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LOTS OF Subaru problems

We have a 2007 Subaru Outback that is (fortunately) still under warranty and has had no real issues until recently. The first thing that happened is that the dealership ( by the name of Orr) we purchased it from here in Shreveport, Louisiana, stopped selling (or servicing) Subaru models. Oh, they say they are allowed to do very simple things but nothing that requires the computerized aspects of the car. The model had a recall on a computerized component in the recent past and we ended up having to have it TOWED to Terrell, Texas (just outside of Dallas) for this. Neither of us can take a whole day off to drive that distance and back so, since it was a recall issue, we managed to get Subaru to pay for the towing both ways. About 2.5 weeks after the car returned, I began to notice a horrible smell like exhaust coming into the cab when I had the outside air intake on. It would begin to smell within 2-3 minutes of starting the car up. NOTHING lights up on the dashboard indicates that anything is wrong, but if I proceeded to drive it even a few miles, the smell was overwhelming and I had to drive with all the windows open. I found, at first, that if I put on the air-conditioning and turned on the air-recirculation with that (before any smell got into the cab), it would be OK, but recently, it is even beginning to smell a bit with that set-up. I am not a “car person” but I am wondering if there is some kind of hole or break in the connection between the exhaust system and the engine, since that is where the outside air would come in from. Now - of course, it has to be towed to the Texas dealership AGAIN to diagnose and fix this problem.

I like this little car, but:

!) should I just trade it in since ,without a dealership nearby, it is becoming a pain in the neck!;

2) what could this smell be from? Does it sound like an easy problem to fix or complex?

3) Would it be possible for a non-dealership car repair place to fix one of these “smart” cars (like after the warranty is expired) - or is that not possible and I am just asking for trouble?

4) Can a dealership just up and quit like that without notifying the previous buyers (we weren’t notified that they had stopped selling/servicing Subaru modes until we went to them with the recall issue) without retaining SOME responsibility for the maintenance/repair?


You might take a small piece of automotive electrical wire and heat the end of it over a match, etc. Compare that smell to what you smell in your car. If it’s the same then something electrical is frying.
As to what is barbecuing that’s going to be impossible to say without car in hand.

Any decent independent shop can work on a Subaru although there are certain things that may require factory special tools or expertise.
As to trading it off, that’s your call. I would hate to advise on this one as nothing is known about the current problems.

Yes, a dealer can shut down anytime and they have no responsibility for anything after that. Their franchise has legally ceased to exist.

Lots Of Subaru Problems For Sure. Subaru Has Less Than A 2-1/2 % Market Share In The U.S. , But They Seem To Be Well Represented For Problems Here (And Not Just Little Problems, Either).

I’d get rid of it if there’s no indication that a dealer will open near you soon.

There are no Japanese car dealers anywhere near where I live. I just couldn’t imagine coping with that. Although I do most maintenance and repair work on my own American cars, there are times when I want OEM parts and I have used them for warranty work.

The other problem is with the value of your car and the ease of selling it without strong dealer support to entice buyers. Independent mechanics could become less willing to work on these cars as dealer specific parts are harder to obtain. Around here there are seldom any Japanese cars seen on the roads and very few shops eager or willing to work on them.

The large number of repair problems and the frequent maintenance issues reported here for Subarus are troublesome enough for the owners living near a dealer.

I agree that it will continue to be a pain in the neck. I’d sell it and cut my losses before everybody catches on to this lack of dealer support.


“Lots Of Subaru Problems For Sure. Subaru Has Less Than A 2-1/2 % Market Share In The U.S. , But They Seem To Be Well Represented For Problems Here (And Not Just Little Problems, Either).”

If you type the word “Subaru” into the search feature of this board, you will find over 3000 threads that sound similar to yours…No other make or model of car even comes close…

If you type in “F-150” in the same search box, you only get 511 threads. This one model of vehicle outsells Subaru by about 20 to one…

So either Subaru owners are very prone to complain about their cars or Subaru’s themselves suffer outrageous mechanical problems…

I always wondered if I made a mistake not getting involved with Subaru as there sure seems to be a lot of work to be done with them, how do they pay?

I’ve worked for 3 Subaru dealers over the years (none still around) and if one tossed out this forum and every Subaru complaint on it the problems exist in the same proportion.

The big word in the automotive field is “perception”.

The foul smell may be due to an oil leak that is dripping on the exhaust pipe. Burning oil smells pretty bad so look for something like that.

Subarus are a little different in design but they still are put together about the same as most cars so most shops should be able to handle working on yours. It is too bad that the dealer close to you shut down. Hopefully you won’t have any more issues with the car for a while. I have owed a number of Soobs since 1983 when I purchased my first new car. It was a Subaru GL-10 wagon and I owned it over ten years. It was the most dependable and least cost to own of any vehicle I have ever owned. I hope yours proves out that way also.

Well - the car was towed to Beaumont. TX last Thursday and I will let you know the diagnosis when they tell us.