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Help! Friend bought Subaru Outback 2000


Suessy's Avatar
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01-16-07, 04:53 PM   #1  
Help! Friend bought Subaru Outback 2000

Hi - a friend (no, not me!) just went out and signed for a 2000 Subaru Outback Limited Edition, took it to her mechanic who looked it over (no electronic checkup) and he pronounced it sound but then she noticed that the engine warning light was perpetually on and he (her mechanic) hadn't noticed this.

I told her about the 48-hour law to retract a contract which I believe exists here in Quebec, Canada if the product is defective but she is not the type to confront. Could this engine light prove to be a major thing? She is paying in the neighborhood of $10,000, maybe $14,000 with the tax.

Can anyone put in their 2 cents? She was just at the dealer today. I think there is still hope.

Suessy

 
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01-16-07, 10:13 PM   #2  
The engine light or service engine soon light is usually a emissons problem. It could be as simple as the gas cap is loose to cracks in vaccum hoses or bad sensors. If left unchecked these problems could develop into further issues...sensors can be expensive...i believe the 02 sensors on my truck, if i had to replace would run around 200. Tell her to take it back to the dealer....there is no such thing as AS IS. That is a scare tactic dealers use. If you buy a vehicle, unless stated at the time of the contract of the issues and the wavier to any repairs, the dealer is usually responsible for making sure the car is capable of being used..not sitting in the shop.

 
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01-17-07, 06:31 AM   #3  
Great!

Thank you so much for the quick reply - my friend called her mechanic this morning and is re-checking it for the electronics! I read her your reply and it has given some intestinal fortitude to confront the dealer about any problems with the car. I'm far from being an expert so anything from me doesn't really carry any weight.

Suessy

 
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01-18-07, 02:02 PM   #4  
Hi
Having purchased a 1995 Mitsubishi Galant with a check engine light that stayed on perpetually, I'd say it depends on what the light is on for. I drove the Galant for 5 years with absolutely no problems whatsoever because older cars tend to have all kinds of sensor faults that are usually not terrible if you can trace the history of the check-engine light. That said, I would not expect a 2000 Subaru to have that problem. How many miles does the car have? I'd say for the amount of money paid (whether Canadian or American) I would not expect to see that light on. Was it a dealer or a private seller? I am not sure if she can get her money back but if an electronic test was not done, she should get one. Autozone normally can get you free engine codes so have her take it there for check-engine-light diagnosis. I live in minnesota now but when I was in Quebec (montreal and hull(now called gatineau)) I also saw that Canadian Tire may have had some type of similar testing for free.
Take the car in for the engine code to be read and that will tell you if it is something serious or not. Good luck!!

 
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01-19-07, 06:17 AM   #5  
Electronic Light

Thanks for your reply, T.O. Fan.

Yes, she did finally have an electronic check done on the car and according to her mechanic, whom she trusts, apparently it is not a serious problem. The mileage is 150,000 km but her mechanic said it was super clean and looked like a good deal.

I am passing all these messages on to her so that she can double-check everything, though.

Better to have too much information than too little.

Thanks again.

Suessy

 
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01-19-07, 09:47 AM   #6  
Suessy,
It sounds like your friend is getting a fair deal. I wouldn't call it a great deal but it's not a bad deal, too. And like the others have mentioned, check engine lights can be very minor things or major things, just for future reference to you and her. Always have them diagnosed.

Another thing you might want to have her look into with the dealership if they can tell her is the timing belt. I have calculated the 150,000 Km to be about 93,205 miles. Most Japanese cars (i.e. Subarus, Toyotas, etc.) are designed in a way where if the timing belt breaks, it could severely damage the engine. American cars are not built this way so when a timing belt breaks on an American car, the vehicle just shuts down but no engine damage occurs. Japanese auto manufacturers suggest getting the timing belt replaced at 90,000 miles. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc. suggest this and I would assume the same for Subaru. This can be expensive ....my Lexus LS400 cost $500 to replace the timing belt but I'm almost sure it would not be that much for an Outback (Lexus labor rates are about $90/hr). Maybe more in the range of $250-$300 but I would at least have her check into whether or not the belt was replaced on her vehicle. One easy way to check is to look on the engine for a sticker that states it was replaced and if so, at what mileage. If it was replaced but there is no sticker, it will be almost impossible to verify unless you have a receipt or confirmatory from the dealership. This really must be taken care ...if it breaks on her, the engine could be damaged to a point that could cost thousands to repair. Please feel free to ask others to confirm this ....I just don't want to see your friend have this happen to her if she doesn't know anything about it. Good luck ...

fsufan8

 
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01-19-07, 12:12 PM   #7  
Good To Know

Can't thank you enough, fsufan8. Again - I am sending her all of these messages. Registering at this site is really paying off!

Suessy

 
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01-20-07, 04:14 PM   #8  
Don't know about where your friend lives, but here in Pennsylvania if your Check Engine light is illuminated, your car will not pass the mandatory annual state inspection.

It can get expensive. An instance a few months ago on our Nissan had me shell out over $700 for sensors. I ignored the light for almost a year & had to pay dearly when it came time for inspection.

I don't think a timing belt would cause the check engine light to come on - although the advice to check on it is good. Subarus (we have 2 of them now, & have owned a total of 5) have a timing belt instead of a chain or gears. On our 1996 Impreza (2.2L), the belt is to be changed every 60k miles. On our 1999 Legacy SUS (2.5L), the maintenence schedule is 105k miles.

Also, along the lines of engine damage, it depends on how your engine is designed. On our 96, the engine is of a "non interference" design. In simplistic terms, if a timing belt breaks all of the valves & pistons will go up & down in a chaotic manner, not "timed" like they normally do. The fear is that the valves will hit the pistons damaging one or the other or, very likely, both. In a non interference engine, nothing has enough reach to hit anything & the chances of that type of damage is reduced.

The 2000 you friend owns is not the same - it is an "interference" design. (Again, in simplistic terms, interference engines have more power because they have a higher compression ratio.) In that engine, it is very likely that engine damage would occur if the belt broke especially at high RPM.

It isn't real expensive to have the belt replaced, but it isn't cheap either. While you can't see the timing belt when you look under the hood, on a Subaru they are outside the engine & not too difficult to get to. While in there, if the mechanic is reliable & honest, the crank & cam seals will also be examined - they will be in clear view. If they look questionable at all, get them replaced then.

I haven't had it done for a while, but I think a timing belt change with replacing the seals should run somewhere around $300 US.

Subarus are really good cars. Our '96 has 177,000 miles on it & still does not use a drop of oil between changes - which I do every 5,000 miles. It has been, without a doubt, the best car I've ever owned as far as reliability & repair.

 
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01-21-07, 08:39 AM   #9  
Heads up with the Outback - 97-00 Outbacks had a head gasket problem. We bought a 97 with 115,000 miles on it and the salesperson said if the gasket was going to blow it would have by then. Lo and behold 48 hours later while driving "up the hill" outside Denver (2,500 ft ascent), the gasket blew. Luckilly we were working with an incredibly reputable dealer who ate most of the cost of the $1,000 repair. But MAKE SURE that head gasket has been tested and/or replaced. Once the gasket is replaced, you are good to go.

Just a side note, we LOVE Subys, I hope your friend enjoys theirs. I have an 01 Outback (our fourth Suby) and she is my baby - took on over a foot of powder on our unplowed rural roads last month without a complaint. Even SUVs were having problems! I wouldn't trade her for anything.... except for a hybrid Suby (supposedly coming out in the next couple years!).

 
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01-22-07, 07:49 AM   #10  
Subarus

I am trying to get her to sign up for this forum (again - passed along your message, logcabincook) because these tips are invaluable! By the way, she went out of her way to look for the Subaru that she particularly wanted so she shares at least some of your passion!

Thanks, Suessy

 
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01-22-07, 04:38 PM   #11  
More Good Advice

Nancy (her name), is taking all of this info to her mechanic - but she still loves this car even hearing the negative stuff. From what you Subaru lovers are saying, I am asking her to test drive this puppy!

Suessy

 
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01-23-07, 02:05 PM   #12  
Most likely this is just a problem with the warning light. If they guy checked it and could find no problem, then it's probbaly the "idiot light" (no offense) that's the problem. However, it is worth checking out at a different repair shop, just to be safe.

 
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01-23-07, 04:44 PM   #13  
My 2 cents

Even if the light stays on because of a minor problem a large problem might go unnoticed with the light always on.

 
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02-02-07, 06:27 PM   #14  
Answer to Engine Light Being On

First of all, I'd like to also thank michael van and youngstown for replying.

Nancy bought the Subaru and her mechanic found out that the engine light was on due to a faulty knock sensor. She paid $85 Cdn$ plus $48 labor to have it replaced and the windshield wipers needed to be replaced so she had fancy, schmancy wipers put on (good because it is full-on winter here in Montreal now). She also has checked out other comparable Subarus in the area and they were going for a few thousand more so she is very happy (especially with the leather seats!!)

She has asked me to print out all of your suggestions and info on this model car and she is taken the info to her mechanic so he can double-check *everything*.

Thanks for all your good advice again.

Suessy

 
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