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Why is there a strange noise coming from my 2018 Subaru Forester and what can I do about it?

I bought my new Subaru Forester in 2018 from my local dealer and ever since day one I've had issues with a squeaky dash, poor steering and this strange noise that is intermittent, coming from the front passenger side (sounds like a wobble/wind/rattle like the wheel will fall off). Every service I've complained about these and they've either fixed it or said there is nothing wrong.

I did many road tests with them and the noises didn't happen until this year when their head mechanic heard it and was gobsmacked and had no idea what it was. They stated they sent a case off to Subaru Australia and came back with things to do and try. Yesterday I did another test drive with that dealer's service manager and he too, had no idea what it was either. So they kept the car again and looked into it.

I got call saying they've pulled apart that side of the car and there is nothing wrong but they still have the same problem with the weird wobble noise and can't find anything wrong, but they admitted there is a problem and they have no idea what it is. The manager says it is safe for me to drive. The manager stated since the problem is getting worse and worse to bring it back in three months and try again. I feel like its illogical to say, it's "safe to drive" when they have no idea what is wrong with it (especially since I said the steering is terrible and I have felt unsafe at speed driving it).

What are my options here? What next steps should I take? Should I complain directly to Subaru Australia or go to fair trading or something else? I think I have been fair and reasonable throughout this whole process with them considering it's been five years and I have complained about this issue, which they've acknowledged.

You've tackled this in the appropriate manner, giving the dealership from which you bought the car every chance to make it right. But that hasn't happened, so now is the time to talk to Subaru's customer service division at head office. 

The good news is that the problem has been logged as a pre-existing condition, so it will be covered by your new-car warranty even if the car is technically out of the warranty period. Also, Subaru has not ignored the problem nor refused to accept it exists, so that's a positive, too.

If for some reason, Subaru wants to abandon you and your problem (which won't happen given its approach thus far) then you could talk to the ACCC. Australian Consumer Law has some fairly rigid rules regarding products that aren't fit for purpose. This, however, would be your last resort.

It would bother me a little that the car was making a weird noise from the front suspension, and I think you've probably got a case for not wanting to drive the car until it's fixed. This could be where you tackle the customer service division for the loan of a different car until yours is fixed. I don't think that would be an unreasonable request and may hasten the problem's resolution.

Disclaimer: You acknowledge and agree that all answers are provided as a general guide only and should not be relied upon as bespoke advice. Carsguide is not liable for the accuracy of any information provided in the answers.


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