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Federal Emissions Warranty not valid in Michigan


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My GF has an 09 Legacy 2.5 with about 64K miles. She's been smelling some exhaust in the cabin for a while and lately she's getting all her warning lights on and a P0420 code which is for the catalytic converter operating below threshold.


We took it to a shop and the tech said the computer wasn't programmed for subzero mode (never heard of this...but it's been super cold here lately) so he changed that, did some other tests and drove it around and it was fine for a week or so.


All the lights came back and she took the car back. He looked at some other things and said the catalytic converter is probably the culprit. Well, the car is still under the 8 yr/80K miles federal warranty period so no big deal right?


She calls Subaru of America and they tell her that because we don't live in CA or a handful of other states that it isn't warranted and Subaru won't cover it because MI isn't on the list.


Shouldn't a FEDERAL law apply to all states and is SOA jerking her around? Our local dealership isn't helpful either--they've ALWAYS had terrible customer service and a bad attitude.


Is there anyone with more knowledge about these matters or know of a dealership in MI to call for assistance (NOT Williams in Lansing, please)? Or is she on the hook for parts and labor on a new CC?

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Apparently the 8/80 only is if your state requires emissions testing. If your state doesn't require emissions testing you may be SOL.




-Mike Paisan



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Thanks for the input.


It appears that there are 2 parts to this Federal warranty. The Performance Warranty applies to vehicles in states with inspections. If the vehicle fails, the manufacturer must fix certain parts to allow one to pass. Then the Design & Defect Warranty which is valid everywhere covers parts of the emissions system that fails. Both of these fall under the 8/80.


She's taking it in to the dealership we don't like because they're the only game in town and it's hard to drive and hour or more and leave the car. I guess they know this and do what they want because they know many don't have a choice. To their credit though, they did say IF it turns out to be the cat, all the testing and replacement will be covered in full. Better than the info direct from Subaru, who was also very condescending.

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Unfortunately after looking at the document in the 3rd link, it looks like the cat really might be out of warranty. *Though after looking again, I am confused as to who qualifies for the 80k warranty. PZEV states like CA get 150k, so is it really an extended emissions warranty to all federal states? Now I think you should be covered under warranty.


On the bright side, at least you can probably go with a standard cat like the ones below, and not a super expensive pzev cat.





warranty info


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