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2016 Subaru Legacy 30k mile service and cost

My 2016 Subaru Legacy just hit 30,000 miles and I’ve been doing the regular maintenance (although not so good about doing the cabin air filter – I did buy one at Amazon to do it myself and just haven’t gotten around to it).

I took the car into the local Subaru dealer which has actually been pretty good about not pressuring me for extra service thus far. I asked what should be done as part of the 30k mile service (I didn’t look at the manual first, which was my mistake) and the guy said the usual synthetic oil change (I have the 4 cylinder) (around $57) and tire rotation (around $18). Then he said I should also get the brakes flushed which they charge $99 to do. He then asked one of the other guys working if there is anything else as part of the 30k mile service and the other guy said the front and rear differential fluid should be changed, which would cost $199.

They said I could do it at the next service and I was there on my lunch break so I didn’t want to take the extra time. I also wanted to have a chance to review the service manual to confirm that is the service I should have done.

I looked online on the “My Subaru” site and in the service section, they list for 30,000 service:

Recommended Maintenance
Inspect CVT Fluid
Inspect Drive belt(s) [Except camshaft]
Inspect Engine Coolant Systems, hoses and connections
Inspect Fuel systems, lines and connections
Inspect Transmission/Differential (Front & Rear) lubricants (Gear oil)
Perform Rotate and Inspect Tires
Replace Air cleaner element
Replace Brake Fluid / Clutch Fluid (Manual Only)
Replace Engine oil
Replace Engine oil filter

After the appointment, I asked him about the “air cleaner element” and he suggested it was one of the filters – and he said they look at them each time and if they need to be changed they will tell me. I’m pretty sure they didn’t look at the cabin filter, as I am fairly certain that is past due to be changed.

Looking at the list on the website, it seems like the dealer was pretty on track. They didn’t mention anything about the CVT fluid though.

Interestingly, I later looked in the manual, which gives a little more detail that seems pretty significant to me. The actual service manual (titled Warranty and Maintenance Booklet – requires login) does say the “air cleaner element” should be replaced at 30k miles. Looking in the manual, that is a filter near the engine, and they show how to change it in the standard manual. I’ll have to see if that is something I can easily do myself and order online.

The manual also does say to replace the brake fluid. That is something I’ll do. Looking in online forums, some people say you can wait longer, but I typically stick to what the manufacturer manual says.

Under CVT fluid, the service manual actually says “inspect” and not “replace”. I’m not sure how they inspect it, but that seems to suggest it doesn’t HAVE to be replaced at 30k miles, which the mysubaru service recommendation seemed to suggest. It also says “inspect” next to the front and rear differential fluid. Again – it may not be “required” but depending on how it looks on inspection, it could possibly need to be done.

I have a local service guy who does good work and seems very honest. I’ve gone to him for other issues such as when my 2010 Prius had brake issues and I wasn’t happy with the Toyota service center I had gone to. I’m going to talk to him next week to see what he suggests I do and I’ll update this thread with what he charges.

I will definitely get the brake flush. I also will change the air cleaner element either myself or have him do it. I’ll see what he says about inspecting the CVT fluid and the differential fluids. I’ll post a follow-up probably in the next 10 days.

3 thoughts on “2016 Subaru Legacy 30k mile service and cost”

  1. My local auto mechanic said I’d need to bring my car in another time for him to check out which service it needs. He said he wasn’t sure it needs a full brake fluid change and said it would cost around $70. I’m concerned that he was suggesting a partial brake fluid flush and change. Reading online, most people think the benefit of a partial flush is pretty minimal and that you may as well get a full flush for a bit more.

    He didn’t mention anything about the front and rear differential fluid or the cvt transmission fluid and said he could look at the filters to see if those need changing. I didn’t have a convenient time to bring it back for him to look over.

    Logging into the My Subaru website, under coupons, I saw a coupon for 13% off any recommended service that I chose not to do at the time of the service.

    I decided today to take the car back to the Subaru dealership to get the brake fluid change. It’ll be $87 for a complete flush which seems very reasonable and it is convenient for me to do during my lunch hour.

    I asked about the manual saying to inspect the differential fluid and nothing about changing. One guy said that it is difficult to get to the place to check and if you go through that effort, you may as well change it. Another guy said that you can’t really check the rear differential fluid because the drain cap is on the bottom. He said they could check the front differential fluid and gauge by the color if it needs to be changed. He then showed me in the manual where it says under harsh environmental conditions they recommend changing as often as every 15000 miles.

    The price would be pretty reasonable at $174 after the 14% discount, but I’m still not convince the car needs it. I also figure there has to be a reasonable way to inspect the fluid, or the manual would say it is an item to inspect.

    I asked about the cvt transmission fluid and they said they recommend changing it at 60000 miles. I think I saw on the price list that changing cvt fluid runs $175.

    I may look to change the filters myself as it doesn’t sound too difficult to do. Any other additional information I’ll be sure to post here.

  2. I stopped at a respected family owned auto service shop near my work to get a tire patched and asked them about the service. They said one of their software systems recommended changing the cvt and differential fluids at 30k, but they said their other system had no information on the intervals for changing the fluids. They said the information on the 2016 Subaru may not be updated into their systems yet. They did say to change the front and rear differential fluids would cost $145.

    I think I’ll try emailing Subaru corporate and see what information, if any, they can provide.

    1. Subaru’s email response wasn’t particularly helpful:

      The CVT and differential fluids are to be checked every 30,000 miles or 30 months. If the fluid is dirty we do recommend changing. This is our recommendation. The retailer may have another recommendation, based upon what they have seen from servicing and in your particular area of the country.

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