I found an auto service shop that doesn't suck: Dear Subaru this is for you

Dear Subaru,

Grab a snack. This might take awhile. It's a story of love...and hate...and love.

At the end of 2010 it was time for a new car. As the owner of a sustainable living company, I was drawn to Subaru's environmental reputation.

"Get a Subaru" friends said. "They're environmentally friendly!" "They have great customer service!" "Their cars last FOREVER!" "They're fabulous to deal with if there's a problem!"

I fell hook, line, and sinker.

subaru-storyWhile shopping for the car was a great experience, my gut said to run far away when it came time for signing the papers.

But, I signed...and bought the extended warranty (I know, I know.)

When the humid Chicago summer came around, my AC stopped working. Actually, it blew hot air just fine.

In they back of my mind I heard "They're fabulous to deal with if there's a problem!" which eased my aggravation for taking to the dealer for repairs six months in to owning the car.

Apparently...since I drive on the highway, a rock came off a truck tire, went through the front grill, poked a hole in the blah, blah, blah and that's why the freon is leaking. Sorry, no, it's not covered by your extended warranty.

Um, I'm calling bullshit on the story- sounds a little like the JFK bullet theory- but, if I take it elsewhere for service I'll completely void my (6 month old) "extended warranty."

Bitterly fixed it...moved on.

Years later, I received notification for two recalls: seat belt latch and brake corrosion (apparently California doesn't see the same salt, snow, and cold we have in Chicago). Ok, safety's important.

Made an appointment at same dealership, they knew which recalls I was coming in for...4 HOURS LATER...oh, we don't have the parts for the seat-belt latch. But don't worry, it's for attaching car seats and your kids are older now. And, since rain is in the forecast we aren't washing cars in for service today either.

WTF. This was NOT the Subaru experience I signed up for.

Time goes by, another recall...apparently the first brake anti-corrosion spray thing didn't work as well as they wanted, so Subaru would like to redo it.

No problem. Because, safety. Brakes are kinda important.

Call to schedule the appointment...oh, your car doesn't need it. You sure? Yeah, we ran your VIN number you're fine with the first one.


Another year or two goes by, I'm still receiving Subaru reminders for the recalls. But...

    1. not using the car seat latch.
    2. they said I don't need the brake corrosion one
    3. I don't have four hours to kill

Now, it's 2017....

I'm adding oil in between oil changes because it's burning oil: "Subaru's tend to run a little hot."
Not only do I know how to change my headlights & tail-lights (see video below), I keep spare bulbs in my car because they burn out continually.
95,000 miles and...

Finally, sick of receiving recall notices I scheduled another appointment...at a different dealership.

Poor Justin.

Had he known who scheduled the eight am appointment, he probably would've taken an early lunch break and let someone else take care of me.

Within three seconds of running my VIN number he knew my car needed BOTH recalls. And, the seat-belt one, yeah, that's not for a car seat latch...it's the actual buckle.

So, you're telling me my kids (sorry to those I carpooled) haven't been completely safe these past couple years? Yeah.
He was as stumped as I was why I didn't "need" the brake one fixed, because clearly the VIN shows I do.

Just in idle chat, I asked Justin how many people tell him that they HATE their Subaru. He kind of laughed, looked at me and said "Wait, you're serious? No one! Why? What's wrong with yours?"

So I began the saga.

We talked more about the oil and he asked if they could run a short-block test....which included a FREE oil change. Oh, and while they're doing it, we'll be happy to drive you home or to Starbucks so you don't have to wait here.

What?? I don't have to sit here for 4 hours?

Ok, let's say this short-block thing is a problem, what does that mean? Essentially a new engine? Fan-effing-tanstic.
Don't worry, we'll give you a loaner car.
Not really the car I'm worried about, how much is a new engine?
What do you mean? Subaru would cover it.

Wait, what?!

So, this is what everyone was talking about.

Long story short (I know, a little late for that), I now have a loaner car and my short block/engine/whatever it takes is being replace...for free.

Granted, I'm still not sure this will solve all of the problems with my car, but Justin Woods, you have restored my trust in auto service and Subaru.

I'm sorry if you feel like you drew the short straw having to deal with me...and teach me how to turn on a key-less car. But, today you're my everyday hero. Working with you is the first time I haven't felt like I'm getting ripped off or lied to at the dealership.

Thank you Hawk Auto in Joliet. I'd tell you to tell Justin that I sent you, but he may run out for an early lunch!

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