shop used tranny fluid

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  #1  
Old 10-02-16, 07:21 AM
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shop used tranny fluid

A friend of mine has a subaru less than 3 years old and still under warranty. She was in an accident last year and Geico sent her to a particular shop, in which they did not use the proper tranny fluid for her cvt tranny.

Fast forward to now, she took her car in to the dealership for a wheel bearing replacement under her warranty, and they did a fluid top off and discovered her fluid was wrong and have told her the tranny warranty is now void.

What recourse does she have? How can she reinstate her tranny warranty, and who is liable here? Geico or the shop or both?

To make matters worse, she lives in NYC, but the said shop was in Florida on vacation.

As far as I know, the tranny is running fine and has not shown any symptoms of malfunction. They wanted her to sign something before they would allow her to take her car, and she denied and has left her car with subaru for now.

What are the chances that the Subaru service department has NOT documented this to Subaru directly, and she can have her tranny flushed and proper fluid put in and act as if this never happened?


Any suggestions will be appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-02-16, 08:46 AM
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I don't work for a dealer but been mechanic many years. I would guess they have entered it into there computer already so it is posted. I would get dealers paper work stating what they found and send to insurance company and repair place. See what they will do. send all paper work registered return requested.
 
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Old 10-02-16, 10:10 AM
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Chances of getting it replaced by shop in FL are null.
I'd, first thing, find a Subaru independent shop and have them do COMPLETE CVT fluid replacement ASAP.
Then cross fingers and pray trannie will keep running fine.
Country is one big computer. Dealer knows it - anyone on the same computer system knows it. Warranty is void.
 
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Old 10-02-16, 03:17 PM
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In a perfect world, GEICO would make it right one way or the other, but I wouldn't hold my breath. I am curious, though, what characteristics of the fluid led to the diagnosis of wrong fluid. Will have to run that one by my local tranny expert.

 
  #5  
Old 10-02-16, 04:33 PM
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Continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) create unlimited gear ratios using a belt or chain running between two variable diameter pulleys. CVTs require a unique transmission fluid with specialized frictional characteristics designed to ensure the belt or chain remains in contact with the pulleys without slipping.
Excellent Frictional Properties
The metal-to-metal frictional properties between the CVT's belt/chain interface and the pulleys are important, relying on the CVT fluid to prevent slipping. Synthetic CVT Fluid provides exceptional metal-to-metal frictional properties to help prevent belt and chain slipping and help extend transmission life.
Resists Heat
In elevated heat, CVT Fluid's thermally stable formulation guards against the harmful effects of thermal breakdown. It resists the formation of varnish that can threaten transmission performance and life.

Superior Wet-Clutch Performance
CVT Fluid provides superior wet-clutch performance for outstanding anti-shudder durability and reduced noise, vibration and harshness
 
  #6  
Old 10-02-16, 07:55 PM
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I'd like to know how they came up with that assumption by doing a simple fluid level check.
Call me a sceptic but I've just had terrible dealings with Suburu dealers.
I have a bunch of story's of how they tried to rip me off for thousands of dollars if you want to hear them.
 
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Old 10-03-16, 04:39 AM
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That was where I was going, Joe, but skip the stories; no bashing.

Igor, how do you tell just from a fluid check? Color? Smell? Taste?

I'll be by my two favorite tranny shops today passing out monthly tow bills, so will chat them up on the subject.
 
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Old 10-03-16, 06:35 AM
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I've heard from several people that they can test the fluid with some sort of test kits they have. Never seen one though.
 
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Old 10-03-16, 06:38 AM
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In this case the color of fluid was wrong so they allegedly tested it.
 
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Old 10-03-16, 07:30 AM
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That was about all I could come up with, too. My one tranny guy said, "no way", not without sending a sample to a lab. Wasn't sure of Subaru CVT fluid color. He had some Honda CVT fluid and we looked at it, has a slightly orange-ish tint vice the usual red/pink.

Second place pretty much agreed; they have a guy who is their go-to guy on Subarus and he was skeptical as well. His parting shot was that if the body shop put four quarts of non-CVT in it (fluid change) it would have been apparent fairly quickly due to slippage (see Igor's discussion above about friction requirements of CVTs).

Neither place was aware of any available test kit for a quick analysis PLUS both asked the question, why would they want to check such a thing during a routine fluid check while vehicle was in for other repair and was apparently not exhibiting any symptoms of tranny problems? The first shop added the question, "why would they care? If the tranny actually failed, they would get the repair/replace job and Subaru would pay for it."

 
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Old 10-03-16, 07:34 AM
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Just browsed a couple of other sites and there are references to that fluid being blue, green, and/or orange. Several references to it being blue, so maybe that's the clue. I suppose you might notice that when pulling the dipstick (assuming it has one, which it may not). STILL, how could it run with no slipping for a year or so if the fluid is so critical?
 
  #12  
Old 10-03-16, 07:44 AM
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The fluid was supposedly brown. The previous shop only added to it, wasn't a full fluid change. I think some had leaked out or something and it needed a top off.
 
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Old 10-03-16, 01:30 PM
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ATF comes burgundy red and green. Also, has very specific smell, I can smell it quite well.
CVT fluid is different color(s) and smell.
Gear oil is absolutely different smell. Has very pungent unpleasant one.
So yes, you can easily get your suspicions and then take it from there.
 
  #14  
Old 10-04-16, 04:51 AM
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Not sure how they can hold car by making her sign a release of some kind. I had a disreputable shop try to do that to one of my customers once and when the cops showed up they released it.

What does GEICO have to say so far?

If it was me, and is in fact legal for them to require a signature (and GEICO shrugged it off), I would sign and immediately drive to a decent independent shop for a complete fluid change. I would then only go back to the dealership for warranty work; all other routine maintenance & repair would be done elsewhere. That would include repair/replace of the tranny if it should ever fail down the line. I would make sure the service manager was told this. If the body shop merely topped off low fluid there's a chance it will never have any negative effect. Looks like the warranty is 5 years/60K miles? If so, the vehicle is over halfway there or more already.

Unfortunately the customer/vehicle owner is stuck in the middle, with the dealership being the last one in line who can make a positive impression on the customer if they really wanted their return business (both sales and service) in the future. I rather suspect there are dealerships (both Subaru and other makes) who would go the extra mile to take care of the customer; it pays off in the long run.

My $.02 worth.

Igor, what do you think about odds of having no effect on operation and life expectancy?

 
  #15  
Old 10-04-16, 06:17 AM
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Here is an update. She took her dad with her and went to the service manager and was adamant that no one added any fluid. The paperwork from the shop in Florida in fact did not indicate any fluid top off. The service manager has admitted to only speculating on that and says they will look into it further, and determine the cause of the brown fluid. It may be burnt.

Also, Geico is sending a claims rep to look at it. I was thinking that if for whatever reason, Geico were to have the tranny replaced, wouldn't it affect her insurance rate? I'd rather fight tooth and nail to maintain my warranty and make Subaru cover it. At this point, there is no proof any fluid was added, and if in fact there was, they don't know it was NOT Subaru cvt fluid.
 
  #16  
Old 10-05-16, 05:42 AM
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Aah. The plot thickens. How long has she had GEICO? After 5 years I think you get a "free" claim. I'm with you on leaving Geico out of it and duking it out with Subaru.

And just in passing, they were going to require a sign off on some kind of a waiver of the warranty on SPECULATION??? I beat them up on that point rather severely.
 
  #17  
Old 10-05-16, 05:58 AM
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I'm trying to figure out what their motives would be to jerk her around like this. Don't they get paid for labor by Subaru for any warranty work? You'd think they'd welcome this job. When my Nissan was still under warranty, they were all over it like snot on white rice every time I went for oil changes, looking for warranty work to do. I even had one Nissan department order parts without my knowledge and call me up asking me why I missed my appointment. Haha.
 
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