This week at the shop we had a 2013 Subaru Outback come here to us all the way from eastern Washington as the owner was not satisfied with the lack of service he was getting as his local Subaru dealer in regards to a noise he is hearing in his Subaru with 13,000 miles on it and obviously still covered under all applicable warranties from Subaru.
The driver made a 4 hour drive to come see us and will be making a 4 hour drive back, but in our opinion it was time well spent as we believe we came up with a very possible solution to his complaint.
First off anytime you are clearly hearing a noise that didn’t use to be there it may not be a sign that you need to panic, but we at least need to come with a plausible explanation of what and why.
Whats always very important to me, and the thing I stress over and over to my staff here is that we are all very busy people, our customers never make appointments with us because they are bored or have nothing better to do. It’s always because there is a good reason, and in the case of a noise that is hard to duplicate let alone diagnose we must always remember this fact and do everything we can to go that extra 4 steps in our process to make sure we have done everything we can to try and come up with a plausible explanation and corrective action or at least a next step. Sometimes in order for this to happen it takes team work, everyone’s heads together to think about past experiences to best serve our customers, something that just wont ever happen for you at a Subaru dealer given the nature of the flat rate pay plan the Techs have, the commission based pay the service advisors are on and lastly the tension between the manufacturer and the franchised dealership. Don’t get me wrong I fully support the idea of a business making a profit, but never at the sacrifice of good customer service.
To the car in question, we went for a ride with the customer and were able to hear the noise he was complaining of but we also struggled to try and isolate a system that may be making the noise, we did an evaluation of the car and hadn’t really determined anything. We went the 1st extra step and that was involve more then just the one Tech listen for the noise, every tech did, every Tech gave some input. We looked at TSB’s and there was one that kind of fit the bill in regards to valve train noise form bank 2( drivers side) so we started to develop a plan to do some further testing. Using a stethoscope we could audibly hear something different on the drivers side at similar load and rpm’s while driving it. I have included the TSB here Subaru Valve Train Noise — Search .
We brought the customer out and explained what we found, I chose to let him listen to the noise on the left side of his engine using nothing more than a long screw driver placed up to each valve cover to demonstrate how easy it actually can be if you are inclined to want to do the work of looking, listening and coming up with a solution. It was easy for the customer to hear the difference from right to left and we feel we gave him adequate ammunition to go back to Subaru with. At the end of the day Subaru want’s the driver to be happy, it’s the process that’s a mess and always will be.
We can’t truly know if this is the culprit, if the issue with the noise will be solved until the step of tearing it down and measuring the clearance, but at least there is now a next step where prior there was only excuses for not hearing the noise, or telling the customer it was normal.
If you own any car under warranty you feel has an unresolved condition, you really owe it to yourself to exhaust all avenues before throwing in the towel and living with something you may not need to. Its our experience that typically speaking cars develop the same type of issues and Subaru the company that actually makes the car does a decent job of providing information to the Dealers, it’s there that the problem lies.
Your Subaru ownership experience will only ever be as good as who you allow to service it! If you feel you are not obtaining the level of service you deserve at the dealer give a good independent Subaru Shop like All Wheel Drive Auto a try. The Masnuson Moss Act prevents any automaker from telling you service outside of the franchised dealers will void your warranty, it wont, instead it will actually better preserve your warranty and insure you get the most out of the money you have spent. Given the price of new cars these days, you simply can’t have enough people on your side.
Thanks for reading