Why Service Your Car With Your Dealer?

by Tom Talbott on July 7, 2016

When you purchase a vehicle, you should also be thinking about how you’ll go about service and maintenance. First off, following the manufacturer’s service schedule is vitally important. Those guidelines are established to be sure that important components are checked at the right times, so that your car is running smoothly and safely.  If one item is wearing improperly, it can start a chain reaction of wear on other parts that can lead to a breakdown.

A reputable dealer knows that it’s the service after the sale that customers truly appreciate and respect. If there is to be repeat business, it is earned through the work of the service department. That is why a dealer invests heavily in hiring technicians who have the highest level of training,  and the very best tools and diagnostic equipment to handle the job.

At your Portland, Maine and Providence, RI based Subaru stores, all technicians are ASE Certified, short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.  In addition, technicians have earned additional levels of certification from Subaru, with many earning the highest level of Master Technician.  If there is a problem, they’ll find it and fix it correctly, assuring your safety and satisfaction.

Today’s vehicles are loaded with computer technology, and they require the diagnostic equipment to handle it. Some of the gear can cost over $100k.  Dealers are required to make this investment to maintain their status as an authorized dealer.  In fact, the gear is linked directly to factory service experts who can monitor all the activity, and use that data to understand potential issues with the fleet.

Dealers are also required to carry genuine OEM, aka Original Equipment Manufactured parts to service their vehicles.  This assures that the repairs can not only be done promptly, but the parts will be correct and compatible with the vehicle.  For example, a Subaru dealer would carry genuine Subaru OEM parts and accessories, and use them when making any repair to ensure quality.

All to often, a dealer will see a car come in that has been serviced by an area garage that has misdiagnosed, used an inferior after-market part, or utilized incorrect fluids or oils in the engine.  The result is even greater damage, which jeopardizes or in some cases invalidates the manufacturers warranty.  Now the repair has to be done again, and usually at at even greater expense.  This places the dealer in an uncomfortable position, as the customer thinks that they’re being taken advantage of, but that is not the case.  If the owner had taken the car to the dealer in the first place, the work would have been done under warranty, and if there was an issue after the fact, the dealer would be responsible.

Convenience is also a consideration. Many dealers offer shuttle services so you can drop your car off and get a ride to work and back.  Some stores will have loaner cars available if your car needs to stay overnight for longer repairs. Most dealers will have extra comforts and amenities in the waiting area, such as desks with computer terminals, Wi-Fi, quiet rooms, children’s play areas.  At our Subaru store in Saco, Maine, we have bikes that customers can use on a trail behind the store, as well as a vegetable garden that some customers enjoy working in while they wait.

So, the best approach to efficiently and properly maintaining your vehicle is to utilize the resources available right at your dealer.  The prices are always competitive, and most important, you know it will be done right. If there is ever an issue or concern, you know you can take your concerns right to management who oversees the dealership, and is just as committed as you are to see you are happy with your experience.

Patriot Subaru Service Bays - North Attelboro, MA

Service Bays at Patriot Subaru, North Attleboro, MA






How My Subaru Communicates…or What is that Light?

by Tom Talbott on June 21, 2016

On a Subaru dashboard, there are over 20 little icons that will light up to relay some kind of important information to the driver. They’re going to alert you to an issue that you may want to pay attention to sooner rather than later. Kind of like, “Car here, letting you know I have an ache,  and would you mind taking a look at it before it gets to be a real concern?”

Subaru Service Icons

Now, some of them may light up when you start the vehicle, that’s normal.  Some of them may be easy fixes, like the reminder for the driver or a passenger to buckle their seatbelt,  a door that has not closed all the way, or that your gas is getting low.  Others may require you to respond by calling your Subaru service center in Saco, Maine or North Attleboro, MA promptly, as continued driving may cause damage or be unsafe.  Examples there would be the icons for the SRS air bags not functioning properly, or the brake system not working properly.

Typically a well maintained vehicle will not have these kinds of service issues. If you stay on track with the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance plan, the vast majority of these problems will never occur under normal driving conditions.

Your Owner’s Manual will have the definition for each symbol and warning light,  as well as your vehicle’s Maintenance Plan. Stick to it, and avoid the hassle of the “Check Engine” warning light.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety annually performs extensive testing on vehicles, all makes and models, to  assess the vehicle’s ability to withstand a crash. Essentially, they want to evaluate how the car will protect its most valuable asset – the people inside.  The IIHS conducts rates the performance, and those that earn good ratings in a variety of categories are named as a TOP SAFETY PICK.  Vehicles with superior ratings are awarded with a TOP SAFETY PICK + evaluation.

Subaru has always prided itself on safety, and it bears out in the IIHS ratings.  Not just one model, but in fact the 2016 Subaru Forester, Impreza, Outback, Legacy, Crosstrek, and WRX were all TOP SAFETY PICK + recipients.

2016 IIHS Top Safety Pick +

There are five tests to assess the crashworthiness — small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — plus a basic rating for front crash prevention.  There are size categories, as the size and weight of a car will influence the level of protection.  Naturally, if you want to drive a tank, you’d be well protected, but it’s not practical!    Heavier, larger cars do offer more overall protection.  Thus a small car that earns a category award will not necessarily offer more protection than a larger car that does not receive an award.

The Impreza, Crosstrek and WRX earned their honors in  Small Car,  the Legacy and Outback in the Mid-Size,  the Forester in the Small SUV.

Your local Portland, Maine and Providence, RI Subaru dealers can show you more, including the industry leading Subaru Eyesight system.  It’s a virtual extra set of eyes on the road to make driving safer than ever before.

2016 Subaru Outback

The 2016 Subaru Outback



The new 2017 Subaru Impreza will be rolling out in the fall 2016, the first Subaru model to  feature the “Subaru Global Platform”.  What that means is the introduction of a modular chassis, that will become part of all models in the lineup.  Subaru says this new design will increase the car’s overall feel on the road, adding both more agility as well as power.  We took a closer look.

Patriot Subaru 2017 Subaru Impreza

With a modular chassis, a car manufacturer is able to share more mechanical items between the models they produce.  This isn’t new. GM started the process in 1908.  In the 60’s, we saw Pontiacs, Buicks, Chevrolets, and Oldsmobiles all using the same basic framework.  The primary reason for doing this is economics. If a manufacturer can share costs over several models, they reduce costs, and can keep prices down.

Subaru is on an incredible run of success over the past five years.  At the time of this writing, Subaru has had 53 consecutive months of yearly month-over-month sales increases.  The demand continues to grow.  It’s more than just making cars faster.  They need to make cars smarter, and more efficiently, without sacrificing any of the performance and value that makes Subaru a top consumer pick for both reliability and safety. Your Subaru stores in Saco, Maine and North Attleboro, MA have seen first-hand the demand, and look forward to the incoming 2017 models.

The new Subaru modular platform offers 70-100 per cent greater rigidity compared to the current chassis, which means vibration from the road will be reduced and felt through both the steering wheel and seats.  That provides both driver and passenger with a  more comfortable ride. In addition, impact energy absorption increases 40 per cent, which means even greater safety.  Subaru already earns IIHS Top Safety Picks for the entire lineup, so to improve upon this is extremely impressive.  We’re not finished.  Subaru projects that the center of gravity will be lowered, which improves handling. The rear stabilizer will be mounted directly to the body which lowers body roll by 50 per cent.

Patriot Subaru Blog

We started by talking about the Impreza rollout, so we’ll finish there.   The 2.0 liter flat four engine will now have direct injection which boosts the HP from 148 to 152.  The transmission will get a Lineartronic CVT with a 7 speed manual mode.  The 2017 Impreza will be the first Subaru ever with steering-responsive headlights. Inside, power seating has been added, first time for the Impreza, and the infotainment center has a fleet of upgrades.  The Eyesight® system also is enhanced with Lane Assist, Rear Cross traffic alert, and high beam assist.  Also, the 2017 Impreza is the first Subaru model to offer automatic rear braking when an object is detected.

Your Subaru stores in Saco, Maine and North Attleboro, MA can’t wait to have them on the lot!







The Patriot Subaru Genius Helps Customers

by Tom Talbott on April 5, 2016

So you just bought a new car, congratulations!  You drive off the lot and look to turn on the AC.  Hmm, it’s not the same kind of control as your previous car.  Darn, wish you had asked before you left the store. Come to think of it, wish the dealer had synced up your smart phone too, that would have saved time.  And, why does this rear view mirror have all these buttons? That’s different. Yikes!

At Patriot Subaru in Saco, ME and North Attleboro, MA, the worry turns to fun, as you spend time after the sale with the store’s personal Subaru Genius.  These associates are there specifically to go over all the functions and special features of the vehicle before you leave, so you know your car inside and out.   Patriot Subaru provides hands-on demonstrations for every feature and benefit of a customer’s new vehicle. This includes all the fun infotainment aspects,  as well as safety features, comfort controls, and basic functionality.

Cars equipped with dashboard touch-screens can be intimidating to some folks.  The Genius will help you through!  Interior discussion will also include items such as the airbags, how they work and where they are located.  Ever wonder when the best time to use the recirculating air fan is?  Ask the Genius.  There are things under the hood as well, such as how to check the oil and fill the wiper fluid -easy for some – but not everyone!

Before you leave the store, your phone will be synced up with Bluetooth and tested. Heating or AC will be demonstrated. Seat positions adjusted. All the displays on the “heads up” console will be discussed, and all the buttons, paddles, and switches on the steering column put to work. Today’s vehicles come with so many incredible computer based options, customer’s love the opportunity to sit in a nice relaxed manner and have someone of knowledge explain all the interesting components.

Hey look, a USB port!  How cool!

Our Patriot Subaru Genius explains all the features of both the interior and exterior of your new vehicle.

Our Patriot Subaru Genius explains all the features of both the interior and exterior of your new vehicle.




Subaru of America has reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that after examination of returned parts, it showed that some brake lines were susceptible to rust after several years of exposure to salt water,  common to areas where heavy salting is used in winter conditions.  Further testing revealed a gap in the shielding around the fuel tank which allowed the salty brine to seep in and corrode the area, which had the potential to compromise the line and allow brake fluid to escape.

Subaru will recall approximately 660,000 vehicles in 20 states that use road salt on a regular basis.  The vehicles involved are the 2009-13 Forester, the 2005-9 Legacy and Outback, the 2008-14 Impreza WRX/ WRX STi, and the 2008-11 Impreza.  The 20 states include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia — or in the District of Columbia.

No accidents or injuries have been reported or attributed to the potential corrosion.  Subaru, a unit of Japan’s Fuji Heavy Industries, Inc, has said that they will contact owners directly, and those customers can schedule service with local Subaru dealerships.  If a repair is necessary, it will be done free of charge, and if it had been repaired previously, the customer is entitled to reimbursement.   The service center will check for any corrosion and brake fluid leakage, and if none is found, an anti-corrosion wax will be applied.  If leakage is detected, the brake line will be replaced, and rustproofed with the anti-corrosion wax.

Subaru noted that if there was any brake fluid leakage, a warning light would turn on, alerting the driver.  The driver would not lose braking power, but the driver would notice a sluggish response and the car would need a longer distance to slow down or bring the car to a stop.  This could lead to an accident, so as in any recall, do not ignore it.  You may not have symptoms now, but don’t find out the hard way!


2015 Subaru WRX and WRX STi Kick It Up A Notch

by Tom Talbott on April 27, 2014

2015 Subaru WRX STi

Subaru continues it’s impressive roll of refinements and upgrades that have brought successive years of increased sales to the manufacturer.  Between the success of the Outback, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, BRZ, Crosstrek, and the WRX/WRX STi…..it’s hard to say which vehicle is the “flagship” of the line.  At your Maine Subaru dealer, it depends which customer you’re talking to!  Each vehicle roll0ut is fun, so for right now, it’s the 2015 WRX and WRX STi that are in the spotlight.

Essentially the base WRX is fully redesigned. This includes some new styling with foglights, sunroof, a trunk lid spoiler, heated mirrors, wiper de-icer, and heated front seats.  The 2.0 liter turbocharged engine is smaller than what it used to be at 2.5, but the horsepower is up to 268, and the gas mileage has improved.  The AWD is a new torque-vectoring system that improves traction and control in the turns. 6 speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The manual version will go from 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds – excellent for this class.  5.9 in the CVT.

The STi keeps the 2.5 liter engine as it has been using. Disappointed?  Don’t be. Subaru made the refinements in handling, with stiffer suspension tuning, a more responsive and communicative hydraulic-assist steering system, and an adjustable center differential that the driver can fine tune the traction.  Word is that the turns feel sharper and more balanced than ever, which makes the driving an even greater experience. New items include an Brembo brakes, 8 way power adjustable driver’s seat, 18 inch BBS wheels, leather upholstery, and….a 9 speaker premium Harmon Kardon audio system.   0-60 in 5.1 seconds.  The only downside on the STi is that it is a stiff ride – it’s made for performance – so if you have bumpy roads, it might be too much for some.  But if you want to kick it up, the WRX STi is unmatched in it’s class.

For a more detailed review, check out Edmunds , Car and Driver, or Jalopnik.




Subaru Stellar Care Award

by Tom Talbott on March 8, 2014

Patriot Subaru 2014 Stellar AwardThe Subaru Stellar Care Award is something special, not only for the dealers who earn the coveted award, but for the customers. That’s because Subaru dealers know that when you put the customers first, they’ll put the dealership first. Ultimately it is a win-win-win scenario, with the Subaru customers having a great ownership experience, the Subaru dealer earning repeat business, and the Subaru brand gaining recognition and value.

So earning the award is not a simple task. To receive the award, the dealer must attain a defined list of performance measures by year’s end. The list is long and expectations are high. They are under continual review and consistency counts.  A thumbnail review of the criteria include:

  • Facility – exceeding standards for cleanliness and comfort for guests.    
  • Sales Operations – from meet and greet to test drive to delivery, the experience has to be exceptional. 
  • Service Operations – Repair equipment and diagnostics state-of-the-art.   
  • Training – Up to date, current, and complete.   
  • Finance Department – Specialists in the field, educated to handle all needs.  

Each area is covered in great detail, set to the highest standards of excellence. Patriot Subaru in Saco, Maine has earned an unprecedented 10 consecutive Subaru Stellar Care Awards.  What’s more, that’s 10 for the 10 years that this Maine Subaru dealer has been in business.  That is one of the best, if not the best, in Subaru dealer history.

For a detailed pdf of how the Stellar Care Award is determined for a Subaru dealer, click here.



Subaru Tops List of NADA Used Car Value Retention

by Tom Talbott on March 1, 2014

nadalogoYou’ve heard the expression that as soon as you drive your new car off the lot it’s value drops dramatically. Ouch!  It’s a fact that time and mileage reduce the value, simply known as depreciation. Some cars  have a slower rate of depreciation, which leads to better retained value, or “retention”.  It’s a combination of being built better at the beginning, as well as the overall demand to buy that car even though it is used.

The NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association)  has just released it’s 2014 report on the value retention of current passenger cars on the road today. The report is divided into categories: Subcompact (smallest size),  Compact (standard),  Mid-Size (Upgrade), Large Car (aka boats!), and Luxury (highest price).  Retention value was calculated were based on 3 year old cars, trim level 2011.  Numbers were based on 3 month average of NADA average trade in value divided by the MSRP.

Out of all the categories combined, the 2008-2011 Subaru Impreza was the #1 Car in Retention Value, with a score of 63.5%.  In it’s individual category of Compact Car, the Impreza was an impressive 4 points higher than the 2nd best, the Hyundai Elantra.

Not to be outdone, Subaru scored another #1 in the Mid-Size car, with the Subaru Legacy topping that list with a retention value of 60.9%, well ahead of #2 the Kia Optima at 58%.

NADA summarizes by saying, “While economic factors can have a similar effect on depreciation across different makes and models, top retaining models possess a unique combination of superior characteristics- rock solid quality and dependability, an impressive balance between performance and fuel efficiency, and eye-catching design – that slow the annual rate of decline.

For the full NADA Review from February 2014. click here.


Patriot Subaru Earns 10th Consecutive Stellar Care Award

by Tom Talbott on February 23, 2014

Patriot Subaru Stellar Care Award 2014Subaru of America has announced the 2014 recipients of the Subaru Stellar Care Award, designating an elite group of dealers who have shown their dedication to customer experience throughout the year.  Patriot Subaru, Saco, Maine is once again very proud to receive this award of recognition, understanding that this award does not come easily, and is highly coveted by Subaru dealers across the country.

What’s interesting, is that this Maine Auto Dealer has earned the award for 10 consecutive years, every year that it has been in business.  Since opening in November 2003,  Patriot has been recognized every year, from 2004-2014.  That record is unprecedented in the halls of Subaru.

Award recipients meet the high Stellar Care benchmarks for customer satisfaction, brand representation, and operational excellence.  The Subaru brand has enjoyed record sales for the past four years and this success is in large part due to the excellence of the Subaru retail body. Stellar Care Award winners excel in the way they take care of their customers and represent the Subaru brand.

Performance measures for the program range from participation in all customer focused Subaru programs to maintaining a customer-friendly, inviting facility.  Dealers must also attain outstanding satisfaction scores for all key areas in sales and service.