Subaru Dealership Customer Service?

z220580 6 September 2010 40

My ordeal from Rolfe Subaru in Phillip ACT for you people paying top dollars and expecting 5 stars treatment.

Sunday afternoon, I saw water dripping from under my car. I opened the bonnet and to my astonishment my radiator was leaking water. The plastic screw that is used to flush the radiator had melted and water was just pouring out from around the screw and in the middle of it. I thought, maybe the screw has gone lose, so I get a screw driver and try to tighten it up and bang, it all just gets worse and when I take the screw out, to my disbelief the lower part of it has melted and fallen into the radiator. There is a hole in the remaining screw which I managed to fill with a piece of rubber from the sole of a shoe and power glue.

So, Monday morning the first thing I do is drive straight to Rolfe Subaru in Phillip ACT from Queanbeyan NSW which is like a 25-30km drive with my leaking radiator and I pray to god that the hot water in the radiator does not bust open that screw. To be safe, I brought 3 litres of water along with me just in case.

By the way, I serviced my car at Rolfe Subaru in January 2009 and it cost me $2500, including a new radiator. This very leaking radiator that requires attention.

Long story short, the parts manager checks for the part into his fancy computer system and success, he finds it. I tell him that surely they need to give warranty on their parts. To my greatest disbelief, I am told that when they put in the new radiator, they used my existing screw so as to save me from buying new screws!!! Unbelievable, yes, a new radiator with second hand screw that is exposed to 90degree heat. So, I have to pay $19.71 for the new screw, which I do because I am in a rush to go to work and not in the mood to argue. The parts manager comes out with me to help me put the new screw in place and surprise surprise, the screw does not fit. He is puzzled, he can’t figure out why the screw won’t fit because he checked the part number and it all seems to fit the Car serial number. He calls his mechanic from the garage who tells him to try and find another screw from the store that might be deeper, which he does on the spot. He comes back with the new screws but still puzzled why none would fit. They start wondering what kind of radiator was put into my car for which they don’t stock the parts!!!

They both look at me and tell me “WE’RE VERY SORRY” there is nothing we can do. There is this radiator shop down the road in Phillip, maybe give him a try and he might have a screw that will fit your radiator. I am astonished, I am out of words, I am just plain mortified. The only reason why I ever went to Rolfe Subaru is so that if ever something goes wrong with my car, they give me the assurance of fixing it and providing me with Genuine parts that will not cause my car to fail but right now, they are telling me to drive off my car with a leaking radiator and hopefully someone somewhere might be able to fix my problem.

$2500 and all I got for a failed part is “SORRY”, I am never going there again.

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40 Responses to Subaru Dealership Customer Service?
Solidarity Solidarity 12:05 pm 06 Sep 10

So what, it’s leaking water. Watch the temp guage and stop being such a nancy. Book it in and get it fixed. NATRAD, Subaru, whatever. New Subaru parts carry a 1 year warrenty. Onviously when you had it serviced (almost 2 years ago) the “screw” was fine. Try dealing with Subaru themselves, pains in the ass, they seem to like changing part numbers and compatibilities on the fly for no reason.

They seemed to give you good service, dropping everything and rushing to your aid. Wish they were like that for me. Can you blame them for not having a screw in stock?

outdoormagoo outdoormagoo 12:48 pm 06 Sep 10

I recommend just going to a radiator specialist and asking them to look at it. All my dealings with Rolfe Subaru have been painful adn in the end I gave up and went elsewhere. Most mechanics can get you the same genuine parts with the same warranty, so it’s not worth the hassle. Besides that, most aftermarket parts are better than the genuine thing these days and most are cheaper too.

BTW I drive from the other side of Queanbeyan to Phillip everyday and it is 15.2km, not 25-30.

stereo henry stereo henry 1:05 pm 06 Sep 10

Sounds like it might not be a Subaru radiator – maybe a cheap chinese import, you wouldn’t know the difference until something like this happens. I smell a rat.

Genie Genie 1:19 pm 06 Sep 10

Try dealing with the Belconnen Holden service team.

They call you the next day asking if you PAID !!!

Clown Killer Clown Killer 1:23 pm 06 Sep 10

What the hell are you doing putting water in your radiator for anyway? That’s probably the start of your problems.

p1 p1 1:25 pm 06 Sep 10

If they put the radiator in for you, they really should be able to check what sort it was, and find the correct screw. I find it amazing that a new radiator doesn’t come with they, but hey, car manufacturers aren’t in the business of making thing easy.

Sgt.Bungers Sgt.Bungers 1:35 pm 06 Sep 10

Personally I steer clear of dealers for servicing. They are simply overpriced.

Much rather go to a local mechanic who can remember my name, remember my car, and charge less. Current car, a little Mazda 2 runabout… Slaven Mazda quoted me $220 for a standard log book service. Mitchell Service Centre charged me $190 including the use of fully synthetic oil (at my request).

If you get no joy out of Rolfe, try NATRAD in Philip. I’ve used them a couple of times for engine cooling problems over the last 10 years. Never had to take the same car back.

troll-sniffer troll-sniffer 2:16 pm 06 Sep 10

To my rather practised eye this post would appear to be from someone who expects the world to revolve around them. The key to my reasoning? The plastic screw bit of the diatribe.

Now forgive me for being just a little on the pedantic side but I would dearly love to know how a plastic screw has melted when exposed to the temperatures maintained within a radiator? Ninety degrees you say. Well let’s up the ante and go for 110 degrees, in a pressurised system. 110 degrees will not melt any normal plastic that I am familiar with that would be used as a radiator part. This would indicate to my mechanically-savvy brain that the radiator may well have been subject to far greater heat than is normal. This can occur if the radiator is not regularly checked (as part of being a responsible car owner) and boils, and the system runs out of water or coolant and super high temps are reached.

The other aspect of the story that is puzzling is the mention of water. All the Subarus I know of use coolant, you know, yucky green liquid, that is used to protect against corrosion and act as anti-freeze. Using just water in Canberra will almost certainly result in freezing, leading to leaks and other damage in the cooling system.

I suspect we might be getting closer to the full story now…

ConanOfCooma ConanOfCooma 3:31 pm 06 Sep 10

troll-sniffer said :

The other aspect of the story that is puzzling is the mention of water. All the Subarus I know of use coolant, you know, yucky green liquid, that is used to protect against corrosion and act as anti-freeze.

I thought you mixed the coolant with water, to save you from having to buy the water and plus-sized plastic containter that holds the mix?

All in all, it boils down to that Rolfe having NO IDEA what they are doing – They don’t know what radiator went in, they can’t match it with their Subaru parts, and they don’t even know how to replace the screw. Sounds like a really cash worthy and professional service to me, but not very mechanically minded.

Perhaps the Sniffer can go and work for them?

Moose Moose 3:43 pm 06 Sep 10

This kind of a post makes me uber sad to have someone like this driving a Subaru. They’re beautiful cars, with often wonderful owners who can care for a car properly. But when someone like this comes along for a bitch and a moan? Really mate?From all said, Subi dealership gave great service. Just because they don’t have the right screw is no need to go onto a public blog for a moan. Go back to the livejournal, myspace, whatever, and have a go there. Heck, while you’re still on the internet, go to carsales and list that Subaru, or learn to look after your car instead of moan about how the world isn’t revolving around you.

Affirmative Action Man Affirmative Action Man 4:01 pm 06 Sep 10

Never, ever, ever get your servicing done by a dealer if you can help it.

Rolfe have built expensive new premises & now charge outrageous prices.

I’ve stopped going there & now get my suby serviced by Haig Park in Mitchell. They are Subaru specialists & charge 30 to 50% less than the big dealers for their work.

They also give you the option of using 2nd hand parts to save $$$.

Grail Grail 4:03 pm 06 Sep 10

Just ‘cos you own the dealership Moose, doesn’t give you free rein to go blaming the victim 😛

What kind of operation are these guys running where they put non-genuine kit into a car being serviced at a dealership?

Kizzle Kizzle 4:12 pm 06 Sep 10

I went there with a 2000 model WRX with some suspected boost\fuel problems and because I thought well if anyone would know it would be them… wrong. They gave me a quote which was up near $5000, new turbo, gaskets etc. LOL I took it to Total Traction Services in belco and they cleaned the air filter and sensor and replaced the spark plugs for $100 I think, stuff I could have done myself, but I honestly I’m not the biggest fan of working on cars and at the time I had no tools or time.

I did had a workmate who did buy a brand new STI from them and blew the engine up, not sure on the details, but to get it replaced he went through A LOT of trouble with them and hates the place now… Subi payed for the engine, but Rolf made him pay for the labour :-\

imarty imarty 4:14 pm 06 Sep 10

I agree with the above comments regarding the use of water. How old is the Subie, maybe that’s why they don’t have the right part as it’s old?
Also, you haven’t had your car serviced in over 20 months? And you’re wondering why something went wrong?

Pork Hunt Pork Hunt 4:22 pm 06 Sep 10

Grail said :

Just ‘cos you own the dealership Moose, doesn’t give you free rein to go blaming the victim 😛

What kind of operation are these guys running where they put non-genuine kit into a car being serviced at a dealership?

The dude said they reused the screw to save him buying a new one. If the old screw fitted the new radiator, then perhaps the new one is genuine??

Wraith Wraith 5:06 pm 06 Sep 10

Ozawkie , Kansas, December 12, 2008

A Kansas farm wife called the local phone company to report her telephone failed to ring when her friends called – and that on the few occasions, when it did ring, her dog always moaned right before the phone rang.

The telephone repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog or senile lady. He climbed a telephone pole, hooked in his test set, and dialed the subscriber’s house.

The phone didn’t ring right away, but then the dog moaned and the telephone began to ring.

Climbing down from the pole, the telephone repairman found:

1 . The dog was tied to the telephone system’s ground wire with a steel chain and collar.

2. The wire connection to the ground rod was loose.

3. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current when the number was called.

4.. After a couple of jolts, the dog would start moaning and then urinate.

5. The wet ground would complete the circuit, thus causing the phone to ring.

Which demonstrates that some problems CAN be fixed by

pissing and moaning.

cranky cranky 5:26 pm 06 Sep 10

Thank you for that Wraith. I needed it.


Wraith Wraith 5:51 pm 06 Sep 10

cranky said :

Thank you for that Wraith. I needed it.



I-filed I-filed 6:11 pm 06 Sep 10

Do yourself a big favour and take your Subaru to Darren at A&D Automotive 62809911 in Canberra Ave. Darren will save you $$$ by charging less than the dealers, and only carrying out repairs that are needed, look after your car well (he is a Subaru tragic), AND give you the courtesy car for ten bucks for the day if it’s available.

Doc Dogg Doc Dogg 6:28 pm 06 Sep 10

I’d be willing to bet the “melted” screw had been forcefully screwed in and had snapped inside the radiator. I guess I’m one of the few here to expect decent service from places like this, but then again I’m new to Canberra 🙂

I generally go by the rule that if I am to spend money to someone else for providing me a service, they have to provide the same or better service than I could provide myself. In other words, if I go to a pricey restaurant I want to be provided with food that is equal to or better than something I could cook at home. If I get my car serviced I expect them to have a greater knowledge of cars than I do and use parts and tools that are better than what I could use myself. It goes the other way too, when someone pays me to do a job I make sure they feel they are getting their moneys worth.

If I was in the OP’s shoes I would feel ripped off as well, just because something has an arbitrary 1 year warranty doesn’t mean it should break down just after that time. I would have at least expected the dealership to fix the problem, not do a Barbara from Bankworld!

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