4 qt. of P.S. fluid with Valoline Dexron III.



meh - lost it's formatting but, it's mostly there.



The issue comes down to, how hard would they fight you in a disputed warranty claim. Generally, unless there is evidence of negelct or abuse, it's gonna be OK.

Are there horror stories around about dealerships trying to dodge a legitimate warranty claim? sure, at the same time, I'm sure there have been 18-year-olds that trashed the tranny in the STI Daddy bought for them by trying a 4-wheel burnout but claimed "I was driving to church on Sunday and it just quit".

If you're a reasonable person and , should an issue come up and you're challenged about maintenance, can show receipts, printouts from AutoZone, your independent mechanic or your credit card, it's gonna be OK. They really have to prove you screwed-up w'ever system is involved in the dispute.
 
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