Subaru Outback Timing Belt Warranty Concern

Asked by Apr 28, 2017 at 05:35 AM about the 2005 Subaru Outback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2005 Outback with roughly 135k miles.
Last May I had the headgaskets done at a
dealership in MA, and at that time replaced the
timing belt.

This past weekend the timing belt broke. I called the
dealer in MA informed me the repair was under
warranty.  I took the car to Timmons Subaru in Long
Beach, CA and have been told they're not sure why
the belt broke but they don't think it's a timing belt
issue, and that I need to pay them $1500 to pull
apart the engine so they can try to determine what
happened. That seems outrageous to me, and I've
lost confidence that I am being dealt with in good
faith. I am very concerned about it as I understand
that is often resulting engine damage, and up until
this point the car has run extremely well.

What are my next steps?

22 Answers

12,240

There are good timing belts and there are great timing belts ... Go buy a Kevlar belt ... they are over 3x as strong ... then use a good synthetic oil ////http://www.cosworth.com/products/performance- parts/kevlar-timing-belts/

64,145

There could be an issue with the engine that caused the belt to break. They are covering their bases. The broken belt may have been defective or may not have been. If the cause of the belt breaking is something other than a defective belt, then the repair will not be made under warranty.

103,545

I would ask them WHY they think it is an internal engine problem. Have them give you evidence. You could have another mechanic give their opinion as well. If it were my car I would tell them I am going to watch them disassemble the engine so I can see for my self what is going on. This is not an interference engine so the valves should not be bent no matter what. You could also call Subaru of America to discuss the issue.

103,545

If there are no internal defects are they going to eat the cost of disassembling and reassembling the engine?

12,240

You failed to say how many miles you put on the new belt (or I missed it)

103,545

Either the belt was defective or they damaged it when installing it or there is another engine problem. Do you know if the engine turns over OK without the belt?

There has been roughly 13k miles since the work was done. The warranty is for 1 year/unlimited miles. Also: @F_O_R The car does have an interference engine, so I am unclear how to determine if engine damage is caused by the timing belt breaking, or why the timing belt broke.

I wasn't having any trouble with the car before it stalled out and broke.

103,545

What engine do you have?

I looked it up. http://www.scoobyenthusiast.com/subaru- faq/which-subaru-engines-are-interference-what- subaru-engines-are-non-interference/

No, not turbo. It's a manual transmission, but I don't think that impacts the type of engine.

103,545

If you have the 4 cylinder SOHC engine it is NOT an interference engine.

It's a base model+ (a few comfort options), so it's not a powerful car.

103,545

The good news is your engine is not an interference engine which means no bent valves.

I am no expert, I can only tell you what has been communicated to me by both mechanics (the one I originally took the car to, and the dealer I transferred the car to with the expectation the work would be under warranty) and my own admittedly brief research seemed to confirm.

103,545

No matter - if the engine is damaged due to a defective belt they are on the hook.

That is the crux of the issue: The belt did break, but I can not prove that it broke because it was defective, and they want $1500 to investigate.

Additional question: The assembly was replaced in 2014 (not under warranty) and when they did the head gaskets they told me the belt was over-tensioned so we replaced it. The assembly has roughly 30k miles on it. I think I read that if a part was defective it was typically show up in the first 6 months to a year... is that accurate? When they did the head gaskets and replaced the belt, should they have been able to see if there was a problem with the assembly then?

103,545

Not sure what you mean by "assembly". Generally speaking a defective part will show up sooner rather than later but that is not written in stone. I think the bottom line is - are they going to refund your $1,500 if the belt was the problem?

103,545

I would call Subaru of America and discuss this issue with them. Tell them you do not think it is fair that you have to pay $1,500 for investigation into a warranty issue.

103,545

http://www.subaru.com/customer-support.html

103,545

It does not take $1,500 to remove the broken belt. Make sure that they give you the broken belt so you can have another Subaru mechanic look at it.

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