A chicken or egg question: can a cracked/ruptured rear control arm cause other suspension parts to bend?

Asked by Sep 25, 2015 at 02:03 PM about the 2010 Subaru Outback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The rear control arm on my 2010 Subaru Outback cracked into two pieces
at the upper bend.  The first gas station I came to after feeling the back
end get real funky happened to be an alignment shop. He replaced the
control arm and then found that wheel was way out of place. There was no
evidence of tire damage or body damage.  Subaru of America had my car
flat-bed towed to a dealership. The dealership claims that the crack was
due to "outside impact" even though there's no body evidence of this.
They say that it could have been a low item such as a rock or concrete
parking block.
I just can't imagine that my car could have suffered enough impact to bend
and break suspension parts without me knowing it.
The alignment guy and I think that the suspension parts got bent because
I was driving on the highway with no control arm. (I couldn't feel the funky
back end until I touched the brakes).
I would appreciate any help making a case for this to Subaru.

13 Answers

23,225

Wow, got a couple of questions, are you the original owner? Do you think that someone took this car off road and damaged the undercarriage? How many miles are on your car? So, you say that there is no outside impact which leads me to believe that someone really abused this car, certainly not you. Did you purchase it from a new car dealership?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I bought the car new in 2010. I am the only owner and sole driver. I live in the suburbs and the most off-road I've ever gotten is, well, nowhere unless you count a dirt parking lot at a state park 50 yards from the paved road. It has under 60,000 miles on it. This defies my imagination too. How would I not be away of an impact so great that it can crack a thick piece of steel? How could something low enough to fit under the bumper cause that much damage? Why wouldn't my tire just roll over it? This is the $2,000 question.

23,225

You know for a car with such great road clearance, 8.7 inches, it's hard to imagine that you merely ran over something, I'm sure you would have known if you were trying to travel over large boulders, we're you? Not ordinary rocks or parking burms, besides, who drives over those intentionally? Come on, I can't believe they told you that?

23,225

Is there any possibility that you took your car in for some kind of tire services and alignment and the shop forgot to reattach something in your suspension? A dirt road unless you fell into a large ditch is not going to afford your car? And, it sounds like you don't do that often? I'm just wondering how long ago you had your car serviced and replaced your tires? You might think that a responsible garage would call that to your attention? Have you been using the same mechanic since you purchased the car? I certainly don't get how you can purchase the car new, drive it carefully and encounter a problem like this with just normal driving. And, the Outback is designed to do light off road, so, if they tell you it's your fault that you went on an unpaved road, that's baloney.

23,225

By the way, 60,000 miles is nothing for this car, in fact, it's 20,000 miles below the normal mileage for a 2010. Look it up on Kelly Blue Book or NADA. I have 73,000 on mine. I took it to Sequoia Kings Canyon and went down a non maintained road with significant potholes with no problems whatsoever. The car is designed for this and handled the rough terrain well, you just have to take it slow. Got us in an out of there like a trooper. These vehicles are much more rugged than they appear. I still think that someone failed to properly attach something on the underside of your car.

Just spoke to Subaru again.. they say that the sub-frame is bent. But there are just minor scratches on the body in that location.

23,225

And, you've never been in an accident? So, by Subaru, I imagine you took this to the dealer for inspection? They want $2,000 to repair it?

23,225

Yes, I just re-read your original post, let the dealer fix it. I would definitely be interested in knowing what they think caused this damage. Are they saying that you shouldn't take this car on dirt roads?

23,225

Do you live in an area with inclement weather, salted roads? And, do you think you have any rust problems with your car? What would make this so fragile on the undercarriage?

23,225

Aside from these problems, how else is your car holding up? I imagine you have the 2.5 Four with the CVT transmission? And, do you like it? Any other service issues?

23,225

Vicki - one final thought, do you have mechanical breakdown insurance for your car or an extended warranty? We have a 2009 Prius and the wheel bearing went out, we paid the $100 deductible and they repaired our car. If you purchased the car new, I'm sure they offered that to you for 7 years or 100,000 miles. I know that Subaru has a 60,000 miles warranty on parts of the car. Maybe they can do something to help you, good luck.

23,225

The Subaru warranty is on the power train for 5 years or 60,000 miles, so, I'm not sure you can get them to fix it for free, but, it never hurts to ask.

23,225

Vicki - I imagine that you didn't take the extended warranty / mechanical breakdown insurance or else you would have jumped right on this solution? So, what are you going to do? You could plead your case with Subaru or just bite the bullet and have the car fixed? I don't see any other recommendation than just have it professionally repaired, you're not going to do this yourself? I wouldn't mess around with suspension problems and everyday driving, a bad mixture for sure. Wishing you the best.

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