Repurchase or low cash settlement/keep the car - continuation of the '11 Subaru Forester with P050A

I posted a few weeks ago about my 2011 Subaru Forester throwing the ‘cold idle start’ P050A code six time in 12 months. I am at the negotiation point with Subaru America and they have offered a few things.

  1. A Repurchase which using the MA lemon law criteria for this process will cost me ~$6,000 for ‘usage’ of the car during th time I’ve had it. The car has around 25,000 miles on it. I bought the car for $26,000 including tax and fees, so I would net around $20,000 back. Is this reasonable? Would you accept this offer?

  2. They are also offering a cash settlement to me, the value of which I don’t know yet. Likely a few thousand dollars I think.

Here’s my concerns:

A. If I keep the car and take the cash settlement I’d guess I have no future recourse with this problem on the car. That is a big worry as they can’t seem to fix the software issue that is causing this.

B. Since the computer has stored that this code is an on-going problem in my car I worry about inspections. I’m not sure if once a code is cleared and stays off for weeks/many miles that the car won’t have inspection problems. How does that work in MA?

C. When I go to resell the car at some point would this type of problem show up in a Car Fax report? And then there is the ethical problem of selling a car with a repeating problem to someone.

I’ve never been in this type of situation before and feel pretty lost in know what is the best thing to do. On the one hand I really like the car, but at the same time I find myself always wondering when I start up the car if I’m going to see the CEL, and lose my traction control at a time when I really need it here in the hills of Berkshire County, MA.

The repurchase offer seems reasonable to me. You don’t mention the date you took ownership of the car, but we are deep into the '13 model year now. $6000 for use of the car for about 2 years and 25K miles seems reasonable to me.

Have you consulted a lawyer? An attorney working in this specific area of the law could tell you if you could do better.

I would take the repurchase and then all your worries are over.

" The car has around 25,000 miles on it. "

How long, in months, have you actually owned the car ? (2011 model-year began in summer/fall of 2010.)

I’m leaning toward the $6000 deal.


don’t regret all the other mysterious problems that may come out in 2 weeks or 3 months. Take the 6K loss deal. (I wouldn’t consider it a loss) You did well in your negotiations and subaru is treating you very well

Thanks for the feedback. I bought the car on Septemeber 11, 2011, so I’ve owned it for about 1 1/2 years at this point.

Their buyback isn’t much of a deal as far as I can see, that is the blue book value for a private sale of an 11 Forester one step up from the basjc model. Check with kbb or to see what your model is worth in trade right now.

25,000 Miles/$6,000 = $.24/Mile
$6,000/18 (Months) = $333.34/Month

Is it fair that the owner used a New 2011 Subaru Forrester for 18 months @ $334 per month or
$.24/mile, albeit slightly problematic (annoying) ?


@berkshirebarks glad to hear you’ve finally got some offers on the table, so to speak.

In my opinion, you should go for option 1.

Let them buy back the car spend some time thinking about the replacement.

Others may think the amount offered is too low, but let’s remember that you did have it for 18 months and racked up 25K. It sounds extremely reasonable to me. Don’t push your luck. Take the deal.

My vote would probably be for option 1, but i keep thinking that 6 grand for a measly 25k miles of driving is a bit skimpy.

What’s pathetic is SOA throwing in the towel on the car without at least shotgunning a few parts at it; maybe an ECM or something.

Guess that car will head off to an auction where it will then be hauled to another state where the only thing certain is “as is” being the final word with someone finding out the hard way.

@ok4450 buy backs have to be fixed before they go to auction, but yes that’s where the car will go… 6,000 sounds fair… If you like the car so much ask what kind of deal the will make on a new 2013… Maybe they will throw a few more $$$ your way towards a new one.

I think I would take the repurchase option, although I would always wonder what was really wrong with the car. Electrical problems are difficult to run down and my guess is that the factory reps from Subaru really don’t want to take the time. Back in 1971, my parents bought a new Zenith color television. After owning the set for a couple of weeks, the picture became very distorted. It went back to the store where the set was purchased. The set was repaired, but the same thing happened a couple weeks later. It was returned to the store and a repair was made and the set only worked properly for a couple of weeks. The set was sent back to the factory where the electronic engineers had a go at it. When it was returned, it worked for a few weeks and then the picture became distorted again. The set went back again and returned. It then worked just long enough to get through the warranty period. I was over at my parents house while they were on an extended trip and tried the set. The picture was again terribly distorted, so I took the set to a respected tv repairman. He called me in a couple of days and said that the set was repaired. When I went to pick it up, he said he had replaced a chip on the circuit board that controlled the AGC (automatic gain control). I told him that this was the same chip everybody else was replacing and the chip kept burning out. He then said, “Let me keep the set a while longer and see if I can find the reason”. After a week, he called me back and said that the set was ready. One ten cent resistor was letting too high a voltage flow to the chip. From then on, the set worked fine. However, all the problems my parents had getting the set repaired was a frustration. Now, if I were in the OP’s position, I would take the repurchase offer. However, if I were Subaru of America, I think I would find a top-flight mechanic and have that mechanic find the problem.

I too would take the repurchase offer. Now having said that and being a adjuster I would hit back with $3000. I will bet they will take it. If they dont meet in the middle at $4500. Hold your ground, It works. Good luck and put on a good poker face.

Gasragtop, what are the chances of their fixing the car though? They’ve already given up on it apparently.

It wouldn’t be that difficult to fix up a repair order stating the problem had finally been found followed by shipping it off to an auction; kind of a “yep, found a loose connector. She’ll be fine now” scenario.
The car could resurface 8 states away and any recurrence of the same problem could possibly be blamed on another component.

I guarantee that Subaru has no intention of having “a top-flight mechanic” have a crack at it.

Now that OP is having the car repurchased, they might make another half-ass effort to fix it.

And some poor sap will eventually buy it.

I suspect that Subaru has ISO9000 certification and if so, they will have to take it back to the factory for an engineering investigation. Its a requirement to maintain their certification.


I suspect that Subaru has ISO9000 certification and if so, they will have to take it back to the factory for an engineering investigation.

Been running an engineering group for decades and heavily involved in setting and maintaining certification to ISO standards. No such requirement exists to my knowledge. We do FARs at our discretion. If you request one out of warranty, it’s at your expense if we agree to do it.

In a nutshell, all ISO 9000 says is that you “say what you do and do what you say”. If your quality system says you do FARs for all defects, then that is what you’ll be judged by.

"No such requirement exists to my knowledge."

Sometimes it depends on your certifying agency. The one we certified under required this. It also required a few other things that I and the company did not particularly agree with but had to do anyway. I.e. annual evaluations for employees.

Sometimes, auditors try to impose their own, misguided intepretation of the rules upon companies. BTDTBTTS. Worse yet, when you run into one that thinks they are the judge, jury and executioner.

The fact is, the standard leaves it up to the company to determine if and when to do root cause analysis on failures “to a degree appropriate to the magnitude of the problems and commensurate with the risks encountered”.

I’ve butted heads with auditors over the years and even had to file complaints with the agency that employed them for over-reaching their authority. It pays to have an in-depth understanding of the standard so you have ammunition to support your position. Fortunately, we have a great relationship with our current crew and they are quite reasonable to work with.

Whether $20,000 is an acceptable value depends on what trim level and options you have. If this is a 2.5XT Touring, then the offer is low (could be worth up to $26,400). As you may know, there are 6 trim levels and lots of options. You can get an idea of the value here: