Why Are Subaru Oil Change Expensive? 10 REASONS WHY

Subaru oil changes are expensive because of the boxer engine design which requires specialty synthetic oils, hard-to-access filter locations, frequent changes, and dealer-only parts. Additional reasons are all-wheel drive systems needing more fluid, tight engine spaces, few quick-change options, and Subaru’s safety image advising cautious maintenance regimes. Overall, the premium pricing ensures proper maintenance for Subaru's reliability, resale value, and rugged capabilities.

When it comes time to get your Subaru’s oil changed, you may wince at the higher-than-average price tag. Subaru oil changes typically cost around $80-150, often topping non-Subaru vehicles by $30 or more. What gives? A few factors contribute to the above-average oil change prices for the popular Japanese all-wheel drive cars.

Top 10 Reasons Why Are Subaru Oil Change Expensive

1. Boxer Engine Design

Subaru vehicles feature a unique boxer engine design, with pistons laid flat in a horizontal configuration rather than standing upright in a V-shape. This low-profile shape is great for handling and power transfer to all four wheels, essential for Subaru’s renowned AWD capabilities. But the pancake style makes the oil filter tricky to access, adding time and cost to an oil change.

2. Special Oil Requirements

To protect the unique horizontally opposed engine, many Subarus require special synthetic oil meeting strict standards for viscosity, detergents, and additives. This oil costs more than conventional off-the-shelf blends, driving up oil change prices. High mileage Subarus may also need additives for extra wear protection.

3. Tight Engine Compartments

Subaru engines sit lower in the chassis than other cars, which improves stability and handling. But it also means very tight clearances to access key maintenance areas like the oil drain plug and filter. Special tools and maneuvers are often needed to finagle them out, requiring more shop time and labor costs.

4. AWD Systems Require More Oil

Subaru’s legendary symmetrical all-wheel-drive systems require nearly twice as much gear oil as front-wheel or rear-wheel drive cars. All that extra fluid has to be changed periodically, adding to the total oil change costs.

5. Fewer Quick-Change Options

Many shops offer quick, discount oil changes focused just on changing the engine oil and filter. But boxer engines and AWD systems mean most Subarus need more extensive maintenance. Subaru’s recommended full-service regime takes more time, needing specialty tools and knowledge that discount shops lack.

6. Dealer Markups on Parts

To protect warranties, some Subaru owners stick with the dealer for oil changes despite higher labor rates. Dealers also tend to use OEM filters and supplies with higher markups rather than cheaper compatible parts from other brands, inflating the total cost.

7. Tight Oil Change Intervals

Subaru engines work hard with turbochargers, high compression ratios, and AWD systems constantly transferring power. That means oil breaks down faster, so Subaru recommends changing oil more frequently—as often as every 3,000-5,000 miles rather than 7,500+ miles like some brands. More frequent changes multiply costs.

8. Skill Needed for Boxer Engines

The unique aspects of Subaru’s horizontally opposed engine design mean most shops don’t have as much experience working on them compared to common inline and V-style layouts. The specialty knowledge and skills required drive up shop rates and service prices.

9. Higher Resale Value

Subarus are known for excellent resale value, often higher than comparably equipped models from other brands. That residual value gets calculated into leasing and finance payments, indirectly elevating the operating costs—including maintenance—throughout the vehicle ownership period.

10. Subaru’s Safety Image

Safety is paramount to Subaru’s brand image, including rigorous testing and top safety ratings. That extends to advising more cautious maintenance regimes to help the cars achieve maximum life and reliability. More frequent servicing is good preventive medicine but also drives up total ownership costs.


Are subaru oil change Good?

Yes, Subaru oil changes are good because they use high quality synthetic oils to protect the unique horizontally opposed engine, essential for maintaining performance and reliability.

Are subaru oil change Worth The Price?

While more expensive than normal oil changes, Subaru oil changes are worth it to sustain the engine, AWD system, and safety components relying on regular maintenance per automaker guidelines.

Where To Buy subaru oil change?

You can purchase Subaru oil changes and OEM filters from your local Subaru dealer, though independent shops with specialists familiar with boxer engines can also perform this maintenance with compatible aftermarket oil and parts.

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