Last post on May 22, 2008 at 12:40 PM
You are in the Subaru Forester
What is this discussion about?
Subaru Forester, Car Buying, Wagon
#151 of 225 Re: Engine Smell!? [aladwag]
Oct 06, 2007 (4:12 pm)
i've got a 2007 subaru forester sports as well (bought it in may). and have the same sort of smell that you're talking about--kind of a warm plastic smell coming from under the hood, can't smell it unless the windows are open or you're outside the car with it running, it's more evident after driving for quite a while, etc.
my problem is that it's not always smelling, and often doesn't smell when i've taken it in.
i've had the oil changed 3 times (all at dealerships), and asked about it once when i took it in, and was told it was likely just coating or something like that which had been sprayed on something accidentally and would burn off eventually. but it's been 5 months and 4000 miles and still smells...
i had my brother in law mechanic take a look at it and couldn't come up with anything aside from that or perhaps that some fluid got spilled on the engine when it got serviced. but the latter doesn't seem likely to me now since it's happened more than once and not always right after i get it serviced.
i dive mostly short distances when i do drive, and so hadn't smelled it in a while and thought it was gone, but i recently took a longer trip and it came back...
argh. let me know what you find out!
other than this the car's been great, but i'd really like it to stop smelling!!!!
#152 of 225 Re: Engine Smell!? [joesimonis]
Oct 06, 2007 (5:00 pm)
Hmm smells after a long drive generally indicate a CV joint issue, where when heated the grease will drip out of a cracked boot and land on an exhaust pipe. I've diagnosed this several times. Also could be a leaky turbo oil line as well.
#153 of 225 Re: Engine Smell!? [aladwag]
Oct 08, 2007 (3:50 pm)
You might check out SubaruForester.org for more information on the smell.
#154 of 225 Re: Engine Smell!? [aladwag]
Oct 09, 2007 (12:53 pm)
Well since it's been 6 months it's obviously not the undercoating still burning off (unless you seldom drive it). Since you're otherwise happy, rather than trying to get rid of it, I'd focus on figuring out what's causing the odor. It could be something simple like a small coolant leak caused by a loose hose. Maybe you could find a dis-interested 3rd party to confrim the smell?
IRT your customer service experience, keep climbing the ladder until you get to someone responsive (of course keep in mind the old saying that "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar"). I know for a fact that there are people working at SOA who are caring and considerate and will work with you to resolve your problem.
#155 of 225 Re: Engine Smell!? [p0926]
Oct 10, 2007 (9:00 am)
Call 800-SUBARU3, but be nice! Get a case number.
#156 of 225 Re: Engine Smell!? [ateixeira]
Oct 10, 2007 (9:49 am)
First, let me say thanks for all the responses, it is greatly appreciated. I have a case number, I've been nice but firm about not wanting my three-year-old daughter to have to smell the fumes that make even me a little nauseous...
After being told a scenario by an otherwise incredibly rude and abrupt supervisor in customer service that if my car cost $5k to trade in that Subaru might pick up $4k of the cost, two months later and one month after I brought my car to the dealer for an estimate of the trade in. I also requested and was granted another supervisor, whose only role was to deliver the offer. The offer? Subaru would pick up 50% of the trade-in cost.
That means it would cost me $4500 out of pocket to take a chance on another vehicle from them...something I'm not willing to do. They've abused and betrayed my trust, and I will no longer recommend them to anyone.
Some responses suggested I look for ways to fix the problem...makes sense. I just lost confidence when the dealer's own service technician described the problem as being due to undercoating sprayed on the engine (a manufacturing defect) and then stated the problem was not fixable. If Subaru can't fix it, I figured, nobody can.
But I am open to having the car looked at (assuming it's not going to cost me anything to look) just to see if what I'm describing makes your nose and throat cringe as it does mine. And who knows? Maybe there is a fix, maybe the tech was wrong. Stranger things have happened.
I'll also be writing a letter to Subaru certified mail return receipt requested insisting they fix the car within twenty days as the first step to having the car declared a lemon, something I realize is not a slam dunk, and taking all possible measures to publicize my dissatisfaction with the car and the service I've received since Subaru didn't consider my problem to be worthy of addressing properly when it was just me complaining.
I also believe the trade-in value assigned the car was unbelievably low ($13.5K) for a March 2007 Forester Sports X with 7000 miles which did have some body work done for a non-structural scrape on the driver's side. But losing $10k in value in less than six months? I think low-balling the trade-in value was just a nice way to have the dealer and SOA combine to make it look like they were being generous while having me pay most of the cost of trading out of their lemon.
I just drove home in the cold rain last night, and even in the rain as I walked away from the car I could smell that bitter stale odor...of the engine with the manufacturing defect, and the car company that positions itself as the environmentally aware automaker but doesn't care for the drivers who have to suck on stale fumes from their vehicles.
What I need is to have a consumer advocate read my letter in a public forum, at which point the attitude would change and Subaru would suddenly be eager to resolve what was certainly an unfortunate misunderstanding.
I really don't like the way I was treated by customer service who try to deny the smell, then blame the smell on third-party alterations (the remote start and alarm installed by the dealer!), the misleading "don't quote me" scenario of an 80% coverage by Subaru being floated for two months only to get a 50% offer.
P.S. They knew about the body work from the start of the discussions, so that was no surprise. And I was told in no uncertain terms after I calmly expressed my dismay at the low offer that it was the only and final offer Subaru would make.
As a standup comedian, one of my advantages is I can turn this scenario into a funny bit that will make audiences laugh and think twice about who they hand their money to.
#157 of 225 Re: Engine Smell!? [aladwag]
Oct 10, 2007 (9:51 am)
They have a Guaranteed Trade-in Program right now so many owners are seeing the exact opposite - very high offers for their trades.
The damage may disqualify yours, though.
Still, keep fighting, sounds like you can do better.
#158 of 225 Re: Engine Smell!? [aladwag]
Oct 11, 2007 (8:20 am)
Undercoating getting sprayed on the engine is quite common (and I doubt it's limited to Subaru). Were that the problem then the tech would be correct in saying it's not fixable. However, the undercoating normally burns off after a few weeks at most so I can't see that being your problem.
Since the dealer's service dept is no help, it might be worth taking it to an independent mechanic to see if he can ID the problem then you could take it back to the dealer with specifics of what needs to be fixed.
#159 of 225 Re: Engine Smell!? [p0926]
Oct 11, 2007 (2:04 pm)
So you mean to tell me that you are hinging all this on one single tech who looked at it? Unfortunately in this world, you generally need several opinions to get a problem fixed. As I said I'd take a gander at it just cause I'm curious to see what the problem is. Having worked on Subies since about 1999, I've seen it all.
#160 of 225 Re: Engine Smell!? [paisan]
Oct 11, 2007 (3:25 pm)
I think he said the regional rep looked at it and didn't smell anything either.
I too am curious what the problem is. Maybe if he's in the NYC area he'll take you up on your offer.