2001 Subaru Clutch Question

Hello, I have a 2001 Subaru Outback with the 5 speed manual transmission. About 6 months ago the clutch went out and we had it replaced. We did not go to a professional shop and instead used a friend of my father-in-law who used to be a mechanic. Last weekend I drove the car on the beach to go fishing and got the car stuck in the sand. After 2 attempts to get unstuck the clutch started smoking and blew out. I only attempted to get unstuck 2 times and was not “rallying” the engine hard. I realized I was good and stuck and stopped because I didn’t want to spin the tires and dig myself so deep I couldn’t get towed out. My question is this; what are the chances that a brand new clutch would blow after 6 months? The car is used mainly to drive on paved roads to and from work and the grocery store. Both my wife and I have driven manual transmission cars for years and we don’t ride the clutch. It goes through the usual wear and tear of everyday driving and yet, one incident that requires a little beef from the clutch and it blows? I want the guy that put it in to replace the clutch with a new one for no charge, but I need to know if I have cause to ask that or if I’m SOL? Thank you. This forum has always steered my right before and this is probably my lesson to use a qualified mechanic at a licensed shop in the future.

The chance of losing the clutch while stuck in sand is always there. That’s heavy work for an AWD car. If I were the mechanic I would have to turn down the free clutch job. Sometimes the clutch survives anything. I saw a granite property monument pulled out by an old Outback looking Subaru last year and it’s still going. We smelled it for a few minutes. It’s all about how bad your luck is that day.

Thanks for the response. I’m having a hard time coming to terms with that because I really didn’t try very hard to get unstuck. There were plenty of people on the beach that could have towed my out and I didn’t want to bury myself deeper by spinning the tires. I know that beach driving can be hard on a clutch, but it was the first time I’d done it with this new clutch. I’m resigning myself to paying for the work but I can’t get the bitter taste out of my mouth. One of the reasons we went with the Subaru is because it should be able to handle a day on the beach.

I would not be so quick to lay the blame on Subaru for this problem. Subaru had nothing to do with it.

It’s impossible to say whether getting stuck had anything to do with the current problem and it’s also impossible to say whether or not the new clutch was installed and adjusted correctly.

It could be that the clutch was a bit iffy before you got stuck and getting stuck simply finished it off.

From a mechanic viewpoint, they would likely say that after 6 months of use and hearing that you tried to unstick the car that any clutch problem would be on you. I’m not saying that position is right or wrong; only that it’s the way it would be looked at.

Oh, I love Subarus. I don’t think that the problem is with Subaru. My contention is that the “mechanic” did not do a very good job putting the new clutch in. I am coming to the conclusion that there is no way to really prove that and I am going to have to foot the bill for putting another clutch in. It still leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I am a little frustrated that I am having to replace the clutch for a second time in less than a year. I appreciate your replies. This forum has always steered me straight.

There are a number of things that could have caused a premature clutch failure and it may never be known now what happened.

Changing disc only/no pressure plate, worn pilot bearing, warped or burned flywheel, improper clutch adjustment after the clutch install, oil leakage onto the disc due to a seal, etc are some of the possibilities.