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09 Outback 2.5 Turbo
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A little over 3 years ago, I broke down and bought the car I wanted, an '09 2.5XT. I’ve only had one other new car ever, but they always had to be practical. We’d pretty much decided 10 years ago that we wanted an Outback, but we needed another pickup, so when we didn’t need the pickup again we decided we’d go ahead and get the Outback. And the only one I could find was exactly what I’d order if I was ordering from the factory – 5-speed, turbo, sunroof, high end stereo, seat heaters, all the stuff I wanted. I knew I’d spend more for gas, but it was still pretty good fuel economy, so what the heck. At the ripe old age of 52 I splurged, and for the last three years I thought I’d finally found a car I liked from a good company.

Then, exactly 3 months out of warranty, the clutch starts squeaking, so I take it in. 30,500 miles on the clock, About 95% of which I drove the car, and about 90% of which was highway miles (we live and work out in the country), and the clutch needs replacement according to the dealer. No adjusting, just needs replacement, and presumably I have destroyed the clutch. I don’t know about you, but the first lesson I learned when I was learning to drive was NOT to use the clutch pedal as a convenient foot rest.

I find out now that my cost to operate this vehicle for the last 39 months has just risen by $.04 per mile. Since there’s nothing that I could have done to prevent this, it is effectively like finding out that I now have to fork over another $.80 per gallon for all the gas I burned since August 2009. Not because of anything I’ve done, the car that I used to like just ate almost $1,200. So here’s my dilemma: since I can’t apparently do anything to avoid this occurring again after the next 30,000 miles, and your mechanics have given me no reason to think that the new clutch is going to fare any better than the last, I have to assume that I’ll be replacing it again at around 60,000 miles.

This car ceases to be economical at that point. At that point, I’m effectively burning $5 gas while everybody else is burning $4 gas. So my other option, I guess, is to get rid of the car and find one from a manufacturer that will stand behind its mistakes as well as its successes.

Sucks to be me.
 

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A little over 3 years ago, I broke down and bought the car I wanted, an '09 2.5XT. I’ve only had one other new car ever, but they always had to be practical. We’d pretty much decided 10 years ago that we wanted an Outback, but we needed another pickup, so when we didn’t need the pickup again we decided we’d go ahead and get the Outback. And the only one I could find was exactly what I’d order if I was ordering from the factory – 5-speed, turbo, sunroof, high end stereo, seat heaters, all the stuff I wanted. I knew I’d spend more for gas, but it was still pretty good fuel economy, so what the heck. At the ripe old age of 52 I splurged, and for the last three years I thought I’d finally found a car I liked from a good company.

Then, exactly 3 months out of warranty, the clutch starts squeaking, so I take it in. 30,500 miles on the clock, About 95% of which I drove the car, and about 90% of which was highway miles (we live and work out in the country), and the clutch needs replacement according to the dealer. No adjusting, just needs replacement, and presumably I have destroyed the clutch. I don’t know about you, but the first lesson I learned when I was learning to drive was NOT to use the clutch pedal as a convenient foot rest.

I find out now that my cost to operate this vehicle for the last 39 months has just risen by $.04 per mile. Since there’s nothing that I could have done to prevent this, it is effectively like finding out that I now have to fork over another $.80 per gallon for all the gas I burned since August 2009. Not because of anything I’ve done, the car that I used to like just ate almost $1,200. So here’s my dilemma: since I can’t apparently do anything to avoid this occurring again after the next 30,000 miles, and your mechanics have given me no reason to think that the new clutch is going to fare any better than the last, I have to assume that I’ll be replacing it again at around 60,000 miles.

This car ceases to be economical at that point. At that point, I’m effectively burning $5 gas while everybody else is burning $4 gas. So my other option, I guess, is to get rid of the car and find one from a manufacturer that will stand behind its mistakes as well as its successes.

Sucks to be me.
When I was replacing our 2001 5spd MT - with a new 2010 model I spoke with an old family friend who at the time was the manager of a Subaru dealers - shop. My family has known him for over 20yrs because he use to service our ski boat and other cars at his custom Drag car and boat design shop.

My discussion with him was about Subaru's Manual transmissions.

He said look it doesn't matter which make or model there is a very simple rule for manual transmissions today.

If you can't get 100,000 miles of service out of a clutch - he HIGHLY recommends you get an Automatic transmission in your next car. He said the number of completely toasted and done clutches they see coming into the shop covering the full range of the Subaru line up would shock just about anyone and he said the crazy thing is its the same trend pretty much seen in all over makes.

He said that they see enough Clutches come it at 30,000 miles completely burnt up that if they are not super busy will spend time with the car owner teaching them how to properly use the clutch. However they get so many he said they probably only teach 1 out of 10 drivers how to properly use it.

I asked if the turbo models are more common vs the non turbo he laughed and said you would think so but no. Keep in mind he builds custom drag cars engines that run Alcohol in his own business.

So this is what he asked me when I asked him which way I should go for towing my boat and trailers. How far did you go on the old car clutch? My response was 140,000 miles clutch at 10% left on it when the bearing started to let go.

His response was MT is fine for you but 100K and under get a AT.


My advice to you is this - if you have owned the car since day 1 - have someone who knows how to properly use a clutch ride around with you and the other users of the car and then go over their observation and then have them teach proper clutch use.


Having said all of this - Just last week I was sitting in stop and go traffic on a hill in the Bay Area - an every day thing for most of us - and the Forester in front of me was smoking so bad that people were actually trying to get away from it. As I got closer I could smell it - the smoke was from the clutch which was being used to hold the Forester in position while stopped on the hill. The driver was a middle aged man and probably is wondering why his car always smells like something is burning. LOL

I'm sure he posted something similar to your post over on the Forester forum or will be very soon.
 

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By the way there is nothing WRONG with having some one teach you how to properly use a clutch. When its wrong is to burn one up and then claim something is wrong with the car.
 

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I bought my outback xt new in 2008. I have over 50,000 miles of hard use (I wore the shoulders of the stock tires to the cords in in 10,000 miles) and haven't had any problems with the clutch. It is possible that whoever owned it before you had already caused damage to it.
 

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Was at the dealer today for an oil change and tire rotation at 97 K on a 2010 2.5 MT outback. They said my clutch was thin. My guess, is I could probably have got 5-10K more out of it, but I figure what's the difference... if the entire car makes it to 200 K with one clutch change, I'm happy. They've gave me a 2015 Outback loaner for a couple of days and I was on my way. I'm sure I could have spent a few hours calling for quotes, second opinions and estimates, but for the sake of a couple of hundred bucks, I was happy to be out of there.
 

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Car: 2008 Tribeca, 2010 LGT, Sold: 2005 XT Limited
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"clutch starts squeaking" sounds like a throwout bearing, not the clutch pad. But everyone would replace the clutch pad at the same time.

Did you also learn to put the car in neutral and let the clutch out at every stop light? That's what causes most throw out bearing wear...
 

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65,000 miles on my bought new 09 MT and still going strong. @tdelker, whats common practice, leaving clutch disengaged and keeping it in 1st?
 

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2003 Outback Limited 2.5L H4 5MT Regatta Red Pearl w/ lift and audio system
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Don't assume that the next clutch will last only 30,000 miles. If it does, then the likelihood that the short lifespan of the clutch/throwout bearing is a result of poor driver habit goes way up. However, most people aren't having to replace their clutches are 30,000 miles. Replace it and go on with your life. Don't dread the 60,000 mile mark.

People are assuming that this is definitely your fault. Guys...sometimes parts fail prematurely. It just happens.
 

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I'm noticing a slight burning smell from under the car (Outback 2010 MT) when I get out of the car. I assume its the new clutch? Is this normal?
 

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I has car.
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Don't assume that the next clutch will last only 30,000 miles. If it does, then the likelihood that the short lifespan of the clutch/throwout bearing is a result of poor driver habit goes way up. However, most people aren't having to replace their clutches are 30,000 miles. Replace it and go on with your life. Don't dread the 60,000 mile mark.

People are assuming that this is definitely your fault. Guys...sometimes parts fail prematurely. It just happens.
+1 ^^

Sometimes stuff breaks. Probably not OP's fault and probably will get much better service out of the 2nd one.

Also, get another quote. There's nothing incredibly difficult or weird about R&R'ing a Subaru clutch, it's just time consuming as either the trans has to come down or the engine has to come out, plus the turbo is kind of in the way of a couple of bellhousing bolts. Doesn't have to be removed but it's definitely annoying.

It's still at least a $1k job most places but odds are that's $500 less than what the dealer is probably asking.
 
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