Dealer Parts

I have Subaru Outback that probably needs new starter motor. Thinking of going to somewhere like Firestone. Any comments on the equivalence of Firestone parts with Subaru dealer parts. Probably more expensive from dealer, but is the quality higher?

Firestone doesn’t make parts.

When you go to Firestone for service, and you need parts , they call anyone else to get them. You can choose or let them use thier source. In this town firestone calls Auto Zone for parts first.
You may specify to them if you want dealer OE parts or Napa, Car Quest, O’Reilly’s etc. unless you get a Firestone that will only use one source.

I don’t recommend chain stores for automotive maintenance and/or repair. I prefer independent mechanics.

Aftermarket parts are as good as dealer parts, in my opinion, and cost less. You will probably get a rebuilt starter from an independent or a chain, but there’s nothing wrong with that. You car is no longer new; why does it need brand new parts?

Having said all that, the starter on a Subaru is pretty easy to get at, and just about anyone should be able to replace it. This even falls into the DIY category.

I wouldn’t go to Firestone…or ANY national chain.

Find a good local mechanic and have him do it. A starter the dealer is going to install NEW. Most everyone else is going to install rebuilt. Rebuilt (if properly done) is as good or better then new. A good local mechanic will deal with a company that sells good quality parts (usually a local parts supplier).

The part isn’t the only thing that’s going to be expensive at the dealer…also the labor cost.

To add to what has been said, the dealer likely will be using new parts (not always) and others will often supply rebuilt parts. Some rebuilds are great, but some a more of a repaired part than a rebuilt part.

I suggest having an independent mechanic do the job (it will cost less) and let them supply the part and let them offer their suggestion for new or rebuilt.

Starter motor failure on a Subaru is rare; extremely rare.
Is it known for an absolute fact that the starter is bad?

Exactly what are the symptoms? Cranks over slowly, chatters, sublte click sound, no click sound, automatic transmission, etc.?

Not sure. It’s my wife’s car. Not starting easily, but it does start. New battery installed recently.

What do you mean by not starting easily???

MikeinNH, good question: we have insufficient information again. What year and what mileage? Who diagnosed problem as starter failure? Initial poster says “probably” the starter motor. Any of us can hazard alternative issues that can cause a poor start, from sensors to thermostat to sparkplugs and so on. Without a sure diagnosis, why spend time and money?

I will get a detailed description of the problem and post it up later today. Watch this space…

Like ok4450, I am skeptical that the starter is to blame in this situation.

The “Not starting easily” comment definitely needs to be explained more fully.
“Not starting easily” could be the result of a multitude of problems, many of them cheaper to fix than a rarely-replaced Subaru starter, but unless we get a good explanation of the starting problem, it is really difficult to diagnose the problem.

If you tell the Firestone people to replace the starter, they will be only too happy to do so, even if it is not at fault!

More info. Turn key, and it’s sluggish to start… takes 10/15 seconds, chugs and chugs, but then starts. This delay is increasing over time. But car has not failed to start yet. The battery is new. Have heard speculation that it could be alternator or starter motor (this is the dude where the battery was replaced, may or may not know what he is talking about). It’s a 2003 Suburu Outback, 120,000 miles, the basic model.

What do you mean by “Sluggish to start”?

Is the engine turning over SLOOOOWWWWW? Or is it turning over normally, just not starting right away??

A starter problem is either a clicking (which could also be battery) or you’ll hear this weird sound like metal mashing together. That’s caused by a bad Bendix in the starter.

If turning over slowly then it could be the starter…but more likely the battery. If the battery is new then it may not be charging properly (alternator).

Obviously you don’t have the knowledge to diagnose this problem. And it’s very very difficult to diagnose this over the internet. You need to take this to a trustworthy mechanic who can diagnose AND fix it for you.

How old is your Subaru in mileage/year?

If older I would not worry so much. OEM parts are usually very high quality. Aftermarket are subpar to same as OEM with rare occasion better. Have your car diagnosed and don’t mention your ideas on fix.

I too would go to a reputable independantly owned and operated local shop. And let him get the parts.

He’ll probably order from the same place Firestone would have. I just prefer independents over chains.