Subaru catalytic converty warranty; what the dealership did


Um October so I’m the elder here. But I don’t act my age.


Regarding incorrect spark plugs and converter issues…

Once we had a Subaru come in that was wheezing along very poorly. The owner stated that he had just had it “tuned up” the week before at a chain type facility that charged X amount of dollars for a “tune up” on any 4 cylinder.

The car ran worse after he left the place and a week later he ended up with us. I found 4 incorrect spark plugs in the car. Two different brand long reach plugs and 2 same brand short reach plugs. The plugs were all well worn used and the short reach plugs were fouling because they were igniting the charge in the spark plug holes; not the combustion chambers.

It took me almost 4 hours to wrestle those plugs out; all of them having been very badly cross-threaded in place.
A set of new and proper plugs got it running fine again. However, it did nothing for the now funky converter problem.

Due to cost the owner balked and said he was going after the quick tune joint. I wrote him up a short statement backing him up. We never heard from him again. I have no idea if he ended up eating the cost of an aftermarket cat (*) or whether he may have just traded the car off rather than dink with it.

*For what it’s worth, a few companies manufacture converters for almost all car manufacturers and the aftermarket. Some years back there was a show on TV about them. They have a huge assortment of jigs and high tech computer operated machinery including tubing benders, robotic welders, and so on. Poke the data in and before long a new cat pops out. So the Subaru OEM converter is technically an aftermarket.


You got me beat. Mine’s November and I certainly don’t act my age, but then I’m much younger, right? At the golf course where I spend a lot of time in the summer, I’ve heard people, that are not acquaintances or on the leagues, refer to me as “The guy who runs.” If one wants to stay young, they need to act young. I’m often waiting for people half my age to pull up in their golf carts.


I’m now 69 years old (no jokes, please!), and when I take my power-walks I invariably leave far younger people in my dust. At my last job, I always took the stairs, while my obese 20-something year old co-workers would take the elevator. Even when I went to the courthouse daily, I took the stairs, instead of the elevator. Yes, they thought that my habits were a bit…odd…but…Who cares if those habits keep me healthy?


Exactly! That’s what I’m talking about! I’m too impatient to wait for elevators. I need to get moving. I don’t view taking stairs or parking way out in a parking lot as inconvenient. I consider those choices as opportunities to get some exercise. It’s generally quicker, too.


And, just to keep this on an automotive footing, parking “way out” in a parking lot may help to protect your car’s doors and fenders from inconsiderate slobs who fling-open the doors of their own vehicles. Yes, there have been a few instances of me parking–all by myself–in the far reaches of a parking lot, and coming back to find a car parked right next to mine, but this is pretty rare.


I distinctly remember a tv commercial, where a guy deliberately parks “way out” in the parking lot, about a mile away from the store entrance, not any car within sight. He parks, exits the car, and heads to the store. A few seconds later, somebody pulls up right next to the first car, opens his door, striking the first car

Yup :smile:


IMHO, the cat may not be bad. Has anyone checked for an exhaust leak? An exhaust leak before the rear o2 sensor can cause all the problems.

As for the plugs, they could be a red herring. I think you will find that your engine has two recommended plugs, the only difference is the heat range. One plug, the cooler one is recommended for vehicles that do mostly highway driving where the hotter plug is for short trip/around town/local driving. It could simply be the wrong heat range for your type of driving ant the mechanic who put the “wrong” plugs in may have done that based on the condition of the old plugs.

You complain about the quality of workmanship at this dealership and leads me to suspect that a gasket wasn’t installed correctly, left loose etc. to cause the exhaust leak. Or it could be the ECM reprogramming wasn’t done correctly.

You are right that the dealership does have the responsibility to insure that the vehicle is running correctly after doing this work. This recall and all the procedures were vetted by the corporate engineers and has been done thousands of times without these issues so if it wasn’t running right after leaving the shop, they do have the responsibility to correct the situation.

However there seems to be a pretty good gap between the work and the other issues popping up or at least your doing anything about them. If the delay was you, then you do share some of the responsibility. If not you, then either the workmanship or maybe even something unrelated that is neither your fault nor the dealers.


It seems to me based on what the OP originally stated if they have a complaint it would be against the guy who installed the incorrect plugs.


Think Keith has it right.


If I’m working at a dealer . . . which I did for many years . . . and a warranty job pays very badly, there is no way on earth, that I’m going to make a bad situation worse, by checking all sorts of things which I will definitely not get paid for, and nobody will thank me for it

In fact, we had MANY shop meetings, in which the service director said “Guys, I’m instructing you to only do what the recall says to do. Warranty will not pay for anything that’s not listed on the recall information, so don’t bother.”

So why should I disobey a “direct order” from my service director, somebody who is way above me and has the authority to fire me . . . ?

I’m sorry, but I’m not going above and beyond what is required, knowing I’m not getting paid, and will probably anger my service director, just to please some nameless and faceless customer, who will never see me, know my name, or thank me

That is the mindset you need to have, if you want to survive and flag enough hours to put food on the table, if you work at a dealership. If you constantly go above and beyond, you will flag very few hours, and you’re going to have a hard time surviving

If you want to have a different mindset, then perhaps you should open your own shop, work in a fleet shop, work in the public sector, etc. As you know, some of us have done one or more of those things, and are quite happy with our decisions.


My experience is different. I’ve had warranty work done at the GM dealer and Acura dealer and without fail they do a full inspection-brakes, tires, electrical, wipers, you name it. I just figured they were trying to identify anything they could make some money on. The only thing that turned out to be a little bogus was the rear seal oil leak. That bad oil leak that no one else can see and that has cost me a half a cup of oil in 2500 miles.


Db4690 is dead on correct as usual.


If I politely made the same logical questions to the dealership as you did I would get the same answers. I am a male. Please return your gender discrimination card to wherever you keep it. It does not apply in this case.


@db4690, I’m not saying that you should do anything not on the recall list. If a vehicle is brought in for a recall and is in good running order when it arrives, then doing exactly what is on the recall should not cause it to run any worse when you are done. If during the recall work, you break something that wasn’t already about to break, then you should fix it.

You should not have to fix anything outside the recall that exists when it is brought in unless you are being paid for it by the customer. If something is not right and will interfere with doing the recall procedures correctly or doing them with an undesirable outcome, then the customer should be informed, should pay for the needed maintenance or return the vehicle to the customer without the recall procedure done so they can take it to their mechanic for the necessary repairs. I know the latter does cost you time and money with no compensation, but I would hope that it would be minimal.


@shaftels2do. Has any one actually tested for a bad cat.? Or are you just going on the local mechanics say so, because he read a code? The reason I ask is there is no code that tells you the cat is bad. So what is the actual code? P0420? P0430? both of these are for catalytic converter below efficiency, or something like that. There are many causes for these codes besides a bad cat. If you don’t believe me look them up yourself.


Interestingly, I bought my car brand ne in NH (just across the border). It’s a 2017 Forester with 101k miles on it now and I started smelling exhaust so I brought it in to find I had a cracked catalytic converter. It seems that because I lived in Massachusetts when I bought the car I got a 150k mile warranty on the converter and that carried with me when I moved to NH.

I am so glad it did because in NH it’s only a 80k mile warranty and it’s an $1800 repair… YIKES!!