Kelly Subaru, Chattanooga TN
Hi All, I was hoping that my first post to the forums would be about something cool/fun/outrageous I did to/with/under my Forester, but alas, here I am in the dealer reviews forum.
So here’s my not so great experience with Kelly Subaru.
Day 1: Drop off car early for scheduled replacement of leaking steering rack. Advised that repair should be complete by end of day. End of day, I call service rep and learn that the new part wasn’t ordered.
Day 2: Get call from service advisor at end of day, car is ready, but not enough time to pick up, so on to…
Day 3: Arrive early to settle the bill and pick up car. Car arrives at pick-up area. Open the driver’s door to the sight of grease and dirt all over the driver’s seat cushion and back, and dirt and grease on the floor, steering wheel, and arm rest. Beige seats.
Apologies and hand wringing from the service rep. She promises to get it cleaned up and make it right. Tells me she will inform the service manager. End of day, I call to be informed that the car isn’t ready, so on to…
Day 4: Midday I call to check on car. No one knows anything about the car. Service rep from previous day is not in, didn’t inform the manager or anyone about the situation with the car. So, the service manager promises to make it right. End of day I get the call that the car is ready. Apologies all around, coupon for free oil change, and the car is clean. Cleaner than it’s been in a long time. So I’m miffed but glad to have my car back, and I’m set to write it all off as one of those “bad days” that everyone has. Except…
As I am driving out of the service lot onto the street I hear a loud clunk from under the car. Every bump in the road results in a clunk under the car from the area of the repair. Clunk, clunk, bang, clunk. Not subtle, not occasionally. Loud. Every time.
So, immediately back to Kelly Subaru. Again with the apologies, and a promise to get their best mechanic on it. Half an hour later the car is back with an explanation that “something” wasn’t bolted down. I didn’t press for details. Just wanted to get the **** outta there.
So, there it is, four days for a four hour repair. But wait, there’s more!
Mrs. complained that the steering wasn’t right, shudders when turning and noise. I checked the steering oil level and it was a bit low, so I toped it off and checked the drive belt. The tension was a bit slack, so I gave the tensioner a couple turns. Those measures had no effect on the performance of the steering, so I decided it was time to jack the car up and get a look at the technician’s work.
It is not pretty. Both boots are torqued and crushed somehow so the bellows don’t lie naturally. One is twisted so bad that there is now a gap between the boot and the rack body. There is oil everywhere, much more than before it was serviced. The supply lines to and from the pump have been zip tied to the rack housing mount for some reason. I know that is not SOP for Subaru. They do not tie a rubber hose to a wear point without a bushed standoff. Hopefully I’ll be able to post photos. I was stunned. This is not the work of someone who takes pride in their work.
I had a conversation with the service manager trying to understand how all this could happen. His explanation was that the tech was new and “had issues.” My question was, how can an inexperienced tech with “issues” work on a car’s steering without supervision and inspection of his work? The answer was a shrug.
On the plus side, all the folks at Kelly Subaru are friendly. The concierge service is quick and easy, and the waiting area is comfortable (alas, too many TV’s). I’ll trade all that for a surly mechanic who knows what he’s doing.
Not good! Time to find a new workshop!
Wooow. That's nuts. I'd definitely be pissed after that. My expectations of dealer shops are definitely low, but not THAT low. If you don't get some money back on labor cost at this point I'd be surprised.
In the future I'd look for a different non-dealer shop or even reach out to the local Subaru community, which is healthy in that area. I guarantee there's a knowledgeable gearhead nearby who would do that swap for you for the cost of beer and pizza. It's a pretty simple job.
I'm not a big fan of dealer shops either, but the Mrs. is going to buy a new or near new Subaru in a couple years, so this was a test to see how they would do. Since the dealer quote was virtually identical to the neighborhood shops, why not let them do the work? What could go wrong with work like this, right? (ironic emoji here)
The car goes back to Kelly tomorrow, so I'm going to be optimistic and hope I can report back here with good news.
Here’s an update, I hope this can get a bump.
Thankfully, the service manager at Kelly was prompt in addressing the problems detailed in my original post. I have no doubt everyone there were sincerely trying to make things right.
After three weeks and a couple day-trips through the mountains I’m pretty confident the steering rack is right.
Tomorrow I’m taking it back to follow up on some of the remaining issues. With luck, we’ll be able to put this all behind us.
BTW The loaner Legacy was a nice touch, it has the mrs looking up the product line.
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