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How DO YOU recognize a LEMON?

If you have less than 30K on your 4 yr old car, have babied it for the first 3 yrs ( less than 9 K a year) and now that you are driving it, within 4 months the center differential has had to be warranty replaced TWICE and there is now a ‘ticking’ sound under the hood, do you have a LEMON or am I missing something?

Lemon laws generally apply to new cars.

Your car sounds like a problem however. If the center differential is a design flaw then lots of 2006 models would share the problem. Check out some Subaru owner’s forums to see if others are having failures like yours.

The Subaru center differential is very sensitive to having 4 matching tires. Meaning the same size, same manufacture, same tread design, and same tread wear on all 4 wheels. If you put a new tire on one wheel and not the other 3 it can kill the center differential. Also if one tire runs deflated, say at 20 lbs, and the others are at 30 lbs that could kill the center differential. It is pretty easy for Subaru to pass this off as a tire problem on cars that aren’t still fairly new and still on the original tires.

The ticking sound under the hood could be lots of things. Some no biggie, and some noises can signal a serious problem. You have to have a knowledgeable person hear and identify the ticking for you.

google basics of lemon law…

Depending on the state, different defects are used as guidelines for “significant problems”. In some cases, a faulty paint job might qualify a car as a lemon, while in other instances the problem must be mechanical in nature.

There are three basic reasons why a car might be considered a lemon:

  1. There is a serious safety defect with the car that could not be fixed after one repair attempt.

  2. There is a non-safety related defect that could not be fixed after 3-4 repair attempts.

  3. The car has been in the shop for the same repair for more than thirty days out of a year, which yielded no results.

Again these numbers vary by state, but the laws are fairly similar. In some cases, an extraneous problem will occur that does not fall under one of these guidelines, and the car will still be considered a lemon. Refer to your particular state laws for accurate definitions of a lemon.

Do the diameters of all four of your tires very closely match?

Any car that has been relatively trouble free for four years isn’t a lemon in my opinion. The problem with the differential could be one of many many things, some of which might not be the fault of the manufacturer or a design flaw. For example, debris might have damaged the differential to make it leak. This is an unlikely example, but it had four good years, which indicates the cause is something recent.

AWD is NOT all it’s cracked up to be…Subaru’s are the #1 problem child on this board. Do you feel alone? You are not! Enter the word “Subaru” into the search window and join the multitudes…

In addition to wondering about how well the tires on this car are “matched” and whether they have been rotated as per the mfr’s maintenance schedule, I have to wonder about how well the vehicle was maintained overall.

A car that is driven less than 9k miles per year will–in most cases–need to be maintained according to the Severe Service maintenance schedule, rather than the “regular” maintenance schedule.

Please give us some actual details on the vehicle’s maintenance, particularly how often the oil has been changed (in terms of both odometer mileage and elapsed time), how often the tires were rotated, and how closely the tread depth is matched on the 4 tires.

To address the ticking sound first, this could be caused by loose valve lash and does not equate to a Lemon status for the car. That’s a maintenance issue.

As to the center differential issue, I feel that is something in which the entire story needs to be rooted out. This does not reflect on you but possibly on what was done or what you were told.

In a nutshell, does this mean the entire unit was replaced or was it partially repaired under warranty?
Are there copies of paperwork in your possession stating exactly what was done along with a parts itemization?

Subaru of America does not spend so freely that they will warranty an item like this twice without some serious questions being asked about the diagnosis, etc.

If you look at the name SUBARU backwards, it spells URABUS. It it almost sounds like You Rob Us!


I dunno. I read it as you are a bus…

Kind of pointless actually, but here’s a trivia bit regarding Subarus.

Generally it’s pronounced Sue Bah Roo by most.

The actual pronunciation is Sue (cut it short) Barr (heavy accent on this) Ooh.

Now everyone’s life is much better and the parts counter guy will not know what kind of car you’re talking about when using the latter pronunciation.

(I kind of like the You Rob Us version though! That’s funny.)