(Mis)Adventure: My Subaru Nightmare Chapter Five

Before I start this post I want to say something. I really like this car. The size, the layout, the driver position, driver visibility, size of the sunroof, ground clearance, real all-wheel-drive, etc. If you want a car like this there aren’t many options, which is what really makes this story sting.

Okay, now I am truly confused. My car is in “oil burn protocol,” so I thought I should check the oil. The dipstick has two holes. One to show a full level the other to show low. I noticed I had MORE oil than normal. As you can see in the image, the oil level is a good inch above the “full” level of the second hole. Hmmmm. Why is this? Could it have something to do with the “oil burn protocol?” Considering my experience with Subaru so far my first thought was “Oh, they overfilled it so when I brought it back in 1200 miles it would be less likely to show it was burning oil.” And then I thought, “There is no way they would be trying to get away with that.” So I waited a day, drove it again, checked the oil again and got the same reading. (I HAVE SINCE MOVED TO A NEW DEALER AND STARTING THE OIL BURN TEST OVER AS I TOTALLY DON’T TRUST THE ORIGINAL DEALER.

Please help me understand something. What good does it do me to keep returning my car to the Subaru dealership? What good does it do me to NOT have my brand new car? What benefit will come to me for enduring this? My interaction with Subaru leads me to believe that they believe there is some sort of reward for me in the end? Please Subaru America….explain that one to me. Is the reward that I no longer have a Subaru? If the car ends up being a “buyback” is that a benefit for me? Does that mean I get the last two months of my life back? The breakdowns, the towing, the bumming rides around town while my car is in the shop, again and again. Cancelling trips? Is this somehow better than having a functioning vehicle?

I worked my ass off, made the money to buy a vehicle, did the research,(didn’t know about manual transmissions and oil burn.) landed on Subaru and got a lemon. It happens. When in the first conversation after it was towed back to the dealer I hear both “oil burn protocol,” and “new motor replacement,” you KNOW this is a known issue. For someone to casually toss around the idea that replacing the motor is a common and totally normal course of action is simply astounding.

But then to abandon the owner is truly inexplicable.
On a side note, a friend attended the auto show in Washington and approached Subaru about my situation. They took my number and email and my friend was told “We are going to contact him.” So far, nada. In fact, Subaru America has done nothing other than tell me I have to keep my car in “oil burning protocol” for another 1200 miles. Because their service department couldn’t or wouldn’t take the time to diagnose the engine stutter they feel my car is entirely fine. There is a total disconnect between dealerships and Subaru America. Dealer people keep telling me to contact Subaru corporate but don’t seem to realize corporate is walled off from the customer.

And remember, there are three other issues with the car. They are more than happy to sell me another Forster, an automatic, but it’s another 5-7k out of my pocket. I said “So let me get this straight. You sold me a lemon, refused to stand behind it, now you want me to give you more money?” (According to Subaru there is nothing wrong with my car. They play this game by saying they can’t diagnose the problem, so until it gets REALLY serious they do nothing. My bringing it to the dealer again and again must be because I have nothing better to do.)

And how does all this tie back into my photography? It means all those day trips I had received approval for are officially on hold. NO new work until this is resolved. I’m in a perpetual holding pattern.

Look, I’m still thinking positive. I think Subaru will eventually do the right thing, and if and when that day comes, I will be able to include that act as part of this story. Then I can get back to work.

10 Comments on “(Mis)Adventure: My Subaru Nightmare Chapter Five”

  1. Daniel, I live in the U.K. and your tale of woe has reached this far at least. I wonder just how far around the world this story has travelled? It sure isn’t good for Subaru. Hope you get mobile soon.

    Mike.

    1. Mike,
      They don’t care. The dealer has their protocols that ensure warranty work is kept to a minimum. Subaru corporate falls back in line behind the dealers and says, “Hey, can’t help you.” “Stay in protocol,” and then add a pathetic, “But we will monitor your case.” These cars are shit unless you drive 8000 miles a year and lease. It’s no wonder the Subaru warranty is only 60,000 miles. All the issues I’m having are KNOWN issues. The only thing a customer can do is hope to get a “good one.”

  2. So … this might be taking it too far but let me plant the seed in your brain … because, why not?

    Subaru keeps overfilling your oil so your car never shows the problem by the time you get back to the dealership. Ok, take some oil out of the engine, drive it till it burns to the ground and then tell them “I told you so”. Problem proven. Car replacement. Done.

    I know I know, the idea is a bit barbaric; but in Spain there is a saying “a grandes males, grandes remedios”. So F it.

    1. Jim,
      That lawsuit is from 2014, and yes, they lost. The claimed normal oil consumption but it was way beyond that. I’m going to do a post for every mile I’m in
      “oil burning protocol.” That’s 1200 tweets, posts, notes, letters, etc.

    1. Mike,
      That is what Subaru wants. They want anyone with these known problems to go away, give up, trade in, etc. I’m going to post about the 1200 mile oil protocol. I’m thinking 1200 tweets, one for each mile.

  3. I did not mean to sound flippant with the ‘Better call Saul’ comment, it’s just that I think (based on my own experience), that you won’t get very far unless you attck those sleeze-bags methodically and aggressively. And the only legit way I know how to do that in the US is through a ruthless attorney. All the car people care about is money – whatever causes them to make more or lose less is what will spur them to action. Unfortunately, it will cost you more money upfront to deal with it, but in the long-haul you could break even or come out ahead. Before you put too many more miles on it, you might consider having a very reputable mechanic diagnose the problem as a counter to the Subaru mechanics lack of diagnosis (who appears to have a rather large conflict of interest).

    Good luck!

    1. Hey Chris,

      I’ve got two Lemon Law Attorneys in the loop. Subaru plays games by saying they “can’t diagnose” anything because they know that as soon as I have three repair orders I’m going to Lemon Law the shit out of them. So, they run diagnostic, which unless your engine is on the ground, comes back okay, they just kick the car back to you and say “Sorry, we can’t find anything.” This way they issue a service order and not a repair order. The engine stutter, which I felt the first time I drove the car, is still happening and they haven’t even tried to diagnose it. The car sat for the last two weeks, drove it yesterday….engine stutter.

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