Update on our Subaru Forester

The 100,000 km service of our Subaru Forester by City Automotive Group that turned into a ridiculously expensive $3,337 exercise is some time ago now. A quick update is in order.

My wife has finally got around to trading this car in. It is just over six years old and has only done 84,000 km.

She has been looking at a Mercedes Benz. But she is not really a car person and is having difficulty justifying spending $80k on a depreciating asset used to get from point A to point B. It is not that she can’t afford it — it is whether she wants to afford it.

So despite the bad servicing experience, back she went to City Automotive Group to buy a new Subaru Forester (some people just don’t learn, hey?). In fact, she was ready to sign on the line for a brand new Forester immediately. The sales guy was nice, but the manager was so rude and arrogant — at one stage he physically pushed past her, forcibly knocking her shoulder — that she walked out of there in disgust!! And she would have done the deal there and then!!

To make matters worse, when the old car was inspected to work out a trade-in price, it was identified that the head gaskets were leaking … again! That is, the $3,337 service that included fixing the cyclinder head gasket, only temporarily fixed the problem. What is the problem City Automotive Group? Doesn’t spending $3,000-plus get a proper fix?

I look forward to another $3,000 service on a car with a trade in price of only $9,000 … not!

The silly thing is, City Automotive Group is aware of the original blog post — I e-mailed them after they wrote to us enquiring why we were no longer getting the car serviced through them … and I noticed the hits to that page spike for a few days! — but they have not done anything to get us back on side. There has not even been a phone call to amicably discuss the issue. If they had dealt with the issue in a positive manner, these posts on my blog would not even exist!

Mercedes Benz on the other hand has admitted that they do occasionally have expensive servicing issues with their cars, but they work with the owner to fix the problem, ie. they do not leave the car owner holding the can. Mercedes Benz: my wife is coming to buy a brand spanking new car!

5 thoughts on “Update on our Subaru Forester

  1. Phil

    Hi thanks for that info we are looking at buying a second hand forester or a nissan xtrail so its down to the web I go for stuff like this thanks

    Reply
  2. David

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. My wife was thinking about a Forester. . . but think we will avoid that mistake and stick with Toyota

    Reply
  3. Rusty

    I took my 2004 Forester to our local service bloke for ‘regular’ service 125,000kms. Got the dreaded call – you know how it goes – ‘this is Fred from xyz autos, about your Subaru….’ Turns out a bad oil leak from the head gasket, left side bank, rear. So I thought I drop in to have a look. By coincidence there was another Forester on the hoist next to mine – similar age/kms – same problem! The mechanic said it happens all the time and the last one they did was for a bloke who had been quoted $3k+ by the Subaru dealer. I have had mine from new, log book serviced and not used off road.

    Reply
  4. mrcurlywhirly

    Interesting read – well scary interesting…

    FWIW We have owned an ’02GT Forester from new, which is now coming up to 215000 KMs. It has not been the head blowing monster that many of the posters here have experienced, in fact it is currently driving as well as it did when it was new. This car was relegated to the ‘second car’ 7 years back, and is funny enough still the preferred drive over a 30k old VW.

    The Sub is never thrashed, and has towed a small trailer only twice in its lifespan. It has been serviced regularly, and never let us down. Having said that – it now requires a new radiator which will not be cheap if the local dealership have their evil way.

    Brief history – under warranty:
    One rear self leveling shock replaced @8000ks, i have my doubts that was actually required, seemed to be riding perfectly.
    The ‘garragarra’ (lol) manual gearbox noise repaired, basically required a new flywheel/clutch to resolve this after a lot of complaining to Subaru.
    CV boot rubbers repaired under warranty.
    Yes there are a few minor rattles under the dash, quiet as a mouse on a smooth road. I’m very noise sensitive, so the fact they have not been fixed can be held in that context.
    The huge moonroof, when fully back, will make a slight rattle, we rarely have it that far open. There is a fix for this, its the wiring retainer, have not bothered.
    The tailgate can squeak, again this is easily fixed, a few adhesive felt scuffers later and a lube and it is stopped for good..
    Engine light on – O2 sensor required replacing at 160000 ks.
    The clock started to become intermittent then stopped altogether after 7 years. I removed and repaired the problem with my soldering iron, quite an easy fix – has been perfect for the past 6 years.
    The stopper broke off the slide out luggage shield, ordered the stoppers from Subaru and fixed it myself.
    Timing belt replaced as per schedule.
    Brake rotors machined @175000kms.
    Radiator is starting to leak a little @215000kms, needs to be replaced.
    Rocker cover gaskets and spark plug tube gaskets *should* be replaced around now, though we are not even talking enough oil to stain the concrete…

    Average mileage since new – low of 10kms/ltr premium, high 13.5kms/ltr, it makes me laugh when somebody noted it as ‘not economical’. Its a 1500kg AWD, I’m not sure what they expect.

    DEALERS:
    The Radiator and oil seals were quoted by a local Subaru dealership @ $780 for the radiator and $600 (I kid you not..) to replace the rocker seals and spark plug seals. This is where dealer interactions becoming difficult, as I know they pay there mechanics $20-$35 and hour and charge the customer $125. I am willing to pay a little extra for access to their specialist equipment and a dealer stamp in the books – to a point.
    Unfortunately they are living in the past as It takes 5 – 10 minutes to research their pricing, and for our most immediate requirement that is extremely bloated. I wonder how gullible they really think their customers are.

    BTW – Through until 2009 I was regularly using City group in Brisbane for service, yes they are not particularly cheap, however they did (at the time) provide a great standard of service AND had a couple of guys that knew their stuff manning the service desks. Around 2007 they moved across to the main drag of Newstead, added a couple of check in specialists (definitely NOT mechanics), and in general went downhill fast.

    IMO Many dealerships have issues that need addressing. My dealings with Subaru have been on the whole pretty good over the years, however – my interaction with VW over defects in our new car was anything but. Funny when you wander through the showroom seeing all the sales awards hanging, and you realise – WOW, they still sold THAT many cars treating customers like this? imagine how many they could have sold with decent customer service! VW were quite honestly useless. At one point moving back to an aircooled beetle seemed like a trouble free alternative, at least i do not require dealer service with one of those.

    rant over!

    Reply

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