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Discussion Starter #1
So, I just got a new to me 2011 Subaru Forrester. I come from Subaru people.

If you got a new to you car, for a daily driver in a smallish city, what is the first thing you would do to it?

The question is intentionally broad.

And I live in Wisconsin, where it snows ALL THE DAMN TIME.
 

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Since you live in a snowy area, if it didn't come with snow tires, start saving up for a set.

Look at the manual and the maintenance records if any came with the car, if anything is overdue and you don't have proof it was done, do it now.

Check for a solid attachment point for a tow strap on both ends of the car. If there is not one on both ends of the car, add one. Trailer hitch receivers are good for the rear, front can be more difficult if your vehicle isn't a truck or popular offroad vehicle

Check for a spare tire and the tools to change it. Some vehicles no longer come with spare tires and used vehicles may be missing the tool kit.
 

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"TURGID FLUX"
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Inspect for paint and chassis rust, water or collision damage.
Inspect brakes
Road test on a variety of surfaces for noise, vibration and harshness as well as engine power and shift points.
Check engine bay for unusual smells, leaks or noises.
Inspect exhaust for oil or unusual water vapor.
Inspect coolant for signs of rust, oil or fuel. Inspect engine oil for signs of rust, coolant, fuel or sludge.
Inspect suspension and steering gear parts for wear, play and leakage.

Pull error codes using an OBD2 guage.
Go over all the service records. And if required or unknown;
Change all the fluids.
Change brake fluid if over 2 years.
Change the radiator hoses. Fan belts.
Change the timing belt if used and if it is an interference engine.
Replace tires if worn, mismatched or if over 6 years. Inspect spare for damage or cracking.

Replace battery if over 4 years.
Test all exterior marker, warning lamps and headlamps. Inspect headlamps for transparency if plastic. Replace as necessary.
Test interior gauges, warning lamps and courtesy lamps.
Inspect and test safety equipment, seat belts, airbag warning lamps, inspect that airbags are installed.


Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
 

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Purposeful Prepper
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So, I just got a new to me 2011 Subaru Forrester. I come from Subaru people.

If you got a new to you car, for a daily driver in a smallish city, what is the first thing you would do to it?

The question is intentionally broad.

And I live in Wisconsin, where it snows ALL THE DAMN TIME.
You didn't mention if it was a gift or a purchase. If you owe something on it, pay it off.

Next, good tires and brakes. Stopping is very important. Get the alignment checked.

Have the battery checked. Starting is important, too.

How are the lights? windshield wiper blades? Check all the fluids.

As soon as you can clean the hell out of it. If you do that you will notice a lot of the problems and imperfections.

You didn't mention how many miles it has. Get a manufacturer's schedule of maintenance. Get that done.

Good luck.
 

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Change the oil/filter

Have the local pop run their drug dog thru the car.

Subaru - start saving to replace the future blown head gasket (unless has been done (with Subaru parts)).
 

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While new subs have gone to timing chain that old they used belts and they are interference engines so if belt breaks there is a lot of damage. At least think about timing belt change.
 

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Start saving for a head gasket job. Lol.

I kid, but I work on a ton of subarus and they always need the heads done. I have a 06 B9 Tribecca at my shop now with a smoked pcm. It's out getting repaired now.

Solid cars, just a PITA to work on usually and not reliable IMO. The B9's 6cyl is a gutless gas drinking whale. Would not reccomend one. Lots of turbo wrx's ive worked on are completely ragged out and leaking everything, everywhere.
 

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"TURGID FLUX"
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Add a 2" or so lift kit and larger tires.....
A 24 inch lift and Stagecoach wheels most definately. And paint mettalic green or purple.

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Wearing fur underwears...
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Something that is neglected probably on 95%+ on vehicles is the ignition system. Plugs last a long time now, but it's cheap insurance. Change the plugs, inspect the old ones. Replace the plug wires. Not sure if you have multiple coil packs (NVM just looked it up and it is 4), but for a single coil I change it out while I'm messing around, and put the old one in a tool box for a spare. For a multi-coil system I'd think about just getting a spare, or maybe go to a wrecker and pick up a couple, few spares.

Another high neglect item is the battery. I wouldn't necessarily change it, as the OEM batteries seem to last forever, or it might be changed recently. Get a battery tester and test it after ensuring it's fully charged. Clean the terminals, battery, And change terminals on the cable if they are sketchy looking. Check the battery output after this, and alternator output.

Check the transmission fluid (if you didn't already!!). Don't do a flush on a higher mileage vehicle, as the all the new fluid has a high detergent content and will knock all the sludge out at once and plug the pump and filter. (For an automatic). Wouldn't hurt to do a regular change, though.

Check power steering pump fluid. Possibly change.

Wouldn't hurt to change the coolant, probably never been done, and check the specific gravity. Do a flush if it's crappy looking. You can do that yourself.

Air filter, change or check the serpentine belt, and keep the old one, or have a new one as a spare.

Lights. Halogens dim after they get older; look for some good high output bulbs by Osram (not blue junk from the ricer shop) and change them out. Keep spares. Wouldn't hurt to replace all the indicator lights with high quality LED lights like Pilot. Polish headlights if needed.

Good tire pump (I like the direct drive ones), tire repair kit, good jack etc. Get a good, basic socket set when they go on sale, and good wrench set for the tool box. Chilton or Haynes repair manual. Keep a quart or engine oil and transmission oil in the car.

Check the diff oil, grease what you can grease, change nipples if applicable. Change the oil and filter. Use a Napa Platinum and a good, pure synthetic oil. Castrol, Pennsoil, Valvoline.
 

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Born 120 years too late.
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I DON'T buy new vehicles
and
IF I don't know the person I am buying from I take it to a little Quaker State oil change place in our town and if it can be flushed, lubed or drained and replaced I have it ALL done.

I am a strong believer in preventive maintenance and they can tell you how good those critical fluids are.

It might cost a little to start but you get no surprises like finding out your rear differential has no fluid in it and fried .

Also, I go into the pit(they don't care) and get a really good look underneath to look for future issues such as an exhaust system going to go bad in a few more months or other damage your initial inspection failed to discover.

THEN if you do find something you can start budgeting for it as opposed to having to sell a body part down the road to keep mobile.:thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks guys.

I spent my day with my 9 year old niece, so there is a lot to dig through here. Thank you

I will get to specific responses later.
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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First I would make sure the water pump/thermostat is working properly.
I would pull the belt and spin the water pump by hand feeling for any problem with the bearing. Also, Antifreeze has lubricants and corrosion inhibitors that have a finite life. Might go ahead and change the radiator fluid (or as an alternative, I think you can buy the anticorrosion and lubricant additives to renew the old fluid.
if the vehicle brand has a history of blowing head gaskets, keeping the engine temperature well controlled will help extend the life of the head gasket.


Second I would change the transmission fluid. Inexpensive precaution against expensive automatic transmission repairs. Also, even if the transmission seems OK, it will likely shift smoother and perform better afterwards.

Check the tires for tread depth and uneven wear. Also check for a good tire balance.
Get balanced and aligned if needed.

Windshield wipers have improved a lot in recent years. I recently bought the top end blades from Walmart for 20 bucks a wiper. Unbelievable improvement in performance. Might consider it especially with all the road chemicals that are used up north. Make sure your windshield washers are working properly.

Check the battery terminals, remove, clean and retighten. Check the battery.

Check for engine codes.
Make sure the jack and spare are there and in good shape. Buy a tire plug repair kit and 12V air compressor. Maybe a 4 way lug wrench also.

Get jumper cables and a couple warning triangles, gloves, mover's blanket, and a basic wrench and screwdriver kit for the trunk. Funnel and spare qt of oil.

Basic vehicle inspection, lights, horn, wipers, stopping ability.

Cars up North are rust machines. Clean the undercarriage etc. Keep the recommended tire pressure.

Change the engine air cleaner, oil and filter. Synthetic oil if it is in the budget.

If the mileage says to change the timing belt/chain get that done.

Look for any oil leaks from struts, engine bearing, etc.

Might change the PCV valve. Might reduce carbon buildup on the intake valves.
 

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reluctant sinner
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I had one used older Subaru. That was enough for me. Others in my family like their S, but they don't work on them or drive them off the pavement.

Get a manual for it, factory ones are the best; Chilton etc are better than nothing.
Loctite and anti-seize compound - almost every bolt needs one or the other.

I'd look at rubber parts and hoses, they will be failing soon.

I would consider adding some treatments to your next fluid changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hoses.

Someone posted about new hoses. Are there better or worse hoses? In my head I was comparing it to the basic of plumbing I know, and how some of these things have improved greatly over time.

Are there varying degrees of durability in hoses?
 

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I have five subarus ranging from 98 to 2004.

All have had their HGs done. Honestly, I love that about them because its a fairly easy job to do yourself but one that makes people sell them for next to nothing so someone without a lot of money but a little skill can pick up cars he couldn't otherwise afford.

But what I really like is their design and function. They are an actual utility vehicle. I have hauled thousands of pounds of lumber on the roof of my outbacks and thousands more of cement in the back...to say nothing of food runs etc.

They are probably the single most popular make of vehicle up here for good reason.

I wish I could get the same vehicle, for the same price, but built by toyota.

At least for the older ones. I'm not so sure about the new ones. I don't think I would ever want to own one of the CVT ones.

What would I do first with a 11?

Hard to say as I've never owned a vehicle that new. Probably the timing belt if it hasn't been done since that is a cheap DIY and a widowmaker if it slips. Which I have had experience with.
 

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reluctant sinner
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Shop at rockauto.com. They usually have choices of grades of parts. I try and buy American rubber parts.

Last year I was backing up to my house and about 50 feet away the upper radiator hose blew off right at the clamp. There was enough left I could have put it back on. I also had enough water to refill the system with me.

Ordered all new hoses rad/heater and had them in less than a week. I think I put new heater hoses on about 12 years ago when I got the truck. I think I put the old hoses in a box - just in case.

You should check the all the local parts people online to for prices and availability NAPA, AutoZone, Orileys ...
 

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Wearing fur underwears...
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I'd like to withdraw my recommendation of Castrol. Thought it was one of the good oils, but did not do very well in comparison to better oils on the 3 ball (?) friction test.

Running synthetic doesn't cost any more than regular oil. You can extend the oil changes. One or two of the companies recommends a very long change routine. You may find that there may be a little more oil consumption, though, especially if you are waiting twice as long to change out. For me; I extend it a bit, and very worth the price of admission when I can't plug in the truck, but it spins fast and gets oil pressure instantly. Also nice to have the peace of mind when you are in a 30-30 situation. 30 miles down a dead end lease road, coming back to the truck after hunting most of the day, and the temperature is -30, you just want it to start.

Keep an eye on your CV boots. Get on a change quick, if you rip one, you don't want to wear out the joint.

Didn't really mention recovery gear, but it's a good idea, especially with a vehicle that you'll be tempted to take out of the way places that a 2wd car wouldn't go.

Slightly over size tires. Most trucks and SUV will give you enough room to go up a couple sizes. I like the extra clearance and bigger foot print. Makes it smoother riding, off road, or on rough back roads also. And I like a more aggressive mud biased tire, because nothing is a harder recovery than being stuck in mud. And big voids do well in deep snow and sand, also.
 
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