Mechanic gave me a bad part - need advice

mdlegacyownermdlegacyowner Member Posts: 5
edited October 2014 in Subaru
Hello, I am in need of advice! My car's ignition coil failed a year and a half ago and was replaced. A few week's ago I started having the same misfiring problems, plus check engine light on and cruise control light flickering, took it to a different mechanic (my regular mechanic), who did a bunch of stuff that didn't fix the problem. So then I took it back to the first mechanic, who told me that the coil they put in failed, and they replaced it with free labor, but charged me for the new part from a different manufacturer. I asked if the catalytic converter was damaged and they said no, those are hardy and will be fine. Now the car is firing correctly it seems (full power, no shaking/stalling), but the check engine light came back on and the cruise is flickering (which always starts simultaneously). Took it back to the shop and they say it needs a new cat and maybe new O2 sensors ($700-$1300 total), but that this is unrelated to the misfiring, as is the cruise flashing. It's obviously ridiculous for them to tell me the cat dying right now is just a coincidence. And what about the cruise flashing? Does anyone have any ideas for what might be going on? And shouldn't they be more responsible for paying for all of this extra damage from their having put in a bum part in the first place? Any help is appreciated.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    How old is this car? How many miles on it?
  • mdlegacyownermdlegacyowner Member Posts: 5
    It's a 2005, 90K miles. After thinking today, I think I'll just have my regular mechanic change the cat but I still wish I knew why the cruise light was flickering when the check engine light comes on. I haven't had a chance to test if the cruise is still working, though. Thanks for looking at my message.
  • mdlegacyownermdlegacyowner Member Posts: 5
    Never mind I just read that the cruise is disabled whenever the Check Engine light is on so it flickers.
  • mdlegacyownermdlegacyowner Member Posts: 5
    Anyone know how to delete this thread? I don't want to waste anyone's time reading it.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Well, I learned something new - never heard about the cruise control being disabled when the CEL comes on. Can't remember the CEL ever coming on driving my old Outback, but I used the cruise on it a lot.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Ok, so you are out of Federal Emissions warranty, which is 80K---just wanted to check. And yes, a catalytic could go bad at 90,000 miles.
  • mdlegacyownermdlegacyowner Member Posts: 5
    Ok, thanks everyone!
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,668
    Misfires damage catalytic convertors, that's why the check engine light flashes when the system detects a bad misfire. Just the fact that you had a coil fail the first time was easily enough to seriously degrade the convertor.

    So then you had a second event and you went to someone else and we don't know what kind of time passed between when the coil failed and when you took it back to the shop, but the whole time that it was down (which may have been caused by aged plugs and wires and was damaged, not defective) the misfire would have been further damaging the catalysts.

    Had you of gone to the shop that could diagnose and repair this the first time they might have been able to prevent the subsequent failure, or at least had proof for why the coil failed if it was damaged by the plugs and wires. By the time they would have gotten to see it that there is little doubt that the codes had been cleared at least once if not several times and there would have been no history for the tech to see in order to tell you if there was an O2 sensor or catalyst issue already or not. Part of the problem here is the misfire blocks the O2 sensor and catalyst tests from running, that's why the codes don't show up until after the misfiring condition is resolved.

    From the looks of things they bent over backwards to help you out only for that to not earn all of your business. Even worse is for you to somehow expect that they would be responsible for the catalyst failure. They are not responsible for the catalyst failure, that is just something that happens. You are responsible for the choices that you make regarding maintaining your car. If enough people choose as you have the shop that actually fixed your car will disappear and the mechanic that couldn't will still be in business. There's a lot more money in tossing parts than there is in honesty and integrity.

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