Why Are Subaru Oil Changes Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Bruce Coleman

Bruce Coleman is a diesel mechanic and car tester with 20 years of experience. He's a member of various vintage car clubs, and he loves restoring old motorbikes.

Regular oil changes are essential to keep your car running smoothly. However, some Subaru owners have noticed that they pay as much as $140 for an oil change. That’s rather high, especially when compared to other oil change prices.

You’re not alone if you’ve been wondering why Subaru oil changes are so expensive. Many other people have the same question, so I looked into it. Read on below for all the reasons!

Why Are Subaru Oil Changes Expensive?

Subaru oil changes tend to be more expensive than oil changes for other makes because they need to use the newer synthetic engine oils, which cost more than conventional engine oil. Subaru vehicles tend to resemble luxury vehicles in terms of maintenance and repairs because of their engines and all-terrain capabilities.

To find out more about why Subaru oil changes are so expensive and what you’re paying for, carry on reading. You’ll find all the details here!

1. Synthetic Oil Is Expensive

Subaru oil changes are so expensive because they need the newer synthetic oils, which have lubricants and other additives necessary for the high-tech engines.

Also, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), synthetic oil can benefit all vehicles, whether they’re high efficiency or high performance.

So, while older vehicles can still use conventional oils, newer high-performance cars like Subarus built after 2011 must use the more expensive synthetic versions.

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2. Labor Costs Are High

Subaru vehicles are very complex and high-tech pieces of auto engineering, and it takes skilled techs to work on them, even for something as simple as an oil change.

Therefore, Subaru oil changes are done by factory-trained techs. Naturally, the labor costs for skilled techs are correspondingly high.

3. Complimentary Inspection Is Included

Oil changes include complimentary inspections of brakes, tires, batteries, lights, and more.

As you can imagine, this helps ensure there are no problems with your vehicle, but it also adds to the cost.

4. Oil Change Includes Free Top-ups

As part of an oil change, the techs will also top up all fluids such as engine oil, brake fluid, and window washer fluid.

Therefore, these costs get factored into the total cost of the oil change.

5. Overhead Costs Are Factored In

5. Overhead Costs Are Factored In

Overhead costs are fixed costs that any auto shop or service center has to pay, such as rent, utilities, and equipment, including upgrades and maintenance.

6. Genuine Parts Are Used

If any filters or other parts need replacing at a dealership, you can be sure that genuine Subaru parts will be used.

Moreover, while aftermarket parts can often work, the branded parts cost quite a bit more.

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7. Tire Rotations Are Extra

To ensure even wear and safe handling, tires must be rotated every 6,000 miles. Also, some shops will do tire rotations free of charge with an oil change, but at Subaru, they cost extra.

8. Dealerships Typically Charge More

As new car owners discover sooner or later, it costs more to take your car to the service center at your dealership than to a local auto shop.

That said, you can find yourself paying quite a bit more for the same services and parts at a dealership than you would at a smaller shop, which is true of oil changes as well.

However, it’s not clear why dealerships can charge more for similar services and parts, but it has a lot to do with branding.

9. Dealers Prefer Not To Do Oil Changes

Discussions in some online forums also suggest that dealerships charge so much for oil changes simply to discourage customers.

Further, the service centers at dealerships prefer to work on bigger and more profitable projects and repairs.

Therefore, high prices are just a way of scaring away oil change customers.

10. Subarus Resemble Luxury Vehicles In Maintenance Costs

Subaru owners find that their vehicles tend to resemble luxury vehicles when it comes to maintenance costs.

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For example, Subarus have specialized engines and terrain capabilities that require the more powerful synthetic engine oils for upkeep.

11. Oil Change Prices Have Increased

While Subaru oil changes come in at the high end of the price range, all oil changes have become more expensive in recent years.

Further, that’s because of the new synthetics oils, which are more expensive, and more oil gets used by the engine between changes.

However, even though you pay more for an oil change than a few years ago, you can now wait longer between changes.

Earlier, the rule was to get an oil change every 3,000 miles, but now the standard is 6,000 miles.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why BMW oil changes are so expensive, why Volkswagen oil changes are so expensive, and why Volvo oil changes are so expensive.

Conclusion

For several reasons, Subaru oil changes tend to cost much more than oil changes for other vehicles. However, they are necessary to keep your vehicle running smoothly for many years.

Author

  • Bruce Coleman is a diesel mechanic and car tester with 20 years of experience. He's a member of various vintage car clubs, and he loves restoring old motorbikes.

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