Dead 2005 Subaru

My son bought a used WRX 2.5 years ago. 14K. Full warranty until 36K. HE LOVES this car. Has taken GREAT care of it! The car has been off the road since February while he was out of the country.

Just last month he was driving back to school from Davis, CA via Southern Cal to Boulder, CO. Car started making very strange noises just beyond Las Vegas. Had the car towed to the Las Vegas Subaru dealership where they told him they needed all evidence, copies, etc of oil changes and work done on the car to ensure the warranty. He took a bus to Boulder with just a few of his belongings and left the car with faxed copies from the various providers.

3 weeks later the dealership managed to take the engine apart ($1500 to which you had to agree). A few days later they told him – as did the regional rep – that there was damage to the rods that indicated he had not had regular oil changes. Repairs will cost 9K!

We KNOW he did the oil changes – so their assumption is not a possibility. Of course we think they are trying to avoid having to pay for the new engine.

QUESTION: Could damage have been done to the rods BEFORE he purchased the car. Previous owner not having done the proper oil changes or something else. (The dealership from whom he purchased the car (NISSAN) insisted it was ‘clean’ and in perfect condition.

I assume he had all the receipts showing when the regular oil changes were done. How could they contest that? What kind of damage did the rods have? It seems to me that other areas of the engine would show signs of a oil problem if that were the case.

My best guess as to what happened is either the oil pump failed or the oil system got plugged somehow. I doubt the engine had previous damage that would cause this kind of thing and not be noticed earlier. If you end up with the tab on this you might see what a rebuilt engine would cost from CCR Engines. They know Soob engines and you would have a 3 year warranty on it.

They may be avoiding paying for an engine, but you have to show proof that you did change the oil as indicated in the owner’s manual. Unfortunately, your statements don’t indicate that you have the receipts or provided them to the dealer or the regional rep. In these instances,knowing doesn’t work, proving does. I would start by providing the oil change history. If you used one single oil change service or one mechanic, they may be able to provide and certify the oil change history as long as you owned it. Start there.

Present the documented proof of oil changes(again) under your ownership. The dealer should cover it. By the way the powertrain warranty is actually 5yrs/60k.

A problem that happens with some Subaru WRX’s is they are highly modified and abused or tuned poorly for a while and then returned to stock form and traded into dealers. If the person does a decent job returning the car to stock no one can really tell. Usually around the turbo there are exhaust pipes entering and exiting the turbo, a typical simple modification is to gut them of the insides(catalytic converter) and the car becomes much more powerful. People usually pick up a used one and resintall these pipes before trading off. Modifications like this require an engine software update and a professional tuner to make sure all is in check. If not you can blow the engine up or damage it during hard driving.

Alternatively your engine could have had a simple oil leak somewhere prior to it “blowing up”. Or the previous owner was one the lax side.

I own one of these cars, and this type of failure is really rare in Subaru WRX’s of 2002-2005 vintage(same engine) unless poorly modified, abused, or maintenance neglected.

The engine for this vehicle is quite expensive. I would suggest looking the used route as many kids sadly wreck this car and themselves too. I am older and love the utility of a small wagon coupled to performance with great winter traction. Its too bad the kids spoil it all.

Good luck.

we have all of them and they were faxed to the dealer – he doesn’t believe two of these because they were handwritten – from a small shop.

Even if the receipts are hand written they should be proof enough I would think. You may have to get a lawyer involved with this.