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Discussion Starter #1
I recently purchased a "new" car which was used by the dealer. It is a Suburu Outback Legacy LLBean model. It has 5500 miles on it. I'm getting 13.5mpg city. I think this car is advertised to get 20mpg. Do you think I should bring the car in? I'm a good driver and I don' t idle the car. What could be the problem?
 

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What kind of driving do you do most, city, highway? Do you drive it short distances only, like to work? Cold climate right now? When you get more miles on it, your mileage should rise also, but @ 5k things should be set in their way by now. Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'd consider my driving city. I drive a few miles at a time locally. I don't think I've done any highway driving yet. I just know that the car is supposed to get 20mpg city and I'm only getting 13.5. Doesn't that seem unusual?
 

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13.5 mpg does sound pretty low. Are you in a cold region of the country? I know that when it gets really cold out, my mpg tend to drop off. I'm not sure cold weather would account for mileage that bad though. :8: My car is a 2000 base model 5 speed and I get around 21 - 22 during city travel and about 26 on the Hwy. Stick around, there are some pretty knowledgeable people on here and I'm sure someone can help.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I live near Philly and although we've had a very cold winter, the past week has been more moderate. I have an automatic transmission if that makes a difference. Mostly I drive 2-4 miles at a time. My car doesn't have anything heavy in it.
 

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First off let me say welcome to Outback.org! :D

Well let me say that your MPG doesn't sound right at all. I may be able to give you a little insight although I'd still reccommend you go and talk to the dealership you bought it from. Here's a few things I can think of:

1. Winter: All cars MPG drops in the winter due to colder temperatures plain and simple.

2. Short trips: You say that you usually drive 2-4 at a time, your engine may not be fully "warmed up" when you drive from point A to Point B. You engine WILL consume more gas at startup until it is at normal operating temperature.

3. Check your tires, tire pressure, oil, etc. These may not be the ultimate factor although they can certainly contribute to the problem.

Under those conditions I can see that how your OB would get lower than normal MPG. That being said anything below 15 MPG with normal easy driving under your conditions seems like a problem that should be addressed to the dealership you bought it from. You may have a fuel line leak or something of that sort, let your Subaru technician at the dealer check it out thoroghly and hopefully it will all work out. If they try to BS you come back here and tell us and we'll all try to think of something else.

Believe me, I have many resources I can pool in the automotive world to help you out.
 

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Thanks, I appreciate your help. I actually phoned them up today and they treated me like I was an idiot. "Are you SURE you calculated the MPG correctly?" "Have you been going to the same gas station all the time?" "You know the MPG listed on the car is under an unrealistic government controlled environment." Geesh, I might as well have an SUV!
 

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Another thing I thought of was if you are using at least 91 octane gas in your car? That is the reccommended fuel and I know for a fact that if you don't use it you will get lower MPG.

As far as your dealer, which dealer did you buy it from? I did a dealer serch at the Subaru site and there are 10 dealers within 20 miles of Philly. If they treated you badly take it to a different dealer. If that doesn't work out I would reccommend you go to the dealer in Cherry Hill, NJ. Lets put it this way, if that dealer doesn't set it straight you can go to SOA HQ in Cherry Hill and make a complaint. It may sound a little far off but if you have a serious problem with your new car (which this certainly is) and no dealer can seem to help you out I can almost guarantee that someone at the HQ will stick a foot in someone's arse to get them to help. You never know, I know a few guys at the SOA HQ that I'm sure would help you out that can squash anything a dealer trys to BS you with.

If your dealer doesn't help you out, take it to another. If they don't help you out try the one in Cherry Hill, if not them take it to the HQ. I'm sure that anyone who goes directly therre to file a complaint will get heard. Its your Subaru Chain of Command if you will.

I'd love to live in Philly and drive a Subaru, I be hangin' around the SOA HQ all the time! They'd probably give me my own parking spot next to the CEO, well maybe not :p
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am using the highest octane. I will call the dealer tomorrow and set up an appointment. I just hope I'm not doing something to damage the car while I drive it now. I bought it from the dealer in Newtown Square, PA. It kills me because supposedly the owner was the one driving my car before me and he never noticed the problem.
 

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I think 13.5 is possible given the incredibly short trip length. Also, if there is any idling/warm-up, and/or long periods between stopping the engine (it cools down a lot before getting a chance to warm back up) and satrting it up again. That's not to say you couldn't investigate some other issues, thermostat stuck open, bad temp sensor. Is there a driveabilty problem? low power,stumbling,rough idle,CEL, etc.?
What were yo driving before and how did your actual mileage compare to the gumint numbers on that vehicle?
Also, the ECU will not begin its adaptive learning unless it goes through a few warm-up cycles - most cars won't get warmed up unless they travel maybe 5-7 miles. You may be running on the ECU's internal air/fuel map. You could try to clear the ECU and see if it MIGHT adapt to your driving style, assuming it is still adapted to the dealership's driving style. It can take a LOT of drive cycles to change.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I don't think there is a driveability problem except possibly that the car pulls slightly to the right if I center the driving wheel and then let go. I haven't checked anything mechanical on the car (I don't know how!) but supposedly the car just went through the 7500 mile check up right before I purchased it EVEN THOUGH it only had around 5500 miles on it. I called the service department to confirm that and have papers from them.

My previous car was a 1996 Ford Taurus wagon that I originally purchased new. I stopped checking mpg a long time ago but I'd guess I got around 18mpg city.
 

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The ECU is gonna stay in 'open loop' mode untill it gets hot enough to turn on the fans. That's no good for gas mileage. Stop and go driving with lots of gear changes on surface roads - bad for mileage. Winter formulated gasoline - bad for mileage. Xtra weight and frictional loss from AWD - bad for mileage.
Actually, you have just about the best situation for an electric vehicle.
I'd be prepared for your mileage to be poor.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Lucky, you think I should expect to get 13.5? Do you have any idea how far they drive cars on average when they test for city estimations for mpg? It just seems really low to me although I can understand that the short distances I normally drive will yield lower mpg than the estimated 20mpg.
 

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Carl, I'm going to have to disagree with you on this. All the things you've listed are reasonable but still he should not be getting that low of MPG even under his conditions. I would still recommend my "Chain of Command" strategy, I think thats the only way you're going to get real answers instead of just guessing for the problem :)

Otherwise you we can all talk in circles in this thread trying to figure out the problem. I think we've all listed about 90% of the things that can contribute, still you need to find "The Answer." :4:
 

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Perhaps you could rent another one for a while and see if it behaves substantially differently. Then you'd have something to take to the dealership/mechanic anyway.

I hope I'm wrong, but, as has been said, we;re all guessing. If there is a real problem, it no doubt would affect highway mileage too. You could schedule a test drive on the highway, just a fun day trip or overnighter.

I just don't think the car ever warms up, certainly not in 2 miles, and probably not in 4. If the temp sensor doesn't tell the ECU the car is warm, the ECU basically leaves the 'choke' on. That means more fuel. And if you drive 3 miles, then shut the engine off for 20-30 minutes, then restart and drive another 3 miles, your car will never warm up. What does the temp gauge show? does it ever reach normal temp? This type of driving is considered extreme. Your oil will collect water and should be changed more frequently - same with the gas tank, keep some Heet around and put some in when the tank is 1/2-2/3 empty. Your plugs may foul and you may need to switch to a 'hotter' plug.
Don't take my word for it, try posting this problem at www.nasioc.com , www.usmb.net , www.i-club.com to get some additional soobyheads to comment. maybe we are all overlooking something easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm taking my car in on Saturday. I did a small amount of highway driving and my efficiency increased to a whopping 15mpg. Hopefully they'll be able to help. I have no idea what they are going to find, but hopefully something!
 

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Keep us posted please, maybe we can all learn something:) Brian
 

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i get 19mpg on my 2000 subaru legacy L wagon, i do around 60%city/40% highway. i am wondering if there's something wrong with my car..

i have changed the following. spark plugs (i put in ac delco rapidfire), fuel filter..air filter is clean, tire pressure is ok.
 

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And they say you should expect to get 20 city! If they find there is nothing wrong with my car then there is no truth in their advertising. I'm getting tired of paying close to $2/gallon and going just 13.5 miles on it!
 

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macroman-AC Delco plugs? Eeshhh. Next time opt for NGK, very good plug. I put them in my engine when I only had a thousand miles on it. Idled so much smoother, really. Brian
 
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