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2003 Forester X
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Howdy folks,

Sorry in advance for putting this in the wrong forum...not sure which subforum it should be in!

I have a 2003 Forester X (N/A) with 69k. At 49k, I had the front O2 sensor replaced (by a dealership).

My fuel economy over the last 8-10k has decreased by about 3-4 mpg, and over the last few months I have smelled fuel in the cabin. The check engine light came on last week and it ran the P0420 code...which could mean front O2 sensor problems. Because of the other "symptoms," I am thinking that a faulty sensor may be causing a rich Air/Fuel ratio, which results in the lower mpg and fuel smell.

The problem is, it was taken to the dealer for that repair at 49k because of a breakdown...and that dealer is 2 hours away. Do I even have a case for a warranty claim or anything on this? It seems like if the O2 sensor is the case, it should last much longer than 20k.

What would you all suggest doing? Thanks so much in advance...any advice is appreciated!

Ben
 

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2007 Forester LL Bean
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8 Posts
The federal 80K warranty only covers the cat, ECU, and the OBD system. O2 sensors are only covered for 24K on a new vehicle under the federal mandate.

-tried to post the direct link to the epa site, but I'm not allowed yet-
 

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Premium Member
2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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3,319 Posts
The federal 80K warranty only covers the cat, ECU, and the OBD system. O2 sensors are only covered for 24K on a new vehicle under the federal mandate.

-tried to post the direct link to the epa site, but I'm not allowed yet-
This is true, this was my fight with Subaru when I owned MY02 Forester. 5 front O2 sensors in 59K. The first 2 were covered by the 3/36 warranty. The last 3, I had to pay for.
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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4,255 Posts
Ben,

My take on the various warranty documents is that your 2003 vehicle located in SC is covered by the Federal emissions warranty only. The original O2 sensor(s) is (was) covered for either 2 years / 24K miles or 3 years / 36K miles. Subaru may have warranted the replacement for one year. Check the warranty docs that came with your car for details.

The 8 year / 80K warranty is limited to the cat, the ECM, and the OBD. The CA warranty doesn't apply to SC, and the PZEV warranty doesn't apply to your car.

This stuff can get tricky. The 15 year / 150K mile PZEV warranty extends the 3 yr/50K CA warranty in CA and certain other states (i.e., NY), but it's useless to me in VA.

I agree the O2 sensor(s) should last longer than 49K or 20K miles. I have four 02 sensors on my pickup, and, after 120K miles, one or more seems to have failed, so I'm getting ready to replace all four (they're relatively cheap for the truck). Our old minivan had >100K miles on it when we sold it last year, and it was still running on the original O2 sensor(s).

There may be another problem in your car's engine that's causing the sensor(s) to fail. For example, an engine that burns too much oil can cause an O2 sensor failure.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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P0420 is set by the rear sensor, and is supposed to be for cat inefficiency, although its usually the actual sensor. However in your case, I would bet the actual cat is failing.

IF the front O2 was off enough to trigger the rear O2 sensor code, it should trigger its own CEL.

You could also have a fuel injection issue, or a loose hose clamp. If its not getting quite enough fuel and running a bit lean, it could also cause the issues.
 
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