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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions

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Comments

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Elizabeth,

    As you've suspected, the dealer throws in a bunch of "preventative" maintenance items to increase their margins. You'll be suprised at how little maintenance is required on the official maintenance schedule.

    Ken
  • dmanzidmanzi Posts: 12
    I've got a 2000 Outback wagon, and it's now in the shop for its second major repair in two months. It has less than 50K on it, and its already had both head gaskets replaced. Now the heater coil inside the car has failed, and turned my car into a moving steambath. Before that there were several minor problems, like the seat heaters failing. Do I have a lemon? Have these cars slipped? I'm looking at a repair bill of over $1,000, since, according to the dealer, the heater coil isn't covered. I believe it should be, since its part of the cooling system.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I don't believe the cooling system is covered under the powertrain warranty. But I could be wrong.

    -mike
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Sorry to hear about all your problems. You might want to give Subaru customer support a call at 1-800-SUBARU3 and see if they can help out in any way.

    Have all your previous problems been addressed, however? Technically, a lemon is defined when a specific problem can not be repaired in a "reasonable" amount of tries/time.

    Ken
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Elizabeth - Since you're in NJ, I highly recommend Flemington Subaru if you're within an hour or so.
    They generally go by the book and have very good service, techs and prices. Their major services (15k, 30k, etc.) are about $100 cheaper than my previous dealer. Plus they'll give you a loaner on the major services no matter where you bought the car.
    My previous dealer loved those add-ons and Flemington goes pretty close to the book. IIRC, the only extra they added for my 60k was fuel additive.

    -Dennis
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    Elizabeth-


    The schedule is available on-line @ http://my.subaru.com

    I think you can access the schedule from the main website too.


    -Dave

    edit: I checked, and it is available in the main website http://www.subaru.com/owners/care/schedules/middle.html

  • dmanzidmanzi Posts: 12
    Previous issues have been taken care of, but I've never owned a car that's been in the shop asmuch as this one. Seat heaters fail, temperature controls fail, head gaskets, heater coils, won't stay aligned, and the list goes on. I know there's a technical definition for "lemon." But this car, by my definition, stinks and is a lemon. It's my last Subaru, for certain. There's something wrong when I'm stuck for a $1,000 repair on a two year old car for a component that simply shouldn't fail. By comparison, the Dodge in my garage that's older has never neede anything but an oil change.
  • I'm not an owner yet but I am gathering information before my purchase.

    I'm looking for information from owners with 15k to 25k miles regarding your routine service experiences.

    1. Are you following the recommendations of Subaru or the dealer?

    2. What is your experience regarding cost for routine service.

    3. Are the dealers suggesting changing filters, wiper blades, brake pads, etc. prematurely?

    4. How difficult is access to the oil filter? .....gas filter? ......air filter? ...etc.?

    5. Do you void the warranty if you perform routine maintenance yourself?

    In the past my experience has been that following routine service at the dealer something always gets messed up.

    I would appreciate your input.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    41k on my '99 2.5RS, can I answer?

    1. Subaru. dealer has done 1 warranty repair and 1 service on my car (first oil change, it was a freebie)

    2. Dealer mails me offers every few months for service at laughably high prices. I buy parts from internet/mail order Subaru dealers at significant discounts and perform all maintenance myself.

    3. n/a

    4. oil filter is extremely easy, within arm's reach from the front bumper very near the front of the block. even though my Impreza is lowered 2" I can change the oil without jacking the car and am done in 10 minutes. fuel filter is in the engine bay, right next to washer reservoir. changed that in 5 minutes for 30k service. air filter is on passenger side near ABS controller. changed that once with Subaru replacement part, the next time replaced it with an AMSOil reusable foam filter.

    5. ABSOLUTELY NOT. Keep your receipts and log your service items on my.subaru.com

    -Colin
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    68K on a '98 Forester, but here are my answers:

    1. Subaru
    2. Dealer recommended service is always high due to the extra items thrown in. I'm not as mechanically inclined as Colin so I have the dealer do certain items (spark plugs, coolant flush, brake fluids, etc.). I personally have been doing oil/filter, air filter and other minor items on my own.
    3. I've found that dealers tend to recommend items like timing belts before they're needed. They tend to stick to schedules for older Subaru models.
    4. Easy, as Colin wrote.
    5. Not at all

    Ken
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    I'd really like to see if we can help you in some way. Please make sure you call.

    Patti
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    Ditto Ken and Colin's post.

    Patti
  • shortlidshortlid Posts: 50
    This company is offering FREE Oil Analysis to get there name out!! Take advantage fellow import lovers!!


    http://www.pdma.com/sample.htm


    Joel

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    1. Subaru. I take my car to the dealer for the major services (30k, 60k). Luckily, my dealer is almost "spot on" with the manual.
    2. It varies by dealer. Over $100 on the major services.
    3. Current one, no. Previous one, yes.
    4. Oil and air filters are easy. Prior to this car, the only maintenance I performed on my own was helping my dad change oil when I was a teenager (20 yrs. ago).
    5. No.

    Luckily, I'm within 25 minutes of 4 Subaru dealers. I tried them all and stuck with the one I like.

    -Dennis
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    OK, another Toyota perspective incoming so be warned:

    No matter the manufacturer, I strongly recommend using the dealership for maintenance. This is not because I think they always do a better job, but if they do mess something up, you have a much easier way to address the problem. For instance, if you take the car to your local quick lube place and they fail to install the oil filter correctly and you get a small leak, this could eventually lead to severe engine damage. It might not even be caught right away. When you take it to the dealer, they will claim (correctly) that proper maintenance was not done, even though you have receipts. You will be left holding the bag or going back to the quick lube place.

    If, on the other hand, the dealer did all the maintenance, they can't deny a warranty claim for improper maintenance without indicting themselves. Most manufacturers do not require maintenance be done at their dealerships, but it is good protection for you.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Becuase ITS AGAINST THE LAW!

    On a side note, Cliffy, I'm still waiting for the pitfalls of the Isuzus that you mentioned some time ago, but never produced these pitfalls. (I think it had to do with the 4wd/TOD system)

    -mike
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Sorry for even mentioning the Isuzu. Really. I further apologize to you that I will not be getting into the whole Isuzu thing here. I actually like some of their products but this is not the place to discuss it.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    You can e-mail me off-line. Don't go making statements that you don't plan to defend. Or come over to the Isuzu topic and discuss it. I just want to know what the pitfalls are so that I can counter-act them with aftermarket or what-not.

    -mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    To me a lemon is a case of "3 strikes you're out". In other words, 3 failed attempts to repair the exact same problem.

    If you've had multiple problems, you have an unreliable car. That's not the same thing as a lemon. I think the big difference is that the dealer has been working with you and correcting the problems, and apparently each fix has worked. It stinks to have to pay for it, absolutely. Open up a case number and give Patti a call, maybe she can help out.

    I do my own maintenance myself on both my cars, but my wife goes to a dealer for most major services. Guess what? Her car is the one giving us all the trouble! The cars I service are trouble-free.

    I seriously doubt the dealer techs are as obsessive as I am. Do they really, truly look up the torque specs for the lug nuts for each vehicle, and adjust their air wrenches? I have yet to see a shop/dealer/factory that doesn't overtighten the oil drain plug, despite their published torque specs. Every time I find greasy finger prints inside.

    Nothing against your dealership, Cliffy, maybe they do look up torque specs and wear latex gloves to keep the interior spotless. But I do all that and spend about 10-20% of the fees they charge, and end up with a more reliable car compared to our only dealer-serviced vehicle.

    -juice
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Don't worry, I didn't even think to take offense. I have learned that there are times when a customer benefits from using the dealership. In a choice between a "quick lube" place and the dealership, I always vote for the dealership for the reasons I mentioned. While a semi-skilled person can handle most maintenance problems better than a shop, you still run a risk that warranties could be denied if you can't prove you did the required maintenance.

    Oh and by the way. I agree with you on the torque specs. In 8 years of working in several dealerships (I'm embarrassed to say exactly how many, but its more than 5) I have only seen one technician use a torque wrench on lug nuts. He happens to work at my current dealership.
  • dmanzidmanzi Posts: 12
    Sorry if my messages seem disjointed, but I'm having trouble determining who is replying to me and who isn't. I have spoken with Subaru of America, and they offered no relief. The car will be fixed (again) tomorrow, and when I can, I'll be looking for a replacement. Not a Subaru, for sure. I've never had to spend this much to fix a car with less than 50K on it, and it's leaving a real sour taste. Maybe having to tell my 9 year old that the trip to Orlando is off this April has something to do with it. FWIW, the customer rep from Subaru was very polite, he simply couldn't help.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    And there I would agree with you Cliffy, I would advise any sane person to avoid quick lubes. Non-existent or poor formal training, no vested intereste in your vehicle, just bad news all around.

    Change your oil yourself or have a dealer OR independent servicer do it. I mean a real shop, not a quick lube.

    For things beyond oil and air filter changes, then definitely ask yourself: can I do this? If you have a manual or previous experience, the answer is probably yes. If you have doubts or don't have the time, again see a qualified service provider.

    -Colin
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Are bad. I have had excellent service at my local Quaker State place. In and out in like 15 minutes, never any problems. I make sure they put everything back properly etc. But after about 250K+ of Quick-Lube places w/o any problems. You have to be prudent in which one you choose though. I've been to some poor ones.

    -mike
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Before you bring your car in for an oil change, there is one thing you may want to do. Take a grease pencil and put a mark on your oil filter. When you get your car back, make sure that the oil is fresh and that the filter with the mark is gone.

    This applies no matter if you use a dealer, service center or quick lube. It is very easy to do and will protect you down the road.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We agree there - the quick lube places are known to drain the tranny fluid instead of the engine oil on Subies. DOH!

    I guess I don't worry about warranty denials because we have Patti. :-)

    Good suggestion on the grease pencil.

    David: I'm not sure how you expect people to respond. Doesn't sound like anything will make a difference. I was discussing the issue in general. Your case is unfortunate, and probably an exception. I can't blame you if you buy something else next time.

    -juice
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I e-mailed you privately re: Isuzu, check your mail.

    edit:

    Thanks for the response. Too bad you don't remember the details of the problem :(

    -mike
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I'd be wary of anyone (dealer or quick lube) that does oil changes too fast. After changing my own oil, I've noticed that it takes 10 minutes or more for all of the oil to drain. Most quick lubes have a limited warranty covering their work if that's a concern.

    Before I started changing my oil, I had bad experiences at quick lube places and my former dealer.
    Wal-Mart apparently tried to take off the tranny filter and damaged it. A few thousand miles later, most of the tranny oil leaked out and my wife had to call AAA. That dealer had the nerve to blame me.

    The same dealer always overfilled both cars, and forgot to add gear oil (or enough) on my 15k visit.

    -Dennis
  • owellsowells Posts: 16
    My experience at the local Subaru dealer for oil/filter service was worse than a quick lube. The tech used the wrong volume specs and overfilled the crankcase. Nor did they check/fill other fluids even though the work order specifically called for same. After two more tries contending with clueless and arrogant service writers and overfilled oil, I now do all oil changes myself. The dealer has a clean shop, however, and I can only hope that an upcoming 30k service goes better.
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    I did find your case. It is still open and your Customer Service Rep. is still working on it. Hang in there! I'm sure it will work out okay.

    Patti
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,735
    Dave Manzi reports two head gasket changes, then a blown heater core. Sounds like combustion chamber gases are overpressurizing the cooling system to me. If the cap cannot vent the pressure fast enough, the next weak link is likely to blow.....

    Steve
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