There are definitely times you need to bring your Subaru in for service (and we're ready to help you) but there are also things you, as a Subaru owner, can do to keep your vehicle lasting long and running strong (maintenance and repair are a given). Today, we're going to run through a checklist of 10 things you can do no matter how old or new your Subaru is or whether you have a 2-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive, Forester, Legacy, Crosstrek or any other model.
Subaru Care Checklist
- Check the check engine light
Many people opt to ignore this all-important light, hope it will go out or just accept it as a fact of life. These are all bad. If the check engine light comes on, you can give it a day and see if it goes off on its own. If you left your fuel cap off, this could cause it. If this is not the case and it stays on, take it to get it checked. Bring it in for service. When your check engine light comes on and stays on, it's recommended that you call and make an appointment. We only use Subaru Select Monitors to watch all live data and can tell you exactly what that light means and how to fix it.
Some auto parts stores will read your light for free, but unfortunately they will read the light with a generic scanner. A generic scanner can only see the top code and in some cases there are multiple codes. It takes an experienced Subaru repair shop to wade through the multiple codes and clear out the "ghost codes" to get to the actual fault code.
- Keep your filters clean
Air, pollutants and gunk all flow over and through your engine, blow into it and drip onto it. This can prevent it from working well and can eat away at the useful life. There are three types of filters that protect your engine from all of these - oil, fuel and air filters. Your oil filter keeps grit, dirt and other particles out of your engine. Fuel filters protect your fuel injection system and keep your vehicle from idling rough. Don't cheap out on having these replaced.
Video on how to check coolant on a Subaru
- Check these fluids every time you gas up
Back in the dark ages when gas stations offered full service, your fluids got checked and topped up all the time, but now it's up to us to do this and, let's face it, most of us are pretty slack. You've got things to do, so you gas and go. Instead, take a couple of extra minutes and check your oil and coolant. If you're not sure how to check these, consult your owner's manual for instructions. Coolant should be check in the reservoir tank - not the radiator. Only check the radiator when the engine is 100% cool!
- Check these fluids once per month
Pick a specific day each month to check these other two important fluids. I recommend the 15th. Check your transmission and brake fluids once per month. Consult your Subaru owner's manual for directions on where and how to check these and to make sure you are using the proper products to top these up. If you have to top these up frequently, this is a warning sign that you need service.
Video on how to check tire tread with a penny
- Kick your tires regularly
It pays to keep an eye on your tires - this can impact your alignment, performance, mileage, braking and safety. Check your tread with a penny - insert it head down between treads and if you can see the top of it, you need new wheels. Check your owner's manual for a tire rotation schedule and pattern. You can actually rotate them yourself to save money if you have a jack and the know-how.
- Drive better
One of the key factors that can extend the life of your Subaru is how you drive it. This can also impact the wear and tear of replaceable items like tires, brakes and shocks as well as gas mileage. Sudden starts and stops, aggressive acceleration, revving your engine, peeling out and other amped up activities aren't good for your car. Also, don't push your Subaru too hard on very hot or very cold days.
- Let your engine warm up
Even if you currently do this, you may not be doing it right. If you park your car in your garage, this keeps it temperate in really hot or really cold weather. Letting your Subaru warm up is most important in chillier weather, but here's how to do it properly. Turn your engine on, wait 30 to 60 seconds, then drive, but take it easy until the engine temp rises. If it's below zero, extend to three minutes or so.
For more tips on taking good care of your Subaru, for factory scheduled maintenance or service and repair, contact the expert Subaru-only mechanics at Suburb Service. Call or come by our Seattle or Maryville location.