The car: 2008 Subaru Outback PZEV. Purchased at Metrowest Subaru in Natick, Massachusetts
The repair: on 6/9/2016 I took the car back to the dealership to have the catalytic converter and oxygen sensor replaced under a recall from Subaru.
The current problem: The car was running poorly and began to stall in January 2017.
I go to a local family-owned mechanic in Framingham, Massachusetts. The mechanic there first diagnosed the problem as the wrong size spark plugs that had been installed over 2 years ago by another shop. He changed the spark plugs, that seemed to stop the stalling but the car was still running rough. Two days ago the “check engine” and “cruise” idiot lights went on. I went back to the mechanic, he told me the catalytic converter had failed, but the heat shields were still shiny and looked new. He asked if the catalytic converter had been worked on fairly recently.
Well, yes indeed. Metrowest Subaru had indeed replaced the catalytic converter on 6/9/2016; that means that it failed in 7-8 months. I work out of my house, so I have low mileage on the car; only 7166 miles on that allegedly new catalytic converter.
Question 1. So, what do you folks think of that? Is it possible that the mechanics at the dealership did such a poor job on the installation of the new catalytic converter that it failed so quickly? A faulty part? Or did they not replace the original catalytic converter at all and scammed me? If so, how can I tell?
I called Metrowest Subaru Service Dept. and asked them to look up this service record before I told them what was going on. They did acknowledge that my repair record stated they’d replaced the catalytic converter and oxygen sensor on that date. I told them that my car was at a local mechanic and he’s told me the catalytic converter has failed; what is the warranty and are they going to do for me? The service manager at Metrowest Subaru pretended he didn’t know what the warranty was and transferred me to the sales dept. I called back and spoke to someone else in service who told me the warranty is 150,000 miles. He said something about California emissions regulations and a warranty repair and I hadn’t paid for the repair, as if… I don’t know what? I insisted he honor the warranty and replace the catalytic converter. Then he tried to weasel out of honoring the warranty by telling me that I’d taken my car to another mechanic and hadn’t brought it to the dealership. The other mechanic had only diagnosed the problem by reading the “check engine” code, he hadn’t done any repair. Of course, the local mechanic had to charge me for his time to diagnose my car and put some parts back together; $76. I had to demand that the dealership honor the warranty and schedule a repair.
Question 2. This is one of the reasons why I have not taken my car to Metrowest Subaru for repairs over the years. I have been unhappy with the quality of their service and had to bring the car back. Now I take the car to them only for warranty and recall repairs. They have tried to weasel out of warranty and recall repairs before, and tried to upsell me on repairs. The Service Dept. guys at the desk are always very pleasant, but I feel like the mechanics scam me because I’m a woman. This recent phone conversation yesterday was absolutely unacceptable. How do I complain and who do I complain to? Your thoughts?