Subaru Outback Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs (Complete Guide)

The Subaru Outback is the perfect SUV for long weekends and adventures.

In this article we’ll give you the full breakdown of its maintenance, tune-up and running costs.

Here is the short answer to are Subaru Outback expensive to maintain:

The Subaru Outback has very reasonable maintenance costs. It would cost you around $607 to maintain a Subaru Outback every year, which is slightly above the average of $573 annually for midsize SUVs. A tune-up will be around $214, including the replacement of spark plugs.

Are Subaru Outback Expensive to Maintain?

The Subaru Outback has fairly average ownership costs and that’s simply because it has fairly average reliability.

When looking to buy a new vehicle it’s important to assess maintenance costs to ensure you’re able to properly look after it.

Failing to stay on top of routine servicing and repairs will lead to poor reliability and shorten the lifespan of your vehicle.

Below you’ll find a complete price breakdown for some of the most common costs for the Subaru Outback, all data is from RepairPal:

Subaru Outback MaintenanceCost
Average annual repairs and maintenance$607
Tune-Up Cost$214
Alternator replacement $356
Oil change$105
Wiper blade replacement$122
Air filter replacement$54 – $66
Battery replacement$320 – $391
New brakes$188 – $230
Coolant change$140 – $172
New tires (set of 4)$492 – $692
New tire (one only)$123 – $173
New spark plugs$284 – $347
Tire & wheel assembly rotate & balance$79 – $100
New transmission$3500
Insurance$1452 / year (average)

How Much is a Tune-Up on a Subaru Outback?

This will vary greatly depending on where you take your Subaru Outback and you’ll likely have to pay more at a Subaru dealership than your local mechanic.

Subaru recommends having a tune-up every 5,000 miles or six months whichever comes first.

You can expect to pay in the region of $214 for a fairly comprehensive Subaru Outback tune-up that includes, but is not limited to:

  • New spark plugs
  • Thorough inspection of engine components
  • Filters changed
  • Coolant flush
  • Cleaning IAC valve (idle air control)
  • Throttle body clean
  • Transmission and differential fluid change

Whilst your Subaru Outback is under warranty it is advised you get it serviced at a registered Subaru dealership.

Regular tune-ups are highly recommended because:

  • They can bring more power back to your engine.
  • Helps your engine run efficiently and start smoothly, which equates to lower emissions and better fuel economy.
  • Ensures long-term engine health and performance

Alternator Replacement Cost?

A new alternator on a Subaru Outback will set you back $356 for a replacement which should last around 80,000 to 150,000 miles or 5 – 10 years

While the battery is used for starting your car when the engines off, the alternator keeps your car alive when the engine is running. 

The alternator powers most electronic components while you’re driving around or idling and is also responsible for charging the battery of your car while driving.

Oil Change Cost?

The cost of an oil change should cost in the region of $105, this includes parts and labor, however does not include taxes and fees. An oil change is one of the most meaningful and vital services for your car.

  • An oil change should be performed on the Subaru Outback every 3,000 – 5,000 miles for conventional oil. 
  • Synthetic oil typically should be changed every 7,500 – 10,000 miles.

At most, oil change intervals should not exceed 10,000 miles, twelve months, or 350 hours of engine run time (whichever comes first)

Wiper Blade Replacement Cost?

This is a relatively simple and quick fix, and you can easily save yourself a few bucks by buying your own wiper blades and installing them yourself, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials on this. 

Most Subaru Outbacks use a 26″ wiper blade on the driver’s side, 17″ on the passenger’s side and 14″ on the rear, although you should always double-check for your model year.

Wiper blades for the Subaru Outback can be picked up for around $30, and installed by yourself for free. 

However, if you want a professional to fit them for you then you can expect to pay in the region of $122 for parts and labor with taxes and fees on top.

Air Filter Replacement Cost?

The cost of an air filter replacement for a Subaru Outback is between $54 – $66, not including taxes and fees, according to Repair Pal.

The good news is this task, which should be performed annually or whenever the filter is clogged or dirty, is another fairly straightforward DIY.

Simply open the hood, locate and open the air filter’s housing, remove the old one, insert the new one and replace the housing cover. 

This will help both your car and your bank account breathe a little easier, lots of tutorials on YouTube for this one also. 

Battery Replacement Cost?

According to RepairPal, the cost of a battery replacement for a Subaru Outback should cost $320 – $391.

Whilst there are no specific mileage recommendations for when a battery needs to be replaced, they do eventually die.

In general, it’s a good idea to replace your battery once every 4-5 years.

A vehicle’s battery life varies depending on many different factors such as climate, driving habits, and battery type, among many others.

To help your battery last longer:

  1. Keep your battery tightly fastened: The vibrations of your SUV can loosen the connections, potentially resulting in short circuits and internal damage.
  2. Limit short rides: Short rides prevent the battery from fully charging.
  3. Control Corrosion: Clean the terminals (toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water mixture) and keep them free from build-up.

You may also be interested in our article: How Long do Subaru Outbacks Last?

New Brakes Cost?

The average cost to replace your Subaru Outback brake pads, according to RepairPal, is between $188 – $230.

Subaru Outback brake pads can last anywhere between 30,000 to 60,000 miles and necessary brake work isn’t a cost you can afford to neglect.

Brake pads will wear out at different rates depending on factors such as climate and your style of driving.

Pro tip: To prolong the life of your brakes – Keep your speed low in heavy traffic and avoid any sudden braking.

Cost to Change Coolant?

If it’s just a top-up your Subaru Outback requires then this is a simple task you can perform yourself. 

You can pick up coolant at any gas station for a few bucks and top up to the level required.

If on the other hand, you require a coolant change, which simply involves draining the coolant from the base of the radiator and then replenishing with fresh fluids, this is going to cost you a bit more.

According to RepairPal, the average cost of a Subaru Outback coolant change is between $140 – $172 (excluding taxes and fees).

How Much Does a New Transmissions Cost?

The average cost for an aftermarket or rebuilt transmission for a Subaru Outback could be over $3500. This range may vary depending on the model year.

Transmissions on the Subaru Outback typically last around 200,000 miles, depending on how well they are maintained and how the SUV is driven.

Tire & Wheel Assembly, Rotate & Balance Cost

According to RepairPal, the average cost for a Subaru Outback tire & wheel assembly rotate & balance is between $79 and $100 – this does not include taxes and fees.

Tire rotation ensures each tire gets worn evenly whilst balancing ensures they roll smoothly and there’s no vibration (this also helps improve your fuel economy).

How much Insurance Cost?

According to insuraviz.com, the average cost of Subaru Outback insurance is $121 / month or $1,452 / year (as opposed to the $1,506 national vehicle average insurance rate).

These figures can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as your age, driving record and state requirements etc. 

  • It’s always best to shop around and get at least 3 quotes, make sure the company you choose is reputable.
  • Use price comparison sites like Compare.com.
  • There are big discounts available for taking additional driving courses or being a senior
  • The best way to keep your insurance costs down is to drive safely

Subaru Outback Repair Costs Compared to Similar Models

ModelAvg. Annual 
Repair Cost
Frequency of
Unscheduled
Repairs (per year)
Probability of
SevereRepairs
Mazda CX-5$4470.38%
Hyundai Santa Fe$5150.210%
Toyota Venza$4440.510%
Hyundai Veracruz$5240.59%
Mitsubishi Endeavor$5150.212%
Dodge Journey$5620.312%
Toyota Highlander$4890.313%
Dodge Nitro$5820.313%
Toyota 4Runner$5140.413%
Subaru Outback$6070.412%
Ford Edge$6110.313%
Toyota FJ Cruiser$5060.514%
Honda Pilot$5420.513%
Jeep Liberty$6740.312%
Jeep Grand Cherokee$6660.313%
Mazda CX-7$4700.714%
Nissan Pathfinder$5420.415%
Subaru Tribeca$5630.713%
Ford Explorer$7320.214%
Ford Explorer Sport Trac$7200.314%
Chevrolet Tahoe$7440.316%
Chevrolet Traverse$6560.418%
GMC Acadia$7340.419%
Buick Enclave$7200.518%
Volkswagen Touareg$9370.913%
Ford Police Interceptor Utility$1,1601.020%
Avg. Midsize SUV$5730.413%

How Reliable is the Subaru Outback Compared to Other Models?

ModelReliability 
Mazda CX-54.5 / 5.0
Hyundai Santa Fe4.0 / 5.0
Toyota Venza4.0 / 5.0
Hyundai Veracruz4.0 / 5.0
Mitsubishi Endeavor4.0 / 5.0
Dodge Journey4.0 / 5.0
Toyota Highlander4.0 / 5.0
Dodge Nitro4.0 / 5.0
Toyota 4Runner4.0 / 5.0
Subaru Outback3.5 / 5.0
Ford Edge3.5 / 5.0
Toyota FJ Cruiser3.5 / 5.0
Honda Pilot3.5 / 5.0
Jeep Liberty3.5 / 5.0
Jeep Grand Cherokee3.5 / 5.0
Mazda CX-73.5 / 5.0
Nissan Pathfinder3.5 / 5.0
Subaru Tribeca3.5 / 5.0
Ford Explorer3.5 / 5.0
Ford Explorer Sport Trac3.5 / 5.0
Chevrolet Tahoe3.5 / 5.0
Chevrolet Traverse3.0 / 5.0
GMC Acadia3.0 / 5.0
Buick Enclave3.0 / 5.0
Volkswagen Touareg3.0 / 5.0
Ford Police Interceptor Utility2.0 / 5.0
Avg. Midsize SUV3.5

How Long is the Subaru Outback Manufacturers Warranty?

When you drive your new Subaru off the dealership lot, you’ll be covered by Subaru’s factory warranty of 36,000 miles / 3 years basic coverage and 60,000 / 5 years powertrain coverage.

This length of protection is actually quite common among car manufacturers however it is on the shorter side of warranties

You can check your vehicle warranty status, track your service history, view your Owner’s Manual and more on the Subaru website using the Vehicle Identification Number. If you cannot find the VIN number, the only real way to check your vehicle’s factory warranty is to call or visit your local dealership.

You may also be interested in our article: Where are Subaru Outbacks Made?

Resources

  1. https://www.subaru.com/owners/vehicle-warranty/warranties-2020.html 
  2. https://insuraviz.com/vehicles/subaru/subaru-outback-insurance/ 
  3. https://www.repairsmith.com/i/estimates/engine-mechanical/engine-tune-up/Subaru/Outback/ 
  4. https://repairpal.com/reliability/subaru/outback
  5. https://www.repairsmith.com/i/estimates/starting-charging/alternator-replacement/Subaru/Outback/ 
  6. https://www.yourmechanic.com/estimates/subaru/outback/change-oil-and-filter 
  7. https://www.yourmechanic.com/estimates/subaru/outback/windshield-wiper-blade-replacement 
  8. https://www.repairsmith.com/i/estimates/common-car-repairs/engine-air-filter/Subaru/Outback/ 
  9. https://www.repairsmith.com/i/estimates/starting-charging/battery-replacement/Subaru/Outback/ 
  10. https://www.repairsmith.com/i/estimates/brakes/replace-brake-pads/Subaru/Outback/ 
  11. https://www.repairsmith.com/i/estimates/engine-cooling/coolant-flush/Subaru/Outback/ 
  12. https://www.goodyear.com/en-US/tires/subaru/outback 
  13. https://www.repairsmith.com/i/estimates/common-car-repairs/spark-plug-replacement/Subaru/Outback/