Car Woes From Subaru

Okay, so I will try to make this as clear as possible. 5 weeks or so, my 2007 Subaru Legacy with 58,000 miles on it had its CHECK ENGINE LIGHT ON. It was accompanied by puttering. I went to one of my favorite mechanic and they told me that there was a Misfire in one of the cylinders. They recommended that if it happens once again, that I take it to them and wait on it for a bit. So, low and behold, it happened again and then took it to the Subaru Dealer mechanic. They said that there was a misfire in one of the cylinders and that that there was some oil leakage on the valve. They had to replace the spark plugs, valve, coil, and the wires as a result. My warranty covered everything except the spark plugs, so I said fine do it. After they fixed it, I get a call telling me that my car died while they took it out of the garage for a text drive and told me that I would need a new battery. Well, I said, okay, the car is almost 5 years old, you can do that too. As I was leaving the Subaru place, they told me that there was some corrosion on the positive clamp terminal, but they cleaned it as best they could.

Five days later, my car won’t start. I got my car jump started and the AAA guy told me that the terminal clamp was loose and corroded and that was the reason why it wasn’t working.

I called Subaru and they acknowledged that the clamp was the problem.

I have a suspicion that I didn’t need a new battery at all and that I just needed a new clamp which they failed to replace.

I had to jump start my car twice today and when the Subaru place told me that they couldn’t see me today, I went to a mechanic and they fixed it.

Now,is this the fault of Subaru? What exactly was the problem? and should Subaru pay me back for the new battery I probably didn’t even need? Did they misdiagnose?

Any help is appreciated!

I’ve been trying to get The Brothers, Click & Clack to start a new topic called “Subaru” but so far they have not responded…That way, Subaru owners would have a single place to share their laments, which number in the tens of thousands…Just be thankful they didn’t tell you you had oil or water seeping from around your head gasket…If you got out of there for the price of a battery and a set of plugs you did good!

thanks for writing! Actually they did say that I had oil coming out of the head gasket, they even showed it to me! I just went to this particular Subaru service place b/c of my warranty. From now on, I’m going to my honest to goodness mechanic. They originally charged me 210.00 plus tax for my spark plugs, when I told them my dad would put them in, they brought down the price to 109.00. Good grief!

As far as the battery is concerned I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Like you stated it was getting to the end of normal life anyways. Battery maintenance is a very common thing that is overlooked by a lot of people and it causes the problem you had. By simply making sure the clamp and post stay clean it saves potential problems in the future. Spraying a sealer over the clean connections helps keep things in shape.

You need to differentiate between the dealer and corporate Subaru on something like this. They are separate business entities and corporate Subaru is not legally liable for a screwup by a dealer. Any complaint would be with the dealer, not Subaru of America.

The battery part of this is debateable. At 5 years of age the battery is near the end of its trustworthy life so it’s possible at least that the battery was weak and needed to be replaced. The corroded battery terminal would just be one more weak link in the chain and at 5 years that’s also to be expected.

Offhand, I’d give them a pass on this one and keep in mind that a battery can be questionable while still being able to start the car. The issue could be that in a pinch that old battery may run down much quicker than a new one and you would be calling AAA anyway.
Hope that helps some.

Don’t worry about the oil seep from the head gasket. When the anti-freeze starts blowing out like it would from a tea kettle, it will be time for a fix. You don’t know if or when that will happen, but that area isn’t the problem anyway. Around the combustion chamber is where it counts, not at the outside of the engine.

thanks so much for the advice, to clarify, I went to a Subaru dealer. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my question(s). I feel much better now about the entire situation, thanks!

Thanks for getting back to me, I will remember your advice about the combustion chamber for future reference! Thanks again!

Thanks for calming my Subaru woes! I feel a lot better now knowing how to prevent these problems in the future. I guess you live and you learn! Thanks again for your response.

Battery was likely weak. They typically test it to state yes or no. It saves you from a jump. They messed up the clamp it sounds but no is perfect but definitely annoying.

With regards to the spark plugs have you ever changed them before or performed any service besides oil changes?

Hi, thanks for writing! I changed my spark plugs at 35,000 miles with my 30,000 check up, I’m close to 58,500 miles now. I was told that you have to change your spark plugs every 30,000 miles. I have had only routine oil changes in the past.