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SOA Warranty Problems & Questions



  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    VIOC I take it is the oil change place?

  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    Valvoline Instant Oil Change.

    I'm thinking there should be a thread somewhere for people to share their misfortunes with unscrupulous or inept service companies, especially national companies. It might help to get satisfaction if they (VIOC)knew that there was a repository of horror stories that folks could point to for a pattern of behavior.

    There are several places where I have found anecdotes about issues like mine but they require a lot of work and time to find. I even found a place where a Valvoline employee was on a site like this advising someone about how to make sure they were reimbursed by Valvoline after they blew out a transmission. He said that VIOC is scared to death of bad publicity. his line not mine.

    I don't believe in taking advantage of people. But at the same time not everyone can afford the time that I've taken to come to the correct conclusion to this problem. I think perhaps most folks would give up, pay the bill and move on. I know quite often people in my flock are living right on the edge anyway, and this kind of thing can be devastating.
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    Hey, maybe they will give you free oil changes for the life of the car!

    But would you really want THEM to touch your car again??? :P
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,920
    I know quite often people in my flock are living right on the edge anyway, and this kind of thing can be devastating.

    Indeed. That is why it is so important to weigh the costs. Time is valuable, no doubt, but if the cost of a person's time is less than the personal financial impact the problem poses, it is worth every minute to root out the source and seek proper resolution. In this case, if VIOC was the source of the problem, it is certainly just that neither Subaru nor you foot the bill.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    I still have some problems with all of this. Anyone that has ever drained 80w-90 gear oil would know both by the thickness, volume, distinct color, and putrid smell that it was not 5w-30. Then he set the dial on the bulk tank to deliver 4.5 qts, pumped it into your crankcase, yet didn't notice the dipstick indication that there was oil up to his elbows... This guy must have been a real winner!

    I wonder about the missing quart. Probably churned into foam by the crank (splash oiling, anyone?), and sucked thru the PCV into the intake. Your cat won't like that longterm either. Perhaps you should approach Subaru with the question about the status of your new car warranty. Prepare yourself for future problems. Wonder if VOIC wants to buy the car so that you can move on?

    Well, at least it is all coming together for you. Hopefully you also feel better about Subaru as a company, although I think they could have been more helpful and more open with you about what the knew.

    I'd say that you could probably spin all this into one heck of a sermon about men, machines, and community support!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Those places put a funnel up near the drain hole, and probably avoid the fluid as much as they can. If they're uninformed enough to use the wrong drain, I'm sure the thickness and smell would not stop 'em.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,920
    I wonder about the missing quart. Probably churned into foam by the crank (splash oiling, anyone?), and sucked thru the PCV into the intake. Your cat won't like that longterm either. Perhaps you should approach Subaru with the question about the status of your new car warranty. Prepare yourself for future problems. Wonder if VOIC wants to buy the car so that you can move on?

    Great point, Steve. I have a feeling this one is going to haunt the car for a long time to come. Bogey, if you do find yourself keeping the car, make sure that everything is documented.

    I also feel like SOA, or at least representatives of it, do know much more than is being let on. They need to share that information with you so you know what to expect (and what to watch!) in the miles and years to come.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    I'm preaching Sunday on the parable of the Good Samaritan which all of you are!

    Visited with mgr. of VIOC this morning and informed him that I expected reimbursement by next Friday (that ought be interesting). Gave him a list of all the folks who would be receiving packages of information about the events of the past two weeks. Included the AG consumer protection unit, small claims court, DMV division that issues repair shop licenses, BBB, and if that wasn't enough the local news channel.

    I am a man full of loving kindness.........but don't mess with my Outback!! Also informed him that I was holding VIOC responsible for engine work that SOA denies under warranty as the result of the overfill.

    The car comes back home Monday. I'll keep you informed.
  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    I should add that the info packets will go out if he and VIOC don't demonstrate a real sincere sense of urgency.
  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    Yea I like your wording .Don't mess with my outback.
    I would have your dealer give you something on how bad it is to run your engine when over filled . Then "TELL" the oil change place that they will pay for any damage.

    Mike K
  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    Just received a phone call form the local Valvoline magr. They are reimbursing for the entire amount, $2,755. If I can get the final invoice to them by tomorrow they will have a check for me by Wednesday. They will also acknowledge responsibility for repairs that Subaru denies under warranty if that happens.

    I have apologized to dealer for my frustration and a call to SOA is next. I'm still a bit disappointed in the $900. tow bill but perhaps SOA will look at it in their after action report under lesson's learned.

    As for me if I ever have a circumstance like this again it's a rental car with a hitch and a U-Haul flat bed.

    I believe that this conclusion in large measure was because of the help of all of you.

    Thanks Steve, Mike, Mike K and Juice and anyone else who offered valued opinions.

    Pastor Steve
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yay! :)

    Call your insurance and see if you can add tow coverage to your policy. It's a lot cheaper than AAA.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Glad it's working out!

    Uhaul truck + trailer has been more than one track-driver's way of getting his wrecked car home. Heck I know a few hondah guys who have put their civics in the back of a uhaul box-truck to bring it home after crashing it!

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Hey, another Steve! We are all very glad to be of service. Call it a hobby of our to listen, dig and share. And just maybe we will get brownie points with the big guy for being Good Sams! (just kidding...)

    And it works all around. I posted a logic interlock problem I am having with my Honda Odyssey over on a dedicated Odyssey site, and got some suggestions. I relayed it to my dealer, who called me back an hour later after he had talked to the electrical tech to ask for more details. Said it made good sense, and they would check into it. So we keep the chain going!

  • We were planning a trip to Miami for the Super Bowl, and our 2002 3.0 LLBean Outback (48000 mi). We took the car in on Monday to our regular mechanic for a whiny noise, apparently the s-belt. We got an oil change etc. The s-belt was replaced the next day (Tuesday). On Wednesday, there was still some noise, so back it went, but we were told the belt was just new. Thursday AM we drove south. The whining noise was very loud - you could hear it over the radio.

    When we stopped for burgers and gas, I could smell the car. When we went to back out of the burger joint, the car jerked violently. I knew the transmission was shot. It would go forward so we searched quickly for mechanic. We found one. He pulled the differential dipstick and said "It's burnt up". I asked "Does it need fluid?" He said "No, it's got plenty of fluid." He said I might be able to limp it sliowly further (bad idea).

    It died a little later. We had it flatbed towed to the closest approximate dealer (it was a near threeway tie). We were still covered by the powertrain warranty.

    SOA indicated they would help. The Subaru dealer (in Savannah, GA) took a look and said the front diff was burnt up. They rented us a car to continue our trip the next day. Eventually on Friday, we spoke with the dealer. The car repair wouldn't be covered by the warranty.

    Why? Because, according to the mechanic when he drained the differential, only a cup or two of fluid came out. He also didn't see any apparent evidence of leaks.

    Based on those observations, my warranty claim was denied *by SOA regional rep Ed Lucksic.

    The mechanic didn't measure the volume that came out, nor did he retain it. Just eyeballed it in the 30 seconds it takes to drain it.

    The mechanic makes that statement, and, sight-unseen, Subaru denies my claim stating "Given that you had the oil changed recently, we believe your mechanic drained the wrong fluid."

    They *believe* that's what happened. Can they demonstrate that?

    So I spoke with a couple of mechanics (mine in Cary, NC), including the Subaru one, and the Service manager, Mark Naman. I asked our mechanic if he may have pulled the diff plug accidentally. He said that may happen, but if someone did, there wouldn't be *any* oil left in there.

    I posed the question to the Subaru mechanic in the precense of M. Naman - If you pulled the diff plug, how long would it take for it to drain? He said "less than a minute". I continued, "If you pulled the plug accidentally, could you quickly screw it back into prevent it from draining all the way?" He said "No way. By the time you realized it was the wrong drain, it would all be out." So I asked, "Then how can we assign the loss of fluid to my mechanic pulling the wrong plug?" That was met with silence. Mark Naman, the Savannah service manager tells me he relayed that to SOA (Ed Lucksic the regional rep, and Kevin Shumaker, a superviser in NJ). I spoke with Kevin a bunch, and he said "That makes sense, but still denied". We have requested everything in writing.

    When speaking to Kevin and Ed, Ed accused me of "grasping at straws at what might have happened" and that I should "just pay to get the car fixed, or get it off the lot." I asked to speak with Kevin's supervisor, Renee Fricke. She wasn't overly available, but eventually called back stating "It is not possible the oil got out any other way than my mechanic draining it."

    So when I left Savannah a week ago, I was given the estimate of $3022. Today, I received a call that it was now going to cost $4700, with the explanation that when the diff burned up, it caused the transmission to overheat and that now has to be replaced as well. Gears are torn up, etc.

    Now, Naman keeps telling me my mechanic has insurance that will cover this (not unlike VOIC/bogey5's situ), but will it? Why wouldn't they deny his claim?

    Does the warranty work like this: I have to prove it was a mfg failure? Does SOA have to show it was some other cause from neglect, or abuse,etc. The NC Lemon Laws clearly state that under express warranty, that the mfg has the affirmative defense (not sure what that means) if it is shown that the nonconformity is from neglect abuse etc.

    Doesn't "shown" indicate some level of proof other than mere supposition?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    That 1 cup of fluid that came out when they drained it when getting repaired was probably the risidual left when the initial place drained it. The fluid in the diffy is considerable thicker than motor oil. If there is no leak in the diffy and there was little to no fluid in the diffy, why should SOA be saddled with the bill?

    My guess is that the mechanic doing the oil change pulled that plug instead of the oil plug, realized it and put it back in. Figured it was the Automatic trans fluid and the small amount that came out wouldn't be noticed since ATs have 7-10quarts in them.

    I'd let the mechanic that did the oil change be responsible for it as that is the only logical reason for the failure.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,920
    No, this time around, I am not so sure that is the case. Keep in mind here that the "whining" noise was present prior to taking it to the mechanic in question. Granted, how that mechanic came to the conclusion that the "s-belt" - is that the serpentine timing belt? - needed to be changed, I have no idea. So, the failing on the part of the mechanic was to not diagnose the problem correctly and, what is more, to recommend an irrelevant "repair." Sorry, but belts do not whine. They might squeal, but no whining - bearings whine (and sometimes crunch!).

    Second question - why would the later mechanic have said the differential fluid was full if, indeed, it was not? The only basis that person had to judge was the dipstick, so if the dipstick was within the "safe" zone, how could it have ended up nearly empty in the interim without a significant leak having developed?

    I think I would find out exactly what failed in the differential. It sounds to me like it was a bearing - hence the whining sound.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • While that's an interesting observation, mike, why would there be 1-2 cups of residual? That's not how the Subaru mechanic (nor our shp) said it worked. The car had been driven into the shop, so it isn't likely it had time to pool up like that.

    The diff only holds 5 cups. 20-40% is a lot to still be left behind after draining. And any diff oil coating the interior should still be coating the interior unless someone flushes the diff. - which hasn't happened. In addition, the mechanic didn't measure the amount that came out AT ALL> He guessed - I don't think that's enough to invalidate a warranty. If he measured the amount and said only a cup, I might be more sympathetic, but it flowed out. If it took 10 seconds, it's one cup, 30 seconds it is three cups. Should I be responsible for $5k worth of damage off a "guesstimate" by a guy who was barely paying attention?

    I think the burden of proof for Subaru is a bit more than that.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,920
    Agreed. If they admit that there was fluid in there, and yet did not retain the fluid, then that cannot possibly be grounds for refusal. Amazing, really. As routine as warranty claims must be for any auto manufacturer, it is surprising how sloppy they behave.

    I will remember this with my car, and if anything major turns up I will insist on being present for "inspections." Hopefully, though, this incompetence is not as widespread as it would seem from reading the entirely of the thread here! :P
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    due to the temp when it was drained. Don't forget the diffy fluid is a lot like molassas when it's cold, so perhaps he drove it into the subaru dealer and they checked it while it was hot, then it would be flowing. If it sat overnight at the mechanic, it would be ice cold and not flow as easily, leaving that cup worth in there.

    Looking back, if they want to deny the claim you guys are right in that they should have retained the fluid and checked it in a more controlled way.

    Which reminds me that I need to get my front diffy seal done for the 2nd time on my Armada as I keep seeing fluid under it. :(

  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    Have the mechanic drain, measure and save the oil. I've learned some in the past few weeks IE an analysis of the oil can tell if there are more than one brand. If the engine was grossly overfilled that would be a good indicator of the mechanic draining the diff. That's what happened to mine. Sounds like a similar deal.
  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    I didn't make myself very clear. Have the Subaru dealer measure the engine oil. Mine was more than three quarts over full, which is what convinced VIOC, get a written report confirming the overfill to take to your mechanic.

    Then go back to your regular mechanic and tell him he drained the wrong thing during the oil change. That is not suggest that the whining noise wasn't the differential in the first place but he still misdiagnosed. If your mechanic has any ability maybe he'll repair the car since Subaru won't cover it. Since they won't it doesn't seem to me that it ought to matter to them where you take it.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,920
    The second time? Mike, you have to go easy on that Armada. It is not as tough as your Subie racers..... :P
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Actually it was leaking the day I brought it home, probably because it was sitting on the dealers lot for 6 months before I bought it, not being driven. We initially thought it was the seal weaping/settling. I'll bring it in and have them replace it though. I'm fairly easy on the Armada actually. I only took it offroad 1x.

  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    Picked up a check today from VIOC for the full amount of repair,rental car, tow charges, refund for the oil change and the gear oil that I had to put in.

    Lessons learned?

    1. put everything in writing
    2. choose your oil change place carefully
    3. stand your ground
    4. hold people accountable
    5. don't depend on help from SOA customer service
    6. ask lots of question and..............
    7. turn to the folks at this site for advice and expertise
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,920
    Wonderful, Steve! It does not get any better than that (other than not having to go through it at all!) - a job well done on your part. Congratulations, and hopefully many years of trouble-free motoring ahead!

    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I wonder if anyone at SOA knows there are people like me out there reading these forums? By *like me*, I mean someone with 30 grand in the bank earmarked for a new car and a list of potential vehicles. Then I get to this thread and read about people like Ed Lucksic, at which point I pull out my pen and draw a big red line through Subaru Outback before moving on to the next vehicle. Way to go Ed, you saved the company a few bucks but cost them untold thousands in lost sales. Does the phrase "Penny wise, pound foolish" mean anything to you?
  • Wow, one isolated story and you're ready to write off every single car made by Subaru?

    Better log off Edmunds immediately -- because you'll find a similar story here for every single manufacturer, and if you hold true to your "one strike and you're out" rule, you'll be left with 30K to spend on a hot-air balloon or pack mules or some other form of alternative transportation.

    Good luck.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I agree with smitty, if you plan to write any car company off for 1 issue you read online, then you'll be earning interest on that 30k forever.

This discussion has been closed.