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2006 Subaru Forester Warranty

Friend bought car from private party, 42k miles now. Oil light came on on freeway, she pulled off added oil, her mechanic says engine is toast. He told her warranty is not transferable and that problem was her fault because she was 1000 miles overdue for an oil change. Does this seem reasonable?



No not all.

1000 miles over what interval?

Your friend should visit the Subaru dealer and go from there.

The mechanic is interested in the work installing an engine and profit on the replacement motor.

You might provide some more information.
Bought the car when?
Has 42k miles now. How many when purchased?
Towed in?
Engine rattle?
This private seller the original owner?

Warranty covers factory defects and workmanship; it does not cover lack of maintenance issues, failure to check the oil level, and things like that.

So yes, it’s quite possible any warranty is history and your friend may have now found out why this private party opted to dump the car off on someone else.

We don’t have the whole story here. How much oil was needed? Did the light go off after she added it? If not, did she keep driving anyway?

Thanks for input, still gathering info, interval between oil changes to follow soon.
Bought in 2007 from original owner with approx 30k miles
Came off freeway quickly when light went on, bought oil, light went off, made noise, drove 1/2 mile and stopped, towed to shop.

“Came off freeway quickly when light went on”

Well, at least we now know how and why the engine was trashed.

OP–Please tell your friend that when the oil pressure warning light comes on, the only appropriate thing to do is to immediately steer toward the shoulder, shut down the engine once you are on the shoulder, and call for a tow (or in this case, a flatbed). Driving a car to the next freeway exit while there is apparently low oil pressure is just about the best way to destroy an engine.

And, no–the warranty does not cover this type of negligence, even if she had changed the oil on schedule.

There is the remaining question of why the engine developed low oil pressure, and the probable answer is poor maintenance, i.e.–extended periods of time between oil changes and/or not checking the dipstick between oil changes.

Oil pumps rarely fail, even on older cars, and in a car with only 42k miles on the odometer, it is really unlikely that the oil pump failed, so that points in the likely direction of poor maintenance by the previous owner and/or the present owner.

There is a possible clue in the fact that your friend apparently drove the car only 12k miles in 3 years. In a case like that, the car is supposed to be maintained according to the Severe Service maintenance schedule, rather than the “normal” maintenance schedule. If she adhered to the “normal” maintenance schedule of changing the oil every 7,500 miles, that could mean that she changed the oil approximately every 22-23 months or so, and that is an excellent way to build up a huge amount of sludge in the engine.

If she did not adhere to the Severe Service schedule, that is the likely source of the problem. If she was “1,000 miles overdue for an oil change”, with an annual mileage of only 4k miles, that means she probably drove the car for an additional 3 months before changing the oil, meaning it is possible that the oil had been in the crankcase for over 2 years. Was the dipstick ever checked between oil changes?

How about posting information regarding how often she changed the oil–in terms of both elapsed time and odometer mileage?

BS on warranty not covering damage to engine if you drive it with the light on for a period. Immediate pull over is not always safe or prudent.

Again without a dealer looking at engine and likely Subaru authorizing a tear down we will never know the root cause of failure.

I just checked the details on Subaru’s Severe Service maintenance schedule, and I found that it would require the oil to be changed at least 3 times per year.

Did the OP’s friend follow that schedule for the three years that she owned this vehicle?

I’m in agreement with VDCdriver and my gut feeling is that this problem was caused by failure to raise the hood and inspect the oil level; something which has popped up here a number of times lately.

The friend has had the car for 12k miles and who knows how often, if ever, the oil was changed by the seller of this car.
Think about that. Owned for 3 years and only put 12k miles on the car for an average of 4k miles a year? This car is a prime candidate for oil sludging or coking.

For what it’s worth, I’ve had to replace several Subaru engines that were horribly sludged or coked and these vehicles had far fewer than 42k miles on them. One had about 28k, another had 20k miles, etc.
The common denominator? Failure to change the oil regularly and sludging/coking. These people also screamed bloody murder for warranty too. They also wasted their breath.

As to an oil pump failure I’ll say that I have yet to see an oil pump that died on its own. The bad ones were done in by maintenance habits; not a warrantable issue.

One more piece of information is needed. How many miles or months had elapsed since the oil level was checked? Modern lore is to not check the oil level and expect the level to remain adequate until the next oil change. So if the oil change mileage period is 7.5k or even 4k, it is possible for a good running engine to consume its entire sump of oil. Unless there is proof of a catastrophic leak, a warranty replacement of the engine is uncalled for, especially if the Subaru was driven any distance with the oil light lit.

Hopefully a lesson learned.

Oil is cheap, engines, as you’re probably going to find out, are not.
When I bought my Mazda, the salesman said instead of the 4 months(severe), I could get by going every 6 months(normal) for an oil change, even with my low mileage(bought middle of May, now has just over 900 miles on it). I told him I’m used to going every 3 with my Civic, and even if I done it 4x a year instead of 3 or 2, the money I’d spend over 10 years wouldn’t come close to that of a new engine.