Forester brake problems and warranty concerns

forester02caforester02ca Member Posts: 3
Please bear with me, I am not a mechanic and I do not have the first clue about cars and thus I could use some advice. My husband is deployed and I was once again forced to deal with the skuzzy service department at the dealership where I bought my Forester.

History: Bought the car last December after wanting one for a while, doing all the research and falling in love after test-driving the car. We got a terrific deal and were satisfied with the whole experience...until I started to deal with the service department. A few deployments ago, the car needed its first oil change and with hubby out of town (he usually does it), I took it to the dealership. I also had them install the outlets to charge my cell phone, for which they charged me an arm and a leg for 30 minutes of work. Anyhow, hubby comes home early and checks out the work they did on the car and discovers they put in one quart of oil too many! I call them and they are smiles and apologies. I bring it and am on my way in 20 minutes. However, upon pulling my car into the garage that evening the kids and I are treated to the smell of burning oil because they dripped it all over underneath when draining out the excess. I call them back and complain while hubby cleans it up. A few months later, hubby is checking the fluids and notices aluminum shavings in the antifreeze! Again, we call the dealership and they say bring it in and so we drive over there and saw a mechanic. The mechanic confirmed they were aluminum shavings but could explain how they got there and agreed with hubby that the best plan of action was to document the finding and flush the cooling system. Hubby makes an appointment and brings it, they REFUSE to flush it, hubby insisted it be documented, and we put it in our records as well.

This brings us up to date. I commute to school, but most of the driving is freeway and thus not a lot of stop and go, as if it mattered. I started to notice, on the freeway, that when I stepped on the brakes the car shuddered and the steering wheel shimmied. I told hubby who said it was probably a warped rotor and that it would have to go in yet again. I debated long and hard over this, eventually calling another authorized Subaru dealership and made an appointment. The problem is the dealership is over an hour and half away, hubby is gone and finals are's just too darn inconvenient to drive it that I called and expressed my concerns and lack of confidence and was "assured" this it they'd get it right. I dropped the car off and did not hear from them for HOURS and then it was to tell me there was a problem, it was with the rotors and the charge was $100 to fix it. I was incredulous! The car is a 2002 and under warranty so this should have been covered, right?

They told me that it was due to "normal wear and tear". Which I think is a total load of bunk and so does hubby who I emailed about the entire situation. I called them back and started to question the service guy who stood fast to his claims that this was a fee service and only after I asked him how much the labor was brought the price down to $75 because "he knew he had me in a jam". I do not have any background at all with this sort of thing, but I know how I drive and I can say with all certainty this isn't caused by the way I drive. My last car got its first brake change at 6 years and even then it did not really need it (hubby did it), it was done because the car had over 65K on it.

I know this was much longer than it needed to be and for that I apologize, but I would appreciate any insight, advice or feedback from someone with a similar experience. At this point I am looking at calling Subaru on Monday morning and getting their take on it and IF they say it sounds wrong to them too, calling the dealership and telling them I am planning on reporting them to the BBB.


  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    have at the brake repair?

    What was done about the shavings in the coolant?

    USAF, 10 years - I understand deployment!
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    May I suggest that you immediately go to the "base" where your husband is assigned and report this matter to the Judge Advocate General Office. And do cooperate with zueslewis. He is a legal professional in the area of automotive disputes.
  • forester02caforester02ca Member Posts: 3
    The car, just now, has 15k on it.
  • forester02caforester02ca Member Posts: 3
    Oh, sorry and nothing was done about the shavings, even though their mechanic confirmed it. They refused to flush the cooling system when hubby brought it in for the appointment they had him make and it should be documented in their file. I know it's in ours!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    other than to "blacklist" the dealer if they aren't doiing right by military personnel and their families.

    I've had several businesses blacklisted while on active duty for cheating or ripping off GIs and their families.

    In reference to the mileage, all manufacturers honor a 12 month/12,000 miles adjustment period and can easily make exceptions for a few hundred or thousand miles - thus covering the machining of the brake rotors.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    ...pretty callous. I can assure you that no business in a military community wants to get a negative reputation among service people and their families and friends. Worst of all, if a facility commanding officer should place a business off limits, they really suffer. In this time of heightened attention to military people and the cause at hand, and husbands going on deployments leaving their wives at home to fend for themselves-- you get the picture, I'm sure. During MY OWN career in the service, I had the privilege to pursue similar situations with local merchants on the behalf of personnel in my division. I got results. I'll retract my former suggestion and ask forester02ca to approach her husband's local work unit for assistance in this matter. The automobile dealer may be able to see the light if offered a little guidance by a ranking individual who dislikes seeing unnecessary hardship wrought upon the family of his deployed American warriors... do I make myself perfectly clear?
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    This is from the 2001 Subaru Forrester Warranty information system, I haven't found the info for the 2002, but am assuming it is the same.
    I will try and research more into it for you.

    The following coverages apply to 2001MY vehicles. These warranties are subject to the terms and conditions defined in the Subaru Warranty Statements.

    ^ Basic New Car Limited Warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first.

    ^ Adjustment Coverage - 3 years or 36,000 miles*, whichever occurs first. Adjustment of applicable components may only be performed 1 time under the terms of this coverage.

    ^ Wear Item Warranty - 3 years or 36,000 miles*, whichever occurs first. Items covered are remote transmitter batteries, brake pad and shoe linings, clutch disk linings and wiper blades.

    ^ Powertrain Limited Warranty - 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever occurs first.

    OEM pricing on parts.
    Front Rotor 26310AA092 $69.95
    Rear Rotor 26310AA051 $69.95
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    under the 3/36 wear item warranty.

    Fleetwood - I agree completely and my term "blacklisting" refers to exactly what you're talking about.

    I, personally, would get my unit commander or first sergeant (or other service equivalent) involved ASAP, just as a wake up call to the dealership.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    My first thought should have been second-- getting the military lawyers into the "interpretation" phase of the warranty coverage, etc, so that the dealer understands he has been caught in the headlights!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    when I was stationed at Dyess AFB (Abilene, TX) involving a very large private shop and a young black man I worked with (a fellow SP).

    He had taken his very nice Saab 900 (bought new while stationed in Germany) into a place called "The Pit Stop", a private garage that did everything from oil changes to race car motors. They did a bunch of business with Air Force base personnel, usually working on 10-20 military folk's cars each day.

    After getting the work done, his brake still weren't "right", so he called, then brought the car by my house on base. I pulled the left front and right front wheels - they had charged him $980.00 for brake work, including replacing all four rotors, all four calipers (loaded) and front brake lines. Ends up, they only replaced the front pads, never touched the rears except to go over the rotors with an abrasion tool (they were NOT machined) and they did the same thing to the front rotors.

    When my friend went to the shop after I looked at the car, they shouted racial slurs at him and told him to go away or they'd shoot him because they don't like [black people] in the military.

    I wrote a letter of witness, he took it to base legal the next day. Base leagl contacted the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, who sent an independent investigator (a dealership shop foreman) who verified everything I had stated.

    The shop was denied access to military personnel and drummed out of the Chamber of Commerce. It cost them a heckuva lot more than $900.00.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Write a letter to SoA and have it notorized. There, it's documented whether they like it or not.

    The oil overfill is not a big deal, the boxer is tolerant of higher levels of oil. You may be smelling the undercoating burning off, that's normal.

    The metal shavings in the cooling system are a concern, though. Call 800-SUBARU3 and ask what they want to do about it. A flush, at the very minimum.

    The brakes should be covered. 15k is way too early to need new rotors. I'd talk to the CSR at the 800 number about that, too.

    But one important tip - try not to be adversarial. The CSR is on your side and will fight with the dealer to get things done for you for free.

    Then I'd find a new dealer. Whew. That one is truly awful.

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    so many otherwise nice people run into the dealer with their flak vest and helmet looking for combat.

    The worst case scenario is when another dealer really annoys someone and they go to another place to unload. The second place doesn't deserve the flak and doesn't know what the problem is, if there is one.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I have a good relationship with my dealer. I send references, call just to chat, test drive just for fun, stop by to pick up brochures. When I need service and ask for something, they don't blink.

    We lost a little trim piece from the trunk of the Legacy, not sure how, but my kid plays back there some times when its parked. They ordered the part and replaced it at no cost, no questions asked.

    Technically, that was not a warranty item. We lost it, we should have paid. So yeah, a friendly approach doesn't hurt.

    Reminds me - I have to go pick up that trim piece!

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