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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    if you have an aftermarket alarm or stereo, that is the electrician's first stop!

    Could just be a bad battery, and that should be under warranty, so have them replace it and see if the problems persists.

    They are right about one thing...if you are driving your car once a week or less, you may want to think about a trickle charger, and if not, each time you drive it, you should be sure to run it for 5-10 minutes at least, so that it can "recover" from the long period of inactivity and charge back up.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Have you changed your battery yet? If not, I think you have a bad battery. Your vehicle should not be dead after sitting around for a few days. The OE battery is pretty weak so if you can't get it replaced under warranty, it is well worth going out and buying an aftermarket one.

    Personally, I'd try and resolve issues with the dealer and SOA before going through something like the Lemon Law. If the dealer isn't helpful, give Subaru a call at 1-800-SUBARU3 and set up a case.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,780
    Very good question. I will see if any of my chemist friends here at work can fill in anything.

    My understanding is that methanol is made from wood pulp, ethanol from grains (corn, etc). I am not sure what the source is for propanol (or its isomers - isopropyl), but it's much higher cost indicates it must be made from something not as common as trees or corn.

    Methyl (cheap gas dryer) got a bad rap as it damaged rubber seals and killed electric fuel pumps and injectors. IIRC, car makers addressed some of that by switching from rubbers to silicon and viton (?) seals. Isopropyl is considered to be pretty safe to use. I have never seen ethanol sold outside of a fuel mix. Maybe it doesn't scavenge water well on its own???

    Ethanol (C2H5OH) functions like MTBE - as an oxygen/hydrogen source, although as you can see, there is not much oxygen per molecule. In the USA it is typically used in less than 10% concentration with no ill effect. I think Brazil uses a higher concentration "GASAHOL" and mfgrs had to battle severe corrosion problems. Now that MTBE is on the 'bogy' list, I wonder if ethanol will reappear across the country??

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    All of the gas pumps in the SE Wisconsin area that is deemed part of the Chicago Metropolitan area have 'up to 10% ethanol added for cleaner fuel'. All gas grades as well.

  • joybelljoybell Posts: 275
    I have to let my faithfull 1993 Loyale wagon go for scrap soon because of rust preforation. It was rustproofed at the dealer when bought new in November 1992. Other than the rust, it is mechanically A1. I will be getting a new Impreza in May (new model), and this time want to be able to keep the body intact as long as it is mechanically sound. I make less than 10,000kms a year so the body will always "go" first. What kind of rustproofing treatment can you recommend for my new Impreza? Is the steel used any better than that used in early Subarus. My Chaser rusted out before it wore out too. I am told that Subaru used to use recyled steel, like Datsun, and that's why they are prone to rust.
  • timo43timo43 Posts: 23
    Hi-- have read through all the postings, and am very pleased that this excellent resource exist. Thank you to the owners and experts.
    Just picked up our new 03 Forester (quite a switch from my old 85 Tercel!). One small thing that has me only slightly concerned: at about 27 kilometers the check engine light went on. I phoned the service manager, and he assured me this meant nothing... that it was not uncommon in a new car. He said if it did not go out within a week or so, to bring it in. It did indeed go out at about 70 kilometers. So, is he right? Should I ignore that the light went on?
  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    You will likely get different views on the rust subject. We just discussed this and someone (?) mentioned a yearly oil treatment that they find very effective. My opinion is that today's cars are much less likely to rust due to better manufacturing (double sided galvanized steel, drainage, etc) and frequent washing and flushing of the undercarriage is sufficient. Of course, Lower NY doesn't always have the toughest winters.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Ethanol is the replacement oxygenate here in CA now that MTBE is out.

    I second Greg's opinion about rust and today's cars, especially Subies. I believe they are far less prone to rusting compared to vehicles a decade ago. Rustproofing often is a way for the dealer to just fatten their profit margins. In addition, I've heard that the "rustproofing" is often a sparse coating of material that doesn't really protect the chassis anyway.

    Anyone know when Subaru started getting into double-galvanized steel?

  • nine51nine51 Posts: 78
    A couple of sugestions:
    1 - make sure your gas cap is tight. It has a wratchet type closure and you should make it click a couple of times when you close it.

    2 - don't short cycle the engine, i.e. don't start it cold, back out of the garage and shut it off. It runs rich and can foul the O2 sensor. Happened on my 96 OBS a couple of times and cleared up after a few miles.

    I've read that you can re-set the light by disconnecting the battery for a few minutes. I've never tried it FWIW.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    As long as the light isn't flashing, it's something minor. The most common culprit is a loose gas cap.

    The light should go out on it's own after a few ignition cycles. Just tell the dealer the light was on the next time you're in for service and they can read the error code using special tools.

    If it doesn't go out on, follow the dealer's advice and set up and appointment. Again, as long as it's not flashing, it's probably a minor item.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,780
    After I posted this morning, I suddenly had a good laugh about why they sell methanol and isopropanol and not ethanol dry gas...

    Picture the scenario: Man walks into auto parts store and buys ethanol gas treatment. Pours half into tank, then drinks the remaining 6 ounces. Now with a blood alcohol level approaching 0.20, he crashes the car!!! Maybe it is not such a good idea....

  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    Re: cploeg's battery problem. Its a battery, not rocket science. Let's see - battery dead after not being used a week. Well, if the battery's not holding charge, maybe there's a defective electrical device draining it slowly over time. All the dealer has to do is put a meter that measures current in series with the battery, then he can measure the current draw and find out if its within limits. I have to believe Subaru has a spec for this. Some current draw is valid, as there's a so much electronic stuff in car now that stays powered all the time. But still, Subaru should have a number for that. If the current is too high he might have a problem finding it, but that should be his problem, not yours.
    If he says he's done that, either the alternator is defective and won't charge the battery properly, the belt is too loose or the battery needs to be replaced at Subaru's expense.
    A good point raised by someone else was whether or not there was any aftermarket equipment installed in the car. This is a favorite "blame game" item.

    I used to leave my Merc Sable parked in the driveway for 2 months plus in the winter when I was travelling and never had a problem
    Nor should you.
    Just another 2 cents
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,780
    Pat (Hondafriek) who lives in the 'great white north' (Canada) told us about it.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Actually that's not too far off -- I've heard urban legends that people sometimes drink Listerene for it's ethanol content.

  • didn't kitty dukakis do something like that ;)
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    now THERE's a name from the past!!!

  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    Tomorrow, I'll be arriving home after a month long vacation. My '97 Legacy has been sitting in a freezing N. Idaho garage (about 100 miles from the Canadian border) this entire time. If it does not start as normal after all that time I'll be surprised. We've been vacationing like this for 10 years and in all that time I've never had a car not start after sitting in a winter garage. The 10 year old LandCruiser sitting next to it will also fire on the first crank.

    It's true that a vehicle only used for a short trip will not get a chance to recharge the energy expended to crank the car up, but if you park a properly charged battery it should not be a problem to start after a measly week. I'd contact SOA and ask for a battery replacement under warranty. Some area auto parts stores also offer free battery checking which tell you if it is properly holding the charge.

  • hsubhsub Posts: 6
    Thanks to everyone for the your experience with the Dunlops. Given our desire not to hassle with doing a summer/winter change and realizing that there is some compromise with all-seasons, we'll go with the Sport A2s.

    Around Rochester NY the lowest price for these in 225/60R16 seems to be at Dunn Tire at around $120 incl balancing.

    Thanks again.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Bat and I just drove through there last Friday!!!

  • joybelljoybell Posts: 275
    Yes,Pat (Hondafriek) did mention oil treatment and I checked around this weekend. I found two local garages that do this, using two different oils. One of them is vaseline based and very "runny", the other I don't remember. Then I was talking to a neighbour who told me to be very carefull about which product to use. He told me a "disaster story" about a rust proofing oil that desolved the seals between the steel body parts of a car! I just want to make sure that I use the "right oil"! Also, is it worth it to have the dealer rust proof with their own product if I am going to use the oil? Will their rustproofing prevent the oil from reaching the nooks and crannys? I guess I wasn't clear in my first quest for information!
  • timo43timo43 Posts: 23
    Thanks for your help / reassurance. Just a note (should have said this before). The sales person gave a pretty good going over and did mention that the gas cap had to be well secured (and also not to overfill the tank), so that was certain not to have been the reason (heard him click it about seven clicks-- and also double checked when the light went on). Anyway, it (the light) did go off, so that is good, and will just hope it was something to do with the car having been sitting in the lot or moisture or something minor. Again, thank you for taking the time to respond to my concerns. PS, so far really think this is a Wonderful vehicle.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,780
    TireRack lists them for about $80 each, but by the time you add in shipping and mounting at one of their select local dealers, you are probably over $110. At this point it is probably a wash.

  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    Just to put in my .02, as Paisan pointed out I did the 1300+ trip with him through all kinds of weather this past weekend. I have about 6000 miles on them and I have to say they handled nicely. I had no problems in any of the snow, and was able to keep up with Paisan with no problems (except for the 130-140 run:-)-no way I will try that in my OB).

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    So, are the SP5000 worth the extra $$ as an all-season tire for daily driving?

    (Shopping for tires for his Forester)
  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    Just a quick note-after this weekends trip I would recommend getting the Subaru Winter Wiper Blades, at least for the front. I had the regular blades (only 1 month old) and they stunk in the heavy, wet snow. They would ice up continuously.

    Next Subie must have the All Weather Package. I wonder how hard it is to add the heated side view mirrors?

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Mark, we put Bosch refills into our cars and they're great. No problems in the snow, including our drive back from Pittsburgh in the snow last Sunday night. I'll probably switch to those on the WRX when it's time.

  • hsubhsub Posts: 6
    In my size, 225/60R16, TireRack currently lists them at $92 - and as you say that's without mounting, balancing, valves & shipping - not to speak of hassle. So going to a retailer seems to make sense.

    My feeling is that selling prices for these tires probably have risen since Consumer Reports gave them a good writeup a few months ago.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    If you do a lot of cornering in dry, go with the 5000s, the A2s though are excellent tires as well and a bit cheaper.

  • hsubhsub Posts: 6
    We're pretty tame drivers.

    And with our 6 month winters up here, I thought we needed the extra snow/ice traction.
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