All Wheel Drive Auto: Independent Seattle Subaru Service


Things To Consider When Taking Your Subaru To A Quick Lube Franchise

The staff.

A quick lube center’s staff is usually kids in or just out of high school.  While they may go through some sort of training program, this doesn’t really mean that they will be fully prepared to deal with every situation that comes up.  It truly takes years of experience to be a pro. The manager of a quick lube center really won’t be much help here either, changing oil for a living is usually not a long term career choice  and is instead a stepping stone to something better.  Keep in mind, at a quick lube center there is not going to be a Master Technician on staff changing oil or supervising the process.  Worse yet is the business model of a quick lube is to achieve add on sales by performing other tasks on your vehicle.  That is that sometimes a scary proposition as they are typically not always capable of the service. Don’t you deserve to have a professional Technician working on your Subaru?  If you call a plumber to your house and a kid still in high school shows up to fix your leak without his supervisor how confident are you going to be about the service.  Through the years we have seen and heard of so many terrible situations involving the service work done at a lube center, that I often am amazed that they can still obtain a liability insurance policy.  There are so many instances that I have observed very poor workmanship from a Quick lube center that I could write a novel.  From not putting the right fluids back in or worse yet, none at all to “forgetting” to tighten a drain plug or leaving the air box loose causing a check engine light to come on and then telling the customer it will reset it self. I am never surprised when a customer starts a conversation with “I had my car at ______________” and now I have this problem.


The truth.


There really isn’t a whole lot of profit in an oil change. It is an absolute must for the survival of a Quick lube center to be able to obtain add on sales.  There is a big difference in your car needing an air filter, fuel filter, transmission fluid flush, ac service, injector service, wiper blades and needing all of those services right now.  If you follow the maintenance schedule in your owners manual you may not need half of what the lube center is trying to sell you at your cars current mileage.  This is why it is so important to establish a good relationship with a great shop like All Wheel Drive Auto.  Over maintaining your car can create a lot of waste.  If the fuel filter in your car is only six months old when a lube center talks you into a new one, well then we have just added that much more waste to the environment.  This goes double for fluids,  follow the maintenance schedule and let a professional repair shop guide you through when to replace fluids or when not. Transmission fluid with less than 15,000 is usually still ok, but it can be hard to know what to as a consumer if someone tells you it needs to be changed.


The quality of parts used.


Lube centers inspect your vehicle for items and services that they want to sell to you.  But a check list of items they inspect, versus a list of what your car may actually need are going to be two totally different lists.  Worse, the quality of the parts used leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion.  All parts are not created equal, and the difference in parts quality can differ greatly .The media often talks about Chinese goods that are poor quality or hazardous and being recalled for lead paint.  I have yet to hear any mention of the role of Chinese auto parts in the auto service and repair industry.  At some point I believe that the quality of some of the aftermarket parts used will be an issue.  If you pay for a lesser quality part and that part only lasts the 1 year that it is warranted for instead of the five years the O.E. one lasted what have you really gained and how much waste have we created?  We have witnessed the receipts and are absolutely amazed at the actual cost passed to the customer for a Chinese made fuel filter installed on their vehicle.  Recently we have had a rash of customers coming to us after a lube center tried to put belts on a car.  We just last week had a 2003 Subaru Outback come in with a loud belt noise and when we inspected the vehicle we found the Alternator/Power Steering belt was rubbing on the adjustment bolt, as a result of the wrong belt being installed on the vehicle. When the customer showed us the receipt for how much she was charged for the wrong belts I was amazed at how much they charged for truly poor quality workmanship and poor quality parts.


How to know who to trust.


The right way to go about the care and service of your Subaru is to establish a relationship with a great repair shop like All Wheel Drive Auto.  Much like you would with a hair stylist, Dentist or Doctor. When you are sick or need some sort of care you are not going to trust your health, hair or your teeth to a coupon book.  Why trust the health of your car to a franchised quick lube center?  When you establish a relationship with an independent repair shop you are going to get more value for your money and much better service.  When we service your Subaru we don’t look at items to sell to you, to increase the dollar amount of our repair order. We look at items that may still be covered under warranty; we look at items that truly need to be addressed such as how low are the brake pads. Or evidence of rodent activity. When you become a customer at All Wheel Drive Auto we take the job of servicing your vehicle very seriously and really feel that we can help you get to where you are going with far less frustration.   



4 Responses

  1. really appreciate your advise for us subaru owners,but i can not find an answer any where about the transmission fluid change schedule as the dealer says one thing & the quick lubes say something else & Subaru has nothing about it on owners manual !! Is it true that the transmission fluid ”on these cars” never need changing, cause that is the responds that i got from the Subaru rep.@the factory,just to check the fluid level and top it off as needed if the oil does not look dirty or smells burned ! my ’04 outback has just over 100,000 mi.,runs great,but who am i to beleive?? hope to hear from you soon! Puzzeled!!

    1. Hi John,

      Well so no the trans fluid is not life time fluid, and you have been a victim of not understanding the maintenance booklet.

      Rule number one the “I” does not mean Insect!! It states at the bottom of the chart in the booklet that “I” equals inspect, correct and replace as needed.

      Translation, let a Profesional look at the fluid at the suggested intervals to inspect and change it as needed. Which for the 2004 Outback with standard Dextron III in the Automatic or GL5 in the standard is every 30,000 miles unless you would like to purchase a transmission.

      Please have another read of the warranty and maintenance booklet and look for the small print at the bottom of the schedule.


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