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A rip-off?

tpe3btpe3b Posts: 1
Dear all,

I have a 2007 Subaru Outback 2.5XT Limited (auto), bought new, now with 60K miles.

Recently started hearing a buzzing/clanking sound at idle (at higher revs it's masked by engine noise), sounds like a belt(?). Took it to a dealer:

the dealer mechanic does not hear this extra noise (?) - although it's very proniunced...

the dealer service/repair estimates:

slightly over 1000 for 60K service

plus a list of recommended repairs:

resurface front brake rotors and replace brake pads (at minimum) $395.00
replace front lower control arm bushings (torn)..................$429.00
add all wheel alignment..........................................$120.00
front left strut is leaking fluid, recommend replacing both front$1,100.00
Front axle boots are cracking/dry rotted, will split soon, recommend both
front axles...........$950.00

Does it sound reasonable? I don't take this car off-road, why suddenly a $4,000 expense at only 60K miles?

Yes, i already to change rear bearing, and and ignition coils at 40K miles...

Comments

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Prices do seem high. Some very high.

    Since it's out of warranty you may want to consider a good indy shop.

    I wouldn't change the front axle boots until they do fail. I had that happen once and it still didn't cost as much as that quote.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,524
    Agreed - they sound high!

    The struts are ~$150 each for the part (possibly less, I haven't directly priced them) and are probably 30 minutes per corner. Unless they have one heck of a shop rate, that sounds like a rip-off. The axle boots should either be replaced with a split boot to preserve the current equipment, or let them fail and replace the axles when they start making noise. The latter will probably take 40K miles (possibly more). The former would be a pittance of the work/cost.

    All the stuff you mentioned sounds more like $1,500 - $1,800. That said, none of it is an "oh my gosh, do this now!" type of repair. Of them all, I'd say the bushings and alignment are highest priority.

    That said, I'd address that noise. It could be a turbo issue, in which case you could be headed toward a catastrophic failure in that system.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • bob192bob192 Posts: 19
    definitely look for a local repair shop. Its very common for dealers (all makes) to reward their customers for making such a big purchase as a new car, by sodomizing them relentlessly. those prices are ridiculous and some services maybe not even necessary. Do these people have any conscience at all? Once the warranty is done most people need to look for an independent trustworthy garage.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    How does terrible advice help the O.P?

    The prices to me do sound high, but then again I've learned to not guess what something should cost. We have to spend the time to look up the parts, and the labors and build an exact estimate each and every time.

    The struts are ~$150 each for the part (possibly less, I haven't directly priced them) and are probably 30 minutes per corner

    So what if this car has active suspension, or maybe even Magna Steer" ? Now the odds are that it doesn't but if you blindly throw out some number as you did now you have completely mislead the OP and anyone who prices out the job correctly you just labeled a thief in her eyes.

    BTW, what you can buy a given part for has no bearing on what a shop needs to charge in order to actually thrive as a business. You don't know what it costs them to open the doors, therefore you should be honest enough to admit you don'tnow how to price the repair. On top of that you can find very cheap parts out there that while they may fit, no way perform to the level that the correct part does and a shop cannot use those because the customer would be dissapointed with the handling of the car. Some of the stuff we find out there is so bad that she's better off keeping her leaking strut on the car for a few more years than she is to replace it.

    The axle boots should either be replaced with a split boot to preserve the current equipment, or let them fail and replace the axles when they start making noise.

    Terrible advice. Split boots have never been the answer. There is no way to disassemble and clean the joint if you try to use them and they leak. If you don't have the discipline to do the job correctly, which means remove the axleshaft, disassemble it, clean and inspect the components and if they are OK fill the joints with the correct amount of fresh grease and install the correct boots then don't touch it.

    That said, I'd address that noise. It could be a turbo issue, in which case you could be headed toward a catastrophic failure in that system

    Did you actually hear her noise to decide that? Why couldn't the original noise just be a heat shield? Does she even have a turbo? (I'd have to open up another page to go back and read to see if she mentioned one) Heck if it is a turbo charged version the sport suspension actually becomes much more likely. If you were a shop and she called you for "an estimate" and you guessed as you did here and then when the car came in (because you were the cheapest) you would then have to correct your prices to reflect what it takes to do the job the right way, and using the right parts. That would make you a bait and switch operation any day of the week and a rip-off most certainly would be occurring.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Chill?

    Magna Steer on a Subaru? Check the thread you're in.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    Actually I stuck that in there on purpose, I know that Suby's don't use that system. It's place in that response has a deeper purpose. You'll have to try and see what it's use was suggesting.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,524
    edited November 2012
    For all the effort that you put into that post, Doc, you seriously missed the mark. You pretty much convinced me that you have little exposure to the 2007 Outback XT, which surprises me given the reasonably large presence of the make in Pennsylvania.

    The OP wasn't asking for a diagnosis, but rather an assessment of reasonableness. Given that I have performed the work on these cars, I think my assessment is reasonable. If I was asked to provide a quote, well, that's a different story and obviously more information is needed and more effort put into research when providing an answer.

    As to the noise, heck yes that should be identified! The XT (and GT) was identified during the Outback's gen-3 time frame for turbo failure due to a filter screen clogging. Does the OP know that? I don't know, but an owner saying that "something sounds different" / "I don't know what's causing it, but I can tell something is wrong" means it needs to be identified. When a shop says they cannot replicate, it's normal operation, etc., yet the noise is present at that moment, that's when it's time for a second opinion somewhere else. Of course, they follow that up with "oh, but we did this 651-point inspection while we had the car in the bay, and here's everything we found that IS wrong!" You're an amazing mechanic from what I can tell, Doc, but that means you should know more than anyone that not all shops are on par with you. :sick:

    I'm sorry if you feel that us fly-by-nighters aren't worthy of the cyberspace, but we can help folks in our own way. If it were all left up to you, you'd have quite a workload.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • css1css1 Posts: 247
    The prices seem high - but that does not mean you don't need these repairs.
    Try other Subaru dealers before taking to an independent.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Watch, everything you suggested will turn out to be true.

    If anything, the few Subaru problems that do come up tend to show a pattern, one that can and will be observed again and again. Head gaskets, wheel bearings, etc.

    I've made suggestions that a mechanic said were completely off base (how dare I?) and then a week later the OP comes back and thanks me for my correct diagnosis. :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    So you're trying to offer advice, and you strategy is to tell people to read between the lines, and you bring up irrelevant tech?

    Let me know what shop you work for so I can stay as far away as possible, please.
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,468
    Ironic that a "real" mechanic is offering bad advice about Wes' "bad" advice.

    I would take Wes' advice over a mechanic that obviously knows nothing about Subarus ... doesn't even know an Outback XT is a turbo.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Trying to confuse and belittle customers is not the way to earn business.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    FYI, that wasn't a read between the lines, it was a simple try at a trap. You recognized that the system I mentioned applies to a different manufacturer and questioned it before it got to play out. All you did was spoil how I was going to try and make a point.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    Trying to confuse and belittle customers is not the way to earn business.

    Who's here to try and earn business and who ever suggested that you were a customer?

    I responded to this thread because of very bad advice. If there was anything that had potential to mislead customers it's suggestions that hack items like split CV boots are a viable repair.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You really think wes would have fallen for that lame trap? Please...
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    Subaru's account for about one visit out of around 600 cars and there hasn't been a turbo'ed Subaru in the shop in more than five years. Besides, we ID everything by the VIN these days and the letters on most makes account for trim package levels so even now, I wouldn't try to remember whether the XT is a turbo or not.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    As to the noise, heck yes that should be identified! The XT (and GT) was identified during the Outback's gen-3 time frame for turbo failure due to a filter screen clogging.

    http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1402279

    A bit old but here is a forum discussing the filter screen that you thought of.
    Now let's go back and add the O.P's description of the noise.

    Recently started hearing a buzzing/clanking sound at idle

    How did you get to a turbo starving for oil with the description of the noise occurring at idle? If the noise was described as occurring off idle, especially under a load when the turbo is spinning up, then it might be a turbo issue but not at idle. Plus a trubo noise doesn't "come and go", the heat shields on the other hand do just that when they are first loosening up. Seems every Suby we see has loose exhaust heat shields making noise. But I know better than to say that is what the sound is without hearing it first.

    Seriously if the dealer had suggested the filter screen was a potential cause for the noise they would be even more deserving of scrutiny than the already are!

    Does the OP know that? I don't know, but an owner saying that "something sounds different" / "I don't know what's causing it, but I can tell something is wrong" means it needs to be identified.

    I agree, but guessing at it, without hearing it doesn't help.

    When a shop says they cannot replicate, it's normal operation, etc., yet the noise is present at that moment, that's when it's time for a second opinion somewhere else.

    BTW, retrospective on the oil issue. The primary cause of that screen plugging is (was) API/ILSAC oils that failed to meet the engines requirements. In that forum you'll see someone mention this reminds them of the Toyota sludging problem, they are right on the money.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    You really think wes would have fallen for that lame trap? Please...

    Hey, where did you all go? I thought you were all about proving how much you all knew. Funny how as soon as we get a few basic facts into the discussion and you suddenly disappear.

    BTW, could I have caught him? Yea, I just might have but we will never know now.

    To the O.P.
    All anyone here can do is guess. Personally I don't like seeing the fishing expeditions that appear to have taken place with your car. I know why they occur and don't condone any of the practices at all. The reason I ever visted this site in the first place had to do with one of the editors of Edmunds taking part in a TV sting involving NBC and a rigged Jeep Grand Cherokee. Later on the network did a follow up to the story trying to show the dealerships that they trapped in a better light (probably over advertising $$$ the network wants) and they tried to put all of the blame on the techs and writers. Meanwhile the underlying reasons for what they found not only have never been addressed by trying to exhonerate those dealers from any wrong doing no real changes for consumers will ever come about, and the top technicians are suffering for that right alongside of you.

    You do need to seek out a good shop in your area and have them service your vehicle as needed. IMO, there is a rip-off occurring at that facility and its primarily found with what management is doing to their employee's that in turn results in the problem you have encountered. Of course if challenged they will blame the employee's and some people will lose their jobs. Then the management there will simply start the process all over again until the next group have been exploited and the problem resurfaces.
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,468
    Hey, where did you all go? I thought you were all about proving how much you all knew.

    We adhere to Rule #1: Don't feed the troll.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,733
    Thank you! About time someone got to the real root of the issue here.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sorry, had a mosquito buzzing in my ear annoyingly.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,524
    Two reasons for me:

    1. I was out enjoying my weekend.
    2. I already responded; everything else was beyond the scope of the original inquiry.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    1. I was out enjoying my weekend.
    2. I already responded; everything else was beyond the scope of the original inquiry.


    Glad you were out having a good time. Sorry for trying to use what you wrote for an example of how poor a lot of the advice people often get can be. Nothing personal was intended. As well intentioned as some advice may be, not fully corroberating the advice to the actual vehicles problem really isn't any better than what the dealership is doing. Even worse, should the O.P. go to another shop armed with faulty suggestions, it sets the stage for trouble even if the tech nails the problem and has the ability to fix it the first time.

    You have several others who are piling on essentially trying to defend you and your advice. I'm wondering if you see why the banjo bolt screen suggestion isn't supported by the O.P's description, and if you still feel suggesting split boots was in her best interest as well?
  • Tpe3b,
    Different areas will vary on price, so I would call around in your area for a second oppinion on price and would probably get a second oppinon on the service that should be done. I own an indepent repair shop so I always recommend using independent vs dealer, but this is a whole other discussion. If this were at my shop I would the brakes would be around $300. The control arm bushings and alignment dont sound that far off. The struts call for 3.0 hours in mitchell which would be $300 labor and the parts are 150 each so about $600 for struts. They probably are recommending the strut mounts as well since they have bearings in them and are usually needed with the struts. Cost on mounts is $70 each. The axles sound like they are throwing something on there. Are they leaking? or the boots just cracked? Again I would recommend a second oppinion. But aftermarket axles for your vehicle are $160 each. Labor is 1.4 Hours each and is $280, so if you go with aftermarket axles you would be looking at $600.

    All that being said at 60,000 miles this seems early. But most rubber products(control arm bushings) deteriorate around 5 years. Struts are recommended by most manufacturers at 70k miles on the late end. Brakes are determined by driving conditions.

    Again, trust sounds like an issue, get a second oppinion.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,524
    I'm wondering if you see why the banjo bolt screen suggestion isn't supported by the O.P's description, and if you still feel suggesting split boots was in her best interest as well?

    I wasn't throwing the turbo failure out as a suggestion as to what her problem might be - I used it only as an illustration that it is important to take unusual noises seriously.

    As for the split boots, that was suggested as a band-aid to extend the life of the axles. Even if the OP let the axles be, there's likely another 10-20K of miles in them. I noted that my boots were torn at about 110K miles on my Outback, but didn't have to ("have to" meaning they started making noise during turns due to wear) replace one axle until around 125K and the other lasted to 144K. Had I replaced the boots and re-lubed them, they might have lasted even longer. In other words, there's time to plan for the repair.

    To get back to the point, the OP asked for an assessment of reasonableness on the cost of the repairs suggested by the shop. I provided such an assessment that was grounded in my experience with just such issues.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
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