Pictured below is the air filter installed recently by a well known oil change establishment vs the type we would use here at the shop.
You can see the filter on the right has had a major malfunction stemming from a poor design and second from lazy, or non professional installation. Notice the filter on the left has a cage all around it preventing the filter from becoming collapsed where the one on the right only ha reinforcement on two edges. Now had the filter been installed properly it would have taken until the filter was restricted for this to happen, but it is something we see all too often.
Its important to understand that with something as simple as an air filter there are very significant differences in the quality of the parts. The worst thing here was the customer actually paid $7.34 above the MSRP for the Factory Subaru Filter at the lube center, which is exactly how that lube center makes their profit margins, they offer a inexpensive oil change and give you a presentation of all these things your Subaru needs if they can add a few filters and services here and there they are having a good day, as the parts and labor they use are at the very low end of the spectrum in terms of quality of components used and the skill of the individual putting it in. I know an air filter should be pretty easy, but ask yourself how many high school students can do it the first try without issue. Chances are at a lube center your car may be the first one that individual has ever seen let alone service, as they work on Audi, Volkswagen and all the cars in between. Is that who you deserve to have service your vehicle for approximately the same overall cost as a good repair shop.
One of my favorite scenarios to point out is there are a lot of shops out there charging the same as we do, with no where even close to the level of experience we have with your Subaru in many cases much much more. If a Good reputable independent shop in your part of town is 5 or 6 dollars higher for an oil change than the “high school lube shop” do not be fooled into thinking the service will be the same. Most good independents have the same Technician capable of replacing your Head gaskets, or diagnosing a difficult drivability problem also change your oil.
There are plenty of places to clip coupons, and I think saving money is great myself, but deciding where to buy your next pair of shoes based on the price for the exact same pair of Nike’s from store A or B is nothing like saving a little on an oil change as the real cost can be to great and you may end up driving your new Nike’s instead.
What prompted me to post this today is in terms of what happened to this Subaru, the end result was pretty significant and completely avoidable.
Thanks for Reading