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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068

    The schedule is available on-line @

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


    edit: I checked, and it is available in the main website

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

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

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


  • 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.

  • 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

    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)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
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