Why does Subaru have a reputation for building reliable cars?
I recently became aware that my 2001 Forester has a leaking head gasket and a bad wheel bearing.
Although the vehicle is 12 years old, it has only 95,000 miles and has been meticulously cared for (I
have all the service records dating back to the first oil change).
I contacted Subaru and kindly asked that they include my car in their extended head gasket warranty
because of the vehicle’s low mileage and outstanding repair record. At their request, I took the vehicle
to Ira Subaru of Danvers, MA for factory authorized diagnosis of the problem. Ira agreed with the
original service provider and handed me an estimated repair bill of $3987.00, roughly the total value of
In the end, Subaru stated they could provide no repair assistance whatsoever. Subaru’s “kind” offer was
to allow me a $750.00 “incentive” toward the purchase of a new Subaru vehicle. Wow, what a generous
offer to a valued customer anticipating almost $4000.00 in repairs due to their faulty manufacturing.
I purchased a Subaru in part because of their reputation for building reliable, road-worthy vehicles. I’ve
learned the hard way, Subaru vehicles are totally unreliable and poorly manufactured! I am furthermore
surprised that their “valued” customers mean so little to them. Why else would they offer me such an
insulting “incentive”? Did they actually think I’d even consider the purchase of another one of their
Given the sheer volume of head gasket (and other) woes described online by Subaru owners around the
country, I have absolutely NO idea why the company has a reputation for reliability? As far as I can tell it
is totally undeserved! No more Subaru's for me!
This design is unique. okay Land Rover also offers the slank 4wd with independant suspension. If you had been renting one all along you got your money's worth? no?
Go easy on the subaru, it served you well, better than a volkswagen bug for a 4H design the heads are outboard and a unique design. This isn't a chevy 3500 we got here this is a scientific instrument, this engine- Yes, they are a bit fragile but pretty clever in a Japanese sort of way (no leg room). Wish I could have afforded one my buddy had a subaru brat back in Wisconsin, good in ice and snow, but kinda noisy, like they kidnapped a jeep and stuffed him under the hood. The spare tire ontop of the engine was a bit much too- overall, I think you are incorrect, sir you have NORMAL wear for NORMAL circumstances...you should not sue, buy another one, or something different...like a Jeep or MINI Countryman!
In my experience, Subaru builds junk and then refuses to stand behind it. Shoddy manufacturing and corporate irresponsibility. Not a winning combination in my book!
If your just coming on here to rant about a bad experience by all means go ahead but you asked a question I believe so here's your answer. Subaru's as a whole are a reliable car, just like any though you can find a lemon. I prouldy own 3: a 93 Legcay wagon, a 98 Forester, and an 02 Forester, they have their few issues such as the head gasket but my 93 has 300k+ miles on the orrigional motor and trans and has been mine since 93. Never an issue with it. It's not uncommon to see Subaru's from the 80's and 90's with 400-500k+ miles on them and still running strong. Newer cars (any of them) just don't seem to stand up quite as long. The reason your head gasket costs so much is due to going to a Subaru dealership for the work, a private shop wont cost that much. They only offered you the $750 rebate for a new car because the DEALERSHIP is in the business of sellin cars, why are they gonna wanna do warranty work (lose money) when they can sell you a new car and make money. It's not Subaru directly in control there, your dealing with a middle man. I've seen similar incedents happen to friends at my local Toyota lot and Ford lot. They did that to make money. All cars no matter how well you maintain them have the potential to have something like a wheel bearing go bad. Unless you can garuntee your keeping all the grit particles out of a wheel bearing and can control the climate and a bunch of other factors you can't say finite how long a wheel bearing or any part will last. If you want to dislike a car company because you had a couple problems with your car and you had a bad experience with a dealer I can't change that and no one on this site can. There's my .02 cents but what do I know, I'm just a Mechanic myself. Have a nice day.
I used to recommend Subarus to friends who were car shopping. Not any more. A close friend is part of a 4-Subie family. Soon to be a 3-Subie family. His Mom has had to rebuild the transmission on her Imprezza twice in about 100,000 miles, and it seems like it is due again. NOT impressive. Then the dealer was going to give her a 'deal' on a new Forrester. Some deal. A 2011 dealer courtesy car (shown on the contract as a demo) for MORE money than the showroom price for a new 2012! Not likely. When we went to look at the car, and could not because a customer was driving it for the weekend, that put the kybosh on that. HOW they have a reputation for reliability and durability any more is a matter of reputation and marketing, not product!
Nick, A legitimate complaint can hardly be called a "rant"! And having a head gasket, wheel bearing, oil pan, and catalytic converter all need replacing on an impeccably maintained car with less than 96,000 miles constitutes, in my opinion, more than " a couple of problems". Did I mention that I've already changed all the brake pads AND rotors twice! As for Subaru's "as a whole being a reliable car", well, I can say this...I've read at least one hundred letters of complaint about Subaru's bad head gaskets. Try it, you'll see what I mean. Apparently, it was so bad the company extended the warranty period for this particular repair. Unfortunately, some of us "missed" that warranty period. Apparently, Subaru's are also notorious for bad wheel bearings according to my (non-dealer) mechanic. Perhaps Subaru built more reliable cars back in the 80's and 90's but I personally have little evidence this still holds true. I am very inclined to agree with Michael, their reputation is more marketing than anything else. And as for the company offering a $750.00 "incentive" on a new vehicle...did they honestly think I would fall for that? I am not in the habit of doing business with a company that insults my intelligence. Subaru has lost my business forever. I won't buy another, nor will I ever recommend them!
Hi Liz, Unfortunately, you discovered what many of us already have - that Subaru is rugged, but not reliable. I loved your post, because it's such a precise description of the issues I had in my '07 Legacy. In 150,000 miles, I had to replace three faulty wheel bearings. Boy, the way these undoubtedly cheap bearings droned at highway speeds. I consider myself lucky neither seized on me. So much for safety. Thank you, Subaru. The first last nail in the coffin came last July. My engine began overheating when idling, and Subaru technicians discovered that both head gasket and front cam seal were leaking. That's when it became obvious to me that "Subaru Reliability" doesn't exist. It's a marketing gimmick. Like thin air. From that point on I stopped caring about my Legacy. I decided I would drive it until I couldn't any longer, and then buy a new car. I knew that the engine would die if I didn't make a quick move. Sure enough, last month, it did. While passing a car at 60MPH on the highway, the engine went bust. It went "clack clack clack", 2500 times per minute... The car is still stranded in the middle of Connecticut. Towing it to where I live costs $350, and I want the dealer to cover that fee when I buy a new car. Sadly, I did love my Subaru. My experience tells all I need to know about how good that AWD really is, but the YouTube videos other owners have posted help remind me. Not only that, the car handles superbly for a midsize sedan. Camrys, Accords, and Altimas have numb steering and are not as fun to drive. So there you have it. Subaru is a good hypothesis, but nothing beyond that. In '07, when I bought my Legacy, I told myself this is a test. Others say it's reliable, and I like the premise of the car, so I'll buy it. If the car disappoints me, I'll hand my money to a trusted auto manufacturer. Like Honda. Sure, you don't get AWD. The drive is more family-like, not as fun. But with such a great job they did for the 2013 model, it's an easy buy. Kind of - for me, saying goodbye to Subaru was actually tough. I fell in love with Legacy. But... I'm not buying a toy. My car needs to last, without recurring issues like failed wheel bearings and leaky head gaskets. In other words, Subaru engineers need to do their job. They already did a great job developing their AWD. What are they doing nowadays? Why not select quality wheel bearings so their first-time buyers become repeat-buyers - like those of Toyota and Honda, for example? Don't they want customers to come back? Maybe not. And as if the wheel bearings and head gaskets weren't enough, they have introduced a new CVT and a new engine. How can I trust they got these two technologies right when they couldn't get established components right? Is a CVT so much simpler than a wheel bearing or an engine that ensuring its reliability is trivial? Anyway. Yes, Liz, i hear you. I am disappointed too. I loved Subie, but Subie didn't love me back. As for the naysayers, Subaru's strengths are not an excuse for its weaknesses. AWD does not make poor reliability okay. Most car buyers rank reliability above AWD, not the other way around. And neither Liz nor I are here to "gripe". In a way, we're letting prospective Subie buyers to know this "Subaru Reliability" was nothing but a myth to us. And, in a way, we're here to tell Subaru that they had better buck up and do their job better if they want first-time buyers to become repeat buyers. So let me wrap it up with something kids, like myself, like to say these days: Subaru, WTF.
And by the way, even Ford, a brand that I've long associated with the word "unreliable" has far better reliability than Subaru does. You need only look at the data and the reviews based on that data. Hell, even Dodge seems to fare better than Subaru. Had I known this, I would have never given a single look to Subaru in '07. But I did, and went on to have the single worst car ownership experience to date. Wheel bearings, engine problems, recurring electrical problems... And then there were the tires. Three times I had to replace four tires because of a sidewall cut in a single tire. In all, I bled thousands of dollars for my '07 Legacy. By comparison, my previous Mercury Mystique - a cheap cheap car - drove to 175,000 miles before I traded it in with... zero major problems. That's right. That cheap piece of shit never once had a major issue. Um, "How do you respond to the allegations, Subaru?"
And so it begins. I'll go from being a proud but naive Subie owner to being a much happier Honda Accord owner. Guys, there is a reason some brands and some technologies just do so much better than others. They probably got the recipe right.
And Nick. Question: Did the dealership make money off Liz? No. But they did manage to alienate a Subie owner and help make sure she doesn't buy another Subie - ever. Dealerships are in the business of making money. But they forget that people expect them to care, to be honest, to try to wok with us so both side can benefit. When the attitude is "Gimme the green bucks in yo wallet missus", they are only looking out for themselves. Their customers see that and simply go elsewhere. Bottom line, Nick, is that the best way to ensure you keep making money off your customers is to ensure they come back. That means working with them as much as you can so you can make a little money and they can walk away with a good deal. If you can't do that, you will go out of business. It is really very simple.
I understand this and didn't say anything to the contrary lifeson34 that dosn't mean a dealership or sales person has that at the forefront of their mind. I have friends who sell cars and I know several of their attitudes are this. If someone dosn't come back there's always someone else, there's only so many dealerships in an area without going rediculousley out of your way to buy a car, and if someone wants a new car strongly enough they will deal with the dealerships. Anyone who decideds to go buy somewhere else was a flash in the pan and they move on.
Nick, your car salesperson friends' attitude IS the problem. If I buy a car and it is a piece of garbage, and the dealer and the manufacturer are no help, I will NOT buy another of their products, period. That is the very reason I now drive Fords, not General Motors. One 1984 Oldsmobile Delta 88 that should have been lemon yellow, added to a miserable response from the dealer and General Motors, and not one of my subsequent purchases has been from any G.M. store, and I have tried to make sure than none of my friends give them a dime, too. That is how companies in retail run into problems.
Nick, I'm sorry, you're wrong. Dealerships do have many people walking through their doors, but most will never buy a car through them. They will walk in, walk out, and wind up buying a car elsewhere. Guess where "elsewhere" is? It's not the nearest dealer with the car they want. No no no. It is the dealer that gives them best deal, without hassle and haggle. Heck, "elsewhere" can easily be 50-75 miles away from home, and that is just fine. Hassle customers at your own risk. A dealer has no ceiling on how many cars to sell. Each extra car is a boon, even if the commission is low. On the other hand, a customer needs to buy only one car. Out of a handful of local dealers, at least one is generally willing to provide a good deal without undue hassle. That is the dealer that will do well.
I didn't say the mentality was a good one for a car saleman to have, I stated that their mentality was in that mind set. I also never said that that was specifically how it was in a buyers view but again in the car salesmans view. I am not wrong I am stating my observations and an opposing view whether or not I agree with it myself. What I am saying is I have had few issues with Subaru cars, and that I personally would not blame a brand of car for a sellers reaction. I stated in my first comment that they earned that reputation in the 80's and 90's and agreed that not all of their 2000 and newer reflect that same reputation. I am going to agree to disagree with lifeson34, Michael, and Liz, as my own personal experience has not been the same, I do not deny nor do I neglect your statements but my oppinion is not wrong just because it differs from yours. I will again reiterate my origional answer to the origional question, Subaru earned their reputation of being reliable because through the 80's and 90's the were a sturdy and reliable car. whether they are now or not does not change my answer of how or why they earned that reputation. As I have said my piece, I bid to all of you a most excelent upcoming week.
For new headgaskets I would expect to pay around $2800 USD at a Subaru dealership, and even less at an independent garage. Want (or need) Subaru AWD without all the hassle? Look for the older Legacys/Imprezzas with the 2.2 liter engines. I recommend to just avoid 2.5 liter engines!
That is a valid point, Nick. I'll accept it.
I have a 2004 forester XT . Has been in the shop many times. Car basically started falling apart at 75K. Too many details to list but the car will not last. Worst financial decision that I have made. In 10 years I have spent 10-12000 dollars beyond regular maintenance. Must unload now to anyone who will buy it with warning lights on as I just had a 700 camshaft fix. and cannot afford to throw good money after bad. Hillholder+fail. Radiator failed 3 times. Thermostat fail. Timing belt fail. Engine fail at 75k. My own subaru only independent mechanic says I just have had "bad luck" and should buy another subaru. I am going back to honda (cars I routinely drove out to 240k with little hassle) and never looking back.
You're all funny. Firstly, lets look at where you're located, and what the effects of your environment have on a car. If it's the coast, you have salt water that corrodes metal fast, if it's mountains you have frigid temperatures that fracture and stress metal and every other part of your car. If it's arid desert you have heat that you drive in with exorbitant amounts of dust and debris that get into anything. If you're somewhere in the middle of that you have ALL those effects on your vehicle. Subaru's (just like all commercialized car manufactures these days) are not what they used to be. The market has shifted and we're going through cars like we go through computers. We need new ones with better features and technologies. The companies and generally the public no longer care about getting 200,000+ miles out of their car, they want the features and comforts. This is why you're low end Kia's and Hyundais are thriving in this market. Now to be upset that you had a hunk of metal last you TWELVE years and you're not getting your financial returns back is ridiculous!! It IS a car, not a house. Cars have, and ALWAYS will be losing investments. You're not only putting a significant amount of money into an object but you're putting it through some of the most encumbering situations to expect any returns what so ever. Now if you had bought say, a Lexus, or better yet a lambo I would see your frustrations as that is a LUXURY vehicle that should marginally hold it's value in some sense. But in this case you're talking about a car that is of only moderate class. Subaru's are genuinely bought for their ability to provide someone who lives a very active life style the ability to manage almost every chance to hit every part of the world in a very controlled state. As for the health of your car and the head gasket leak... Who's to say that you never started your car on a cold morning and gave it too much gas, or that between an oil change you didn't notice you were low and you over heated. Also did the car ever sit for an extended period of time (2 weeks or more) without being driven? The vertically opposed engine has the cylinders sitting sideways. So when the car sits and doesn't run for a while the oil naturally sits at the bottom and the gaskets can dry inside the cylinders leading to many other problems. There are too many variables to claim that subaru is making an unreliable car. Also how ignorant are you to go to the dealer for the work. I can understand because of the warranty, which sucks because those things are really just a money gimmick for you to pay the dealer more and never get to actually use the benefits. After the dealer you should of gone to a private party and seen what it would of cost. As for the wheel bearing that's not uncommon, regardless of the vehicle brand. It happens. I think you're just upset that you expected so much out of an "extended warranty" and you didn't get it. And that a "dealership" had the audacity to try and sell you another car, plus charge you extreme rates to fix a car. Do you know what a qualified subaru technician gets paid hourly.....not to mention what the dealership has to add on top of that, and then the overhead to cover the dealership, and insurance.....logically you must understand that a dealership is expensive to have car work done, they're there to sell cars, and manage the warranties that are manufactures and not dealership extensions. I will give you credit in the fact that cars are NOT in the least bit what they used to be....but then again what is these days. We're a consumerist based society now and all we want is the next thing. Car manufactures are more worried about selling you features and silly design improvements instead of GIVING you what you need and not SELLING you what they have. If you're blind enough to think that this is the manufactures fault then you have a long way to go. You should look up the network and ties that all the car companies have these days. In fact a perfect new example is the Subaru BRZ and the Scion FR-S. Two different manufactures selling exact same body style cars. Get off your high horse about how you got screwed out of a shitty investment you should recognize it is just that. Live and Learn. And then realize that you and everyone else are enabling these companies to rob you blind, then laugh as you get upset about it. Electric cars are even worse these days. There are plenty of alternative forms of energy transfers to make nearly emission free vehicles, but then big corporations and the people running those corporations can't make as much money off of you and keep you in a state of ignorance and neglect because you're so pissed off at a company that isn't a real being you go to some other company to buy yet another shitty investment. I'm truly sorry you feel you've had a bad experience with subaru and no i have no affiliation with them. I do however own a subaru wrx sti and have for nearly 8 years. These motors are known in some sense for the head gasket problem, but how can you expect something that's making thousands upon thousands of explosions spinning a rod at over 2000 rounds per minute to not get to a point of expensive repairs. I don't think you should be upset with Subaru....I think you should take responsibility for your own personal choice 12 years ago and make peace with it. You lived, you had a good car for 12 years that got you to travel safely nearly 100,000 miles. This is the beauty of the internet, you can piss and moan and people will listen. But you can also be the listener and take note that 12 years ago Subaru was a different company. 12 years ago you were a different person. 12 years ago the internet wasn't as fast and informative. 12 years ago a choice was made that go you here, why be upset that crap happened and it was a car, and not your life, or a loved one dear to you. It's just a car, and it's Just money. Maybe they do make faulty engines, maybe the dealership did fuck you out of an extended warranty. Maybe it's the staple you needed to show you that gasoline vehicles and corporate car dealers are not good for the people. Shit take the car to a junk yard to part it and you'll probably make the money you would of if you sold it. Anyways, I'm not trying to prove you all wrong, or sound like a know it all, but hey, at least life goes on!! Cheers and best wishes, Luca
Dear Luca, The high horse it is not mine...yours perhaps? I posted my question (and opinion) about Subaru so that others might become more aware of the overall unreliability of Subaru vehicles and perhaps reconsider their own opinion.Yes, some people have kept theirs on the road for many miles but I suggest that when you have some time, Google "Subaru + head gasket". You'll be treated to an entirely different opinion about Subaru than the one you hold! The hundreds, upon hundreds, of dissatisfied Subaru owners that have had head gasket (and wheel bearing) problems is truly astonishing. To my way of thinking, these numbers qualify as more than "These motors are known in some sense for the head gasket problem" AND "There are too many variables to claim that subaru is making an unreliable car". So, as long as you are assigning ignorance, please be sure you take a heaping helping for yourself! Furthermore, should you even care, I took the vehicle to a Subaru dealer at Subaru's request. They wanted it diagnosed at an "authorized" establishment, not the mechanic I normally take it to for service. After the dealer confirmed the problems, and estimated the repair cost, I smiled and walked out (perhaps not as ignorant as you have assumed). And Luca, thank you for your insightful social commentary but I continue to believe that a vehicle, impeccably cared for, and with less than 97,000 miles, should not need major repairs (those costing more than the car is worth). ADDENDUM: I recently traded my rapidly failing Subaru Forester for a new 2014 Mazda CX5 (AWD). I couldn't be happier! It's a pleasure to drive, has an extremely comfortable ride and handles very well. The car has less than 1000 miles but already gets just under 31 mpg highway/27.5 city. And keep in mind these are real numbers, not EPA estimates which often overestimate mileage (per gallon). Pretty wonderful for an AWD vehicle in the small SUV category! Yes indeed, life goes on.
We've all got something to say, everyone has a reason. No one is incorrect. all a matter of perspective. Many Engineering hours were spent to bring you these marvels, and are not playing with crayons and sticky tape, but Japanese students who will fight tooth and nail just to be part of the program...so yes, you all are spoiled and a bit verbose, if I should boldly assert~
My feeling is that because all Subarus, to the best of my knowledge, are built in Japan, they are still thinking 5 years then scrap in their engineering mindset. Japanese tax laws are such that almost nobody keeps a car more than 5 years, so they are built for 7 to 10 good years. Honda, in particular, has managed to break that thinking, because they have been building cars other places for a long time. I have long asserted that for a long term automobile purchase, buy OLD North American boats. They are cheap, reliable, and affordable to maintain.
Most of the Subarus sold in the US are built in a production plant in Indianna, not in Japan and it's been this way for over 25 years.
need help w/question, have 2008 highlander since 6/2008, only have 9485 miles on it, dont drive much, considering 2014 forester cause it is smaller w/good visibility, considering i will never reach 100,000 miles, is it likely i will experience the engine issues other people have been plagued with, thanks for infor.......
what is your question darcic?, you could start another dialogue? seems like you have a lot to say/ask~
question: i put approx 1500 to 2000 miles a year on my cars....considering buying a 2014 forester, when checking reliability seems people have problems with head gaskets and wheel bearings, if i keep the forester for 10 years, i will have approx 25,000 miles on it, will i likely run into any problems with head gaskets or wheel bearings during those 10 years, thanks........
probably not an issue for you.
Darcic, You may not be troubled by head gasket/wheel bearing issues but brakes could be a real problem, even with low mileage. I replaced my brake pads and rotors TWICE before my Forester reached 76,000 miles. I also found the brakes to be very "spongy" even when the car was new.
Michael is onto something...big..heavy...American....wins everytime...who would not like to be the owner of a Chevy 350. Dodge 440 HEMI, even a 235 Chevy 6 cylinder...they are American...you still can get parts for them...they are cheaper for this reason...there is something to be said for these~
Wow where do I start. I have a Subaru Baja. I love it and don’t what to get another vehicle. I take my Baja in for all the maintenance required. I just came back from one of those check ups to find out I too have a gasket problem at 155,000 miles. I drive up to 120 miles a week with a lot of in town driving. I was rear ended by a drunk driver in a 1963 Buick huge piece of metal. My truck took out his engine with only miner damage to my vehicle. The side panel popped out with no dents and messed up my hitch a little. Do I feel safe in my truck? Of course I do. Does it get me to work and back? Yes it does. People all vehicles have problems. I have had a Pontiac Ventura, a Ford, a Volkswagen and a Nissan. I also had a British car (piece of crap) Granted my Nissan ran like a charm until some mechanic put the timing belt on incorrectly. I gave it away and it is still running at 350,000 plus miles. But the owner is a mechanic so he can fix the issues. There is no vehicle that is 100% free of worries. Good luck trying to find one. I just want something that is usually reliable and does not slide in the bad weather. I feel safe and that’s what matters to me. I’ll pay the money to fix it.
well said onelilbit.
During my youth, I had the priviledge of working at a car wash. Prior to working at a car wash, I knew zilch about cars. My dad was a "Ford man", and use to scoff at some of the imported cars, when I was young. Anyway, after working in the car wash, and moving cars around, every hour, for a few weeks, I made up my mind that I would only buy Toyota, or Honda. That was during the mid-1990's. And, I have owned eleven Toyotas, since then - sometimes owning three cars at a time. Also, I would never buy a Porche, BMW, Volvo, Audi, Volkswagon, Pontiac, Chrysler, Dodge, etc. During the mid-1990's, I drove scores of Toyota Camrys, and Honda Accords, that had roughly 300k miles, and that ran PERFECT, like a new car. Everytime I asked the owners, I was always told the same thing - changed the oil, and changed the axles. That is it. Lexus, and Acura, are also made by Toyota and Honda, and are good quality cars, too. Many of the other car models were in the shop every year! Virtually every Porche owner told me that their cars were in the shop, every year, at least once. I know that some of the other models have improved, since the 1990's. But, never fall for the "shiny paint", and the "pretty image". The physical image can be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Try to find out from people who deal with alot of used vehicles, which ones are prone to problems, and which ones tend to be problem free. In Mexico, a tow truck operator told me that they see more Nissan Platinas broken down, than any other car. It sounds odd, being that Nissan usually is fairly durable. But, in this case, the product is not Nissan at all. It is a Renault car, wearing the "Nissan" badge. And, the lack of reliability is typical of Renault products. Also, to be fair, I tihnk that since Toyota starting assembling the vehicles in the United States, the actual quality has dropped some. After '98, much of the sheet metal became thinner. Prior to that, the older Toyotas were more strongly built. Anyway, hope this helps. Suburu is a Japanese product. But, most of the Suburus I have seen were not on the road. They were broken down somewhere, oftentimes left abandoned in the parking lots of apartment complexes.
I am getting scared of purchasing a Subaru Impreza 2.0R, I Don't want problems. I am having double thoughts about the SUBARU brand. I will rather stick with TOYOTA
Some common sense people here have put things in perspective. Some of the post here are like these people have only owned one car in their entire life. Like Carcic 2000 miles a year go buy a $500 used car and wake up to your self, do you know what the initials ROI mean.???
No one respects common sense in this day and age~...is as rare as politeness on our roads and highways...RACE up, gettin' all up in your soup, violently cross the double yellow endangering any oncoming motorists only to be at THE SAME light as you....and a "punishment light" at that over three minutes long~
Toyotas are unparalleled in build quality and long life~
...once in while the CHPs catch this fu#%er~
LOOK at the TSB bulletins for Subaru's - must install coolant additive if the antifreeze from the factory is ever removed. DEALERS is the only one that has it, nick named THE BLUE BOTTLE . IT WILL PREVENT THE HEAD GASKET PROBLEMS WHICH IS CAUSED FROM 2 LAYERS OF STEEL ' HEAD GASKET ' BETWEEN ALUMINUM AND INSTALL ONLY FACTORY CAM AND CRANK SEALS IT WILL SOLVE THE OIL LEAK PROBLEMS !!!!!!!! Now the car is good for years FROM A OWNER AND MECHANIC
Alvin, So the lack of coolant additive is why Subaru extended the warranty period for head gasket repair to 10 years/100,000 miles? I think NOT!
My 2003 Forester's head gasket started leaking at 100,000 miles. I went to the dealer and was given cost that far exceeded the value of the car to fix the problem. I went to a chain repair shop and they wanted close to $3,000 for the same repair, including grinding the heads an valves. I went to an independent repair shop for the repair that costed me less than $1,800 but included, new head gaskets, new water pump, new thermostat, new fuel filter, new spark plugs and the head grind, valve grinding and adjusting, radiator flush and oil change. The car runs like new and the mileage is up to new car standards. I would not have spent this kind of money but the rest of the Subaru Forester Is in fine shape. Replaced brake pads at 88,000 miles, the rest only normal maintenance. I expect another 100,000 out of the Subaru.
Subaru are rugged but not reliable as Toyota or Honda. however, CR has double standard in recommending their products. the Subaru with the 2.2 engine was a good product. All the 2.5 eng until year 2009 will blow the head gaskets. This is well known but CR still make BS prediction but would slam Ford for MYtouch. Go figure
Subaru makes crap compared to Toyota. They are poorly built and do not stand behind their product.
Yes, that's pretty much my take on the situation! I sure do love my new Mazda CX-5!
lizlubee: I had to register and create an account just based on your posting - I could have written it myself. Except - my engine (2003 Forester) blew at 50,000 miles. I submitted all of my maintenance/repair records to Subaru - they did not stand behind their product. That has been the biggest problem but it sure hasn't been the only one. After 10 years of ongoing problems - and only 85,000 miles on that vehicle - I have made the decision to call it quits. I plan to be in a new car within the next month and it WON'T be a Subaru. BTW - when my engine blew, Subaru offered me $1200 off the cost of a new one. A new Subaru when mine had only 50,000 miles??? That's beyond insulting. Enjoy your Mazda! It's (one) on my list for consideration :)
Dear Ikinohio, I'm sorry to hear about your unfortunate Subaru experience! The motivation for posing my original question was to raise our collective car- buying consciousness so that we can all make better decisions. You helped further the cause by adding your personal story, so, thank you!
Bad wheel bearing? I've had to replace wheel bearings on just about all my vehicles, from Toyota, Saab 900S, a couple VWs. Just helped my friend replaced front wheel bearings on a Toyota Camry. Mercy!!!!! How could that possibly happen to a Toyota??????? Age gets to them too... the permanent grease isn't permanent. We all think there was a Subaru engine series around the late 90's to about 2005 that has the head gasket issue. That head gasket issue appears to be resolved in engines after 2005. Complaining about a head gasket with that engine series ('9X-'05) now only makes it look like you thought this would never happen to you. Well, are you still surprised? And the original poster... 95,000 miles in 12 years... not many miles. An average of 22 miles per day. That's a lot of short thermal cycles on the engine, and the catalytic converter is getting hammered with that short trip driving. We have two Subarus, and we are getting a third. Here in New England, Subarus are all over the place. If the Subaru were problematic as some make it appear, this could not happen. There are many very old Subarus on the roads around here, especially further north. A friend of mine travels up to Northern New England frequently and he tells me how he is amazed at the number of Subarus up there. Go to a parking lot at a shopping center and it looks like a Subaru dealership lot... Subarus of all ages all over the place. Upper New Englanders need a car they can trust. My last 90,000 miles have been with Subarus, and they have been trouble free, just maintenance. That's better than my previous cars.
my experience with my 2011 Subaru turbo has been a financial disaster. The coolant system failed the head gasket had to be repaired and now the transmission and front axel went out and I have less than 80,000 miles. The service at the Ontario Subaru dealership in California was equally nightmarish. The service department can not be trusted and be sure to take a lawyer for backup. I will never buy another Subaru. Not a reliable product or service.
I was all ready to go to the Subaru dealer for a Forester or Crosstek largely because of their marketing efforts and favorable reviews. I don't know anyone who has one. I took the original posters advice and Googled Subaru and just touched the letter H before head gaskets came up. What I read is that this is still a problem! Thanks for the Heads Up. The search continues. I need 4 or AWD SUV that will last me many years after I paid it off and won't cost a fortune to repair or maintain.
Wow, very impressive and intense dialog happening here, thanks Luca for reeling it back into perspective. My 07 Forester XT just passed 100k is in the shop for a cam seal leak and timing belt, I live at 9k ft and it lives outside in sub freezing temps half the year... She takes a beating. However, I spend probably less than $1500/yr in maintenance/repairs... and am happy to do so. I've never been stuck in the snow (and we get 3-400"/yr), it keeps up beautifully in LA traffic madness, and the handling has spared me several close calls in my time. My Subi is one of the ones still built in Japan, I suppose this may have something to do with the quality...but, I also paid nearly 10k more for this feature. My point here is Subaru do enable a certain lifestyle...and for this reason I am loyal and happy. I have had Mercedes that cost twice as much leave me on the side of the highway... so, opinion is just opinion...I appreciate being able to learn from other owners perspectives, but please folks, it's just a car. I really just need to know - out of curiosity - how much other people paid for the work my car is having done now...I'm paying $1100 for the 100k mi service + camshaft seal replacement + few minor things. Does this sound about right?
That's actually about right, possibly on the lower end of what you could be paying to have that work done.
Subaru's are great cars in the snow. Just be prepared to have the calipers seize at least once a year even with regular service. With that goes warped rotors and worn pads. This has been an issue for over 10 years and Subaru has not done anything to improve . It sure is a money maker for the garage. Have and do own other makes of cars. Never experienced anything nearly as unreliable and expensive. You should expect that with caliper servicing once a year you would not have breaks seize . Not so with Subaru and dont let anyone at the garage blame the road conditions. The boots ,seals and engieneering on their seem inferior to many other competitors.
I now currently have 4 Subaru's ranging from 93-02 and have never had a caliper sieze up, not saying it can't happen but I have yet to see it happen and I do all of my brake work myself.
Hey Mark. Your lucky to be handy and to have a place to service your calipers regularly. I rely on the subie dealership and still have problems. Im not knocking the vehicles in general but the breaks on all of mine have been frustrating and expensive. The dealership last time were kind enough to replace the rear rotors and pads for free because it had only been 7 months since they were completly repaired with new parts because of the same issue :(
Holly crap.... I just spent nearly 32k on a 2014 Forester Touring... You guys have me feeling a bit I'll over what I've been reading herein.... After reading all these horor stories, I think I'm going to bite the bullet and go for the 7 yr 100k extended warranty. Its not cheap, but I imagine it may turn out to be money well spent with all things considered. The best price I've found for this warranty with the $100.00 deductible is $1275.00. Would any of you guys or gails know if and where I could get this warranty for a more reasonable price? Thanks to all, steve
Most Subaru Foresters manage to get 100,000 miles before problems develop. This means you are gambling that your Forester will crap out before the 100,000 mileage mark. Mine went 105,000 miles before the head gasket had to be replaced with other preventative repairs due to the mileage and age of my Forester. My costs were $1,700 done at a non-dealer repair shop. I purchased a five year extended warranty and had zip go wrong, thus I wasted my money. Make sure that who ever is supplying the warranty has a good record for following through and make sure you read all the fine print. I would not generally recommend purchasing the extended warranty since there is a good chance you will never collect a dime on it, as happened to me.
Truthfinder, your 2014 Forester is completely different from the Foresters everyone here is complaining about. I wouldn't consider past issues that people have had to be in any way related to your car.
We will have to wait and see. This engine is relatively new. has been out in 2011. It does consume oil though. I heard Subaru has installed sensors that will let you know if the oil level is low. owners have complain about the engine being out of oil. I do hope they fixed the head gasket problem. They have been claiming they did. A Google search has revealed owners in 2009 still have the problem.
The 2014 Forester is better then the older ones but reliability is still below industry average. For example USnews and JD Power rated the 2014 Forester with 3 stars in reliability. The Rav4 is rated 4 1/2. They are greatly improving.
I hope they do get better. Consumers magazine keeps recommending them. I guess they don't use google or conveniently turn a blind eye on the problems. They will nail Ford for somethings stupid like Synch, Also, Subaru may be donating to them. Consumers have to do their own research and not trust Consumer report.
I've never ever considered Consumer Reports to be a reliable source of information for automobiles. It's simply impossible to do accurate, widespread, long term, and comprehensive testing on autos as they claim to. Furthermore, much of their long term reliability reports rely on surveys of owners. For a car to have high long term reliability ratings, either the car must be largely reliable in the majority or the survey has low exposure among the owners of the car that do have trouble.
subaru brakes seize because of the lack of clearance in the bracket that holds the pads.The problem is widely misdiagnoised as sticking calipers. The cast iron bracket rust expands and pushes the stainless shims tword the pads. The backing plate of the pads rust and further decreases clearance.The result is pads jambed in the holder so tight you have to beat them out with a hammer and chisel to replace them.Leave the shim out and they won't stick! But they will rattle as the shim is what keeps them from this. A poor design- difficult to repair properly.If you replace the holder,caliper rotor and all the pads will be free and work great untill it all rusts up again-and it will -because the holder is unpainted bare iron.....
As far as the breaks of to Subarus, I've been through numerous cars over the years, and can go back to two vehicles in particular that I purchased brand new and had one break problem after the next. My 1990 jeep Cherokee had to have new calipers, rotors, and pads replace every 5 -10 k. The factory sent the vehicle to a test facility and they never did figure out the causation of this problem The next vehicle was a 2009 Honda accord 2dr coupe. This vehicle had rear calipers lock up on me two times in a three month period of time. Also, the car ate rotors like crazy. I just got rid of the Honda, my 2nd one. Never again. I purchased a 2014 Forester Touring a few weeks ago. I'm hoping I don't go through this aggravation all over again. Anyhow, I was offered a good deal on the Subaru Gold plus 7 yr / 100k warranty with a $50.00 deductible for $1080. No tax or other fees. I figured that $1080 bucks is a small price to pay when your already into the car for so much cash. My 2 cents Best to one and all.
My 2003 Subaru Forester has about 106,000 miles on it. I had all the brake pads replaced at 80,000 with some life still in the old pads. I have never had a problem with my Subaru Brakes. Getting the 100,000 K warranty may be worth getting due to the head gasket problem the Foresters have had. I hope that the timing belt may be covered, the Subaru warranty is seven years or 100,000 miles. Other than the brakes, timing belt, drive belts, head gasket and normal maintenance, my Subaru has been trouble free and reliable.
Subaru dealers pretty much hose the customer with the head gasket repair. For $1,700, at an independent garage, I had my 2003 Forester head gasket, spark plugs, drive belts, thermostat, water pump, oil changed and radiator flushed and valves and head ground. My Forester is running like new. The dealer is just going to charge you the labor hour rate for each individual item even though it takes them half the time and the parts are at full retail. I hope you can find a good independent garage to get the work done.
Almost all Subaru's (1996 - 2009) will have head gasket problems eventually. I work at a dealer and cost to repair headgaskets here is $1500.00. I think $1500.00 is not too bad to invest in your Subaru to get another 150,000 miles...These cars are AWESOME in the snow & ice!
I've driven three cars in the last 2 years, a 1983 280zx I got for $650, the head gasket blew and I kept driving it to work and back (35 miles) for 2 months until I could sell it for $500. Then I got a $600 1994 Mercury Sable 3.8 (the less reliable engine), I drove it over ten thousand miles with only minor repairs, but at 170,000 hard miles (I purchased it 7000 miles overdue for an oil change) the headgaskets were starting to fail, but I was mean to that car, I once hit 112 MPH on the freeway, and the electronics had fallen apart, so I traded it for my current 1988 Ford Ranger 2.3 4x4 with the manual 4 speed, runs strong at 215K, slow as hell though.
Reading these posts has me concerned about our 2011 Forester. It definitely burns oil like no body's business. Have any of you considered posting on carcompliant.com? Because they have so few complaints many of the subaru cars are on their list of best cars. Please help inform people like me. Thank you.
People here complaining about Subaru making junk vehicles. Every vehicle manufacturer has 1 or 2 vehicle models aling the way that give nothing but problems. I own a 95 2.2 impreza with 205k miles that I beat the hell out of everyday that doesn't give me a single problem. If its a 4wd or awd vehicle, you're gonna have to replace the CV axles/joints at some point I don't give a shit what it is. And for the head gaskets, every Subaru 2.5 engine will need those replaced. Been a problem for awhile. I'm sorry but to be having alot of problems before 100k you must be driving it like its a demolition derby car. I'll stand by Subaru all day. Cars aren't made like they used to be. Any of them. All car manufacturers care about now a days is comfort and feature.
Dear tfrank36, If rough treatment was the cause of my numerous malfunctions, I should think you yourself would have encountered problems by now since you claimed you have a Subaru “I beat the hell out of everyday that doesn't give me a single problem”. Try another explanation!
We just purchased a 2015 Forester Premium along with the extended 7 year 100,000 mile warranty . We love the vehicle, but are very concerned after reading these posts. We thought our pre-purchase homework was solid in regards to resale value, maintenance and reliability. At 60 years of age, I have owned many vehicles through the years and have never experienced such poor reliability with any of my purchases. My 2001 Camry XLE now has 285,000 and the only major issue was a transmission replacement at 150,000 miles. The head gasket, valves and various components are fine and never have needed replacement. Even brakes were only changed at 100,000 mile intervals and I have never had to replace wheel bearings. We usually try to keep our vehicles for at least 7 years, but it looks like that may no longer be possible here. If I'd known the reliability issues, I would have leased the Forester for 3 years instead. As I have said, we love the safety, the ride, its capabilities and roominess.
When I purchased my 2003 Forester, I also purchased a seven year 100K warranty and never used it once. I did have to replace my head gasket after eleven years and over 100K miles. There has not been much work done on my Forester. The brakes lasted over 80K, still have the original muffler, rotors and most other parts. I did replace the struts after almost twelve years and 110K miles but that was more preventative than absolutely necessary. I would say that Subaru could have solved the problem as they have made some changes to the Forester over the years. Drive and enjoy your new Forester. I still enjoy driving mine.
Having owned many autos of many brands I have to say my 2003 Baja ranks among the best and most reliable, especially as compared to others in the above 100,000 mile range. I've just replaced front wheel bearings at 267,000 and replaced the transmission at 176,000. Other than that, all repairs have been routine maintenance (brakes, belts, hoses, ball joints). I've buried it in snow and driven it through water high enough to risk entering the doors. It crawls through mud and snow without trouble and climbs steep terrain on wet grass without disturbing the turf where 4x4s leave ruts and rip out grass. I fully expect this auto to give me another 200+k miles.
Some posters seem confident that the newer 2.5 engines (post 2011) aren't as likely to have HG issues. If the HG issues don't usually appear until higher mileage, how do you know that? I am looking at a new 2014 Forester so am very concerned about this issue. Thanks.
All I can add is I had a similar problem ($2500 engine repair) that received a similar response from Subaru ($750 towards a new Subaru), only in my case it was a 2009 with only 29K miles (but just past the 3-year bumper to bumper). To clarify, this was Subaru corporate - not a dealership. The car broke down (came to a dead stop without warning) in Canada, and the warranty policy is you pay the Subaru dealership in Canada up front and then send the receipt to Subaru corporate for reimbursement (FYI, for those who travel). I appealed twice, but Subaru conveniently determined that the repair - to the engine - was not covered under the powertrain warranty. This car was not only practically new, but also well maintained and civilly driven, so there was no issue of wear and tear. In the following year, it had a number of other problems (transmission case, catalytic converter) that were covered by warranty and a few (brakes, fuses) that weren't, but combined with the fact that it burned through oil every 2-3 thousand miles, I was baffled by its reputation for reliability - it was hands-down the least reliable/most expensive car I have ever owned, all before 40 thousand miles (when I sold it).
Do all of yourselves a favor and get a Toyota. At 100k I had to replace the starter! I just bought a 2010 outback and WOW what a piece of shit! Looked and sounded good at the dealer but MPG is through the floor. At 96k my corrolla was just getting started. While this pile is in the shop I still drive my 93 corrolla with 250k to work. VERY undeserved title of reliable.
Think your buying a Honda and you will have a reliable car that will last forever, think again. Honda has notorious transmission failure problems. We were nearly killed in an accident after our Honda transmission failed while going 55mph. Ever shift into first gear from 5th at that speed? The car was dealer maintained and 7 years old with less than 100k. It has been cleared for a road trip by Honda less than a week before it died and nearly took us with it. I also had a CRV that needed MAJOR suspension work multiple times. I will NEVER buy another Honda EVER.
I've never owned a Honda...just Toyota's, Nissan's, and GM's. My brother had some issues with his Honda Odyssey though. It's hard not to become a little nostalgic about my Toyota bailing me out on multiple occasions. I pictured Subaru would easily fill my Toyota's shoes:( I was mistaken:(
subaru does indeed make super reliable cars, my fathers first car was a 1969 GL with 360k miles he killed the car for not ever putting oil in it not suprised but have a impreza L 2.2 with 277k miles and the car still runs dealership new, all i changed was valve cover gasket for the common oil leak, new brake shoes (common), and did the normal tuneups. beside the ej25 wrx engines, the 2.5L motors are known for head gasket failures commonly known for late 90s early 2000 legacy models. the rs impreza and forester in early 2000s also had the problem but wasnt commonly.. by far though the ej18,ej20,ej22 engines are beyond the best, my friends 2005 wrx 2.0L has 233k miles original engine and tranny and still runs super strong with little problems, only problem he had was he needed a new radiator. Crazy thing is subaru cars are so great that its just hard to find one in the junkyard and if you do they read on the dash 300+ thousand miles or wrecked! I normally wanted to buy a 1981 toyota corolla for my first car because i love that model, but buying this subaru makes me want to drive it till the wheels fell off such a fun and reliable car to drive
and also in todays world most people dont car about the maintenance of their cars therefore killing it, if proper research is done, head gasket failures could occur if you didnt flush your coolant after 30k miles which should be done on any car period, subaru also use their own genuine quality coolant and not no autozone antifreeze/coolant, if you put some cheap coolant into your subaru it will corrode more faster therefore causing problems to your car, you have a warranty, make sure you flush your car at 30k miles cause if not you sure will destroy your car especialy a 2.5l motor, you cant just go buy a new car turn the key and just expect it to drive 150000 miles without minor problems. ALL cars have minor problems and need care if you dont give it the care it needs go make false rants about the company for something you messed up on. Also there is a book called manual you must read it to know your whole car, its not there just to sit in your glove compartment and keep it dusted up until you screwed up your car.
So you purchase a new car (4yrs old is new for me) of a type you've never owned having this fantasy in your head of reliability. The thing drives and looks fantastic but within a few days starts to ping like crazy. Only thing to stop this is Chevron premium. Its said it gets 30mpg on freeway and 26 around town but you average 21. Then here is the cool part...you dump 8qts of oil into it between oil changes. If the fantasy is true then I bought a Lemon. Let me ask you a fellow human: Would you be soured if you were me? Would you stay away from Subaru from now on just to not chance another POS? I'll answer for you...OF Course!
Just found this site after our 2009 Forester 2.5X with 91k miles is diagnosed dead. Similar to the experience of others, (lifeson34), while passing at 60 mph, clack/clang and then the persistent horrific sounds of metal scraping and banging metal inside my engine compartment. (I'm a nurse, not a mechanic). I was stranded on a dark mountain road at 2:00 a m. I was able to maneuver to safety, and spared being rear-ended on the many blind curves on this particularly dangerous road. We bought this car because we wanted a safe, reliable car for a well-known dangerous highway in our area.The car was eventually towed to the local Subaru where we were told it would cost nearly $6000 to replace the engine. This car had been serviced only by Subaru: we had purchased brand new and added the 3 years/45k maintenance agreement. It received every recommended service and we have had the oil changed every 5000 miles. The car was scheduled to go in for service 2 days after this incident happened. The car had ZERO oil in it when my husband got it to the dealers on a Sunday morning; even the sales rep said he'd never seen anything like it. What alarms me is that there was zero warning prior to this. NO lights came on, no oil was ever seen dripping, no smells of burning oil, and no infamous clouds of smoke...just plain old dead in the water. Six year old car, 28k. Seriously, REALLY? I've had three Honda's that ran forever without trouble, (CRX, Accord and CR-V); had heard that AWD Subaru's were the bee's knees...I made the mistake of not researching sites like this one. In my poor younger days in the early 1980's, I had a beater, 1963 Mercury Marauder that I had to add a can of oil and a can of steering fluid on a regular basis...I didn't realize that my 28K, six year old Subaru was pretty much the same as that $500 beater car.
ANY turbo car should have oil changed every 3000 miles. Not sure why your dealership would not have mentioned that to you.
Not a turbo
This thread saddens me. The 2015 Legacy is a good looking car and with the AWD and Eyesight, it's perfect for what I want. After having a few Toyotas, any car that won't get to 200k miles without a repair will disappoint me. Why can't Toyota come out with a safety package similar to Eyesight. Sigh.
LeoLeo99, Toyota has similar technology. Its not called Eyesight, but Eyesight is Toyota technology. Toyota is the largest share holder of Subaru. Lexus, also a Toyota product has the technology. http://www.toyota-global.com/innovation/safety_technology/safety_technology/technology_file/pre_crash/
Thanks. The Legacy is in my price range more so than Lexus. Guess in about 10 years stuff like this will be on every car.
I have a 2012 Subaru Forester that has had electrical problems from the beginning, as well as a strange clunking in the braking system. Two Subaru dealership service department supervisors, and a corporate office supervisor named Deloria have been antagonistic and condescending, refusing to answer questions about why I kept having problems with the electrical gauges (temperature, gas, clock, etc.) Subaru Santa Cruz's Mark Schultz answer was to change the battery once (that was questioned by the independent third party...Mark was blowing smoke up my skirt so to speak), then Deloria proceeded to throw the dealership sales person under the bus by trying discredit him saying he sold me a warranty that was NOT a Subaru warranty...so she replaced it for FREE, supposedly. Problem here...it was a Subaru warranty that was originally sold...she lied to hide and create more distraction. Then, I was told by the GM at the Capitol Subaru to take it to a third party for verification of the electrical because they would charge me to diagnostics if they COULDN'T FIND THE PROBLEM. Bet they were not going to either based on everything else I encountered with corporate and their services already. I took the Forster to the third party where we discovered there were many DIODES placed on a circuit board the runs these systems. This means that SUBARU knew prior to release of the 2012 PZE model that the electrical problems existed, and tried to patch it and it has failed. Now the CD player gets very hot when I play one. The mechanic stated it was a costly fix and that I needed to contact BAR. And, the bottom line to this entire story is that the California Bureau of Automotive Repair must step in to make them accountable because they have intentionally screwed their entire Forester customer base by these actions, then tried to hide it. This is a design flaw and it will cause failures throughout the system over time. Was this intentional because they will reap the benefits of screwing their customers for service repairs caused by their intentional act to release a product with known electrical issues. THIS WILL COST THEM A LOT! The parts in question are from CHINA, and I bet that is the tip of the ice berg. SUBARU HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO!
Hello everyone, Yes its true, Subaru is known for having head gasket issues. I own an 98 subaru forester which I got back in 2010 from a car auction. Back then, I did not know anything about Subarus except that they were tough vehicles and great for new england weather. I got the car for 2500. I did not realize that I bought a car that had a blown head gaskets and and cracked engine block. Thats the danger of buying from a car auction. lol. I went to a subaru dealer which quoted me a crazy amount. I forget the exact amount, but it was close to what I had paid for the car. I ended up going to a private mechanic who got me another engine with less miles and changed the head gaskets for about 1500. I did some research at the time and made sure that we replaced the head gaskets with the steel head gaskets. They are an updated type of head gasket that are suppose to be more reliable. After having the work done in 2010, I have to say that the car has been solid since. All I've done since then was change the oil, brake pads, (once) and a tune up recently. My mechanic, who is a subaru owner himself, showed me recently that the car has a small inexpensive exhaust leak, which i'm going to have fixed this week. Overall, After the head gasket situation, The car has been solid. Theres no doubt that subaru has a head gasket flaw in their vehicles. The interesting thing about it is that I see a lot of people out here buying subarus with blown head gaskets dirt cheap and getting them fixed. The truth is that these cars last. I've seen people driving foresters with over 300,000 miles on them. I'm not sure how the newer foresters are, but I would like think that they have fixed the head gasket flaw.
Hello,I work in an independent repair shop and have fixed a lot of these.Seems like they do outnumber other brands for the problems everyone here describes.Not sure if there were any catalytic converters mentioned here,but I have seen a bunch of them too.What a shame they seem like a pretty solid driveline though.
To the person with the 2012 forester having all the electrical issues,I have seen bad alternators cause a variety of strange electrical problems.They need to check not only for proper charging voltage(around 14v),but also excessive ac voltage output.Probably any more than 250mv (like 1/4 of one volt) is bad.Hope that helps.
I've been looking at Subarus' for about a year.I had a friend with one in 90's .He said nothing but trouble. Another lady had a 02 Outback and in 06 with under 60k miles needed new exhaust ,had motor problems and check engine light.She said from within 1st year the engine light came on.The Dealerships could never figure out the problem.When all the other problems came up.Dealer said it would cost between $4,500- $6,000 to fix.And no guarantee about check engine light.She said no more Subarus and She was heading to look at Hondas and Toyotas.With everything said.No Subaru for me.There overpriced compared to Toyotas and Hondas with less mileage.My 01 Camry with 185k is the best car every day driver I've ever owned.
I bought my first Subaru in 2005 a brand new Forrester. I loved that car about as much as one could love a car. My daughter started driving so I gave her mine and bought a 2010 brand new Forrester in Paprika! another love!.. I was on a road trip this past summer with the 2005 and broke down on a major highway in Tennesee @ 109,000 miles.. scary as hell with barely room to pull over. Long story short.. the engine went. I live in NJ.. I had to leave the car in TN.. rented a van and drive home. Waited a few days for a Subaru mechanic to look at it and confirm it was the engine... what to do.. what to do... I ended up selling it to them for less than $500. Very sad but I couldn't see spending $5000 and driving it back to NJ. I am/was afraid to buy another Subaru, mainly because of the oil issues I'm hearing about. Still, I have to keep an eye on the 2010 Forrester that my daughter has and the 2013 Legacy my son has. I purchased a 2015 Mazda CX5 and I'm praying. Does it feel as good as my Forrester did? hell no. Can I see out the back and side windows as well? another hell no. It does have a rear camera and a warning/light beep for blind spots so they both help. I'm just hoping this Mazda works out but I do love the feel of a Subie. Lastly, why can't they make cars that we can see well out of like Subaru does??? That can't be difficult.. Happy Days all...
@subarugal, what broke on the engine that caused a fatal injury to your Forrester?
2003 Baja....here's my story. I drive 75 mph in the rain. I drive anywhere I want to go in snow and Ice. I have never been stranded. My vehicle has never left me on the side of the road. I LOVE to drive my vehicle and I have meticulously maintained it. In 11 years the only two non routine issues I have had are the head gaskets and a power steering pump. My car is as good today as the day I bought it. If you look up surveys about owner loyalty and satisfaction Subaru is on top or near the top of every survey. Oh, I forgot to tell you this piece of information. Repairing vehicles is far cheaper in the long run for those who love their vehicle. Consider this fact. A 25,000 car of any brand will cost you 31 cents per mile if you drive 20,000 miles per year for for years. If your car is paid for and you spend 3000 per year on repairs and drive 20000 per year for for years you spend 15 cents per mile. But if you spend 3000 to repair over the 4 years you spend only 3.7 cents per mile. Think folks. Nothing lasts forever. I spend good money on meticulous maintenance and I am putting money in my pocket every day. There are disgruntled owners of every brand. Find something you love to drive and take care of it. No matter the brand you will do well to repair it and drive it. One final note here. My Baja has 303,000 miles on it. I would drive it cross country. Nothing is safer or drives better than my Baja....I love it. Can you tell?
Drive a Subaru in a harsh environment like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for one winter and you will understand why you see so many of these (relatively) expensive cars on the road in this economically depressed part of the country. Do they cost a little more to maintain than some other brands? Yes. But they start in the cold and they go through snow and ice that puts many other vehicles out of commission. My advice? Find a good independent Subaru mechanic and do all the routine maintenance. I've had a leaking head gasket or two and too- frequent brake work, but beyond that, no major problems. I've owned five (two currently). They keep their resale value, too.
My experience: I bought Good condition overall '99 Forester in 2004. It was a salvage title however, with well over 100K, ran strong, got a good deal at the point in time. At 139K, in 2006, I elected to have the engine completely rebuilt. The mechanic tried to talk me out of it, but the 'Deep rod knock' was really annoying, although it still ran perfectly fine, with no sign of the infamous head gasket issue. Since then, no major problems, head gaskets or wheel bearings. Other repairs, not including maintenance over the course of its 200K: Front CV axles (torn boots so elected to replace both), various sensors, a radiator (broken by removal for timing belt job), back rotors twice, all four brakes pads twice, battery, carpet,four struts, and three sets of tires. Central Iowa is part of the year Hot, very Wet, and Humid. Juxtaposed to the other half, which is a fluctuating variable of very cold, with intermittent deep snow. I drive the car in urban 'move it or loose it fashion', daily. Also, during my care, it met with two unfortunate and significant accidents as well, one causing frame damage. My family wouldn't hesitate buying another of any Subaru model produced. The handling is amazing in severe conditions, adding a level of safety that all the "Traction Control" in the world of other makes can't even touch! Beauty is certainly in eye of the beholder; my job has given two new Toyotas'- Camry and 2014 Sienna. Neither handle adequately for this climate in my estimation, and the Sienna is particularly remiss. It handles very poorly with almost jerky movements on dry pavement. It is miserable to sit in because of both the design of and lack of adjustment to both front seats. Controls are a joke to decipher with any sort quick glance method. It is all one one's perspective, but we not own either even if they came with million mile warranty (Subaru is part owned my Toyota):) Just one opinion, Subaru is a lot automobile for the money. After 100k, our Budget includes about $1200. or a little more for what we consider normal wear and tear repairs. As others have said is far cheaper than replacement, and you Know what you have. Ours still runs strong for 15 year old car, using No fluids of any kind.
Bought my car new in '04 and loved it for the first 9 years and 70k miles. Then my check engine light came on and the engine would really lag. $700 later I am back on the road and things are running fine. 4 months later at 77k miles I start loosing radiator fluid and I take it in to find out Head Gasket problems and $2000 repair bill. 2 years and less than 20k miles later I have an engine knock. Called to talk to the technicians and schedule a inspection to find problem and was told by one dealership 3-4 hours to do a full inspection to track down problem at $115 an hour and another dealership quoted the same thing at $75 an hour. Sorry major engine components should last more than 100k miles in this day and age. I will no longer recommend Subaru or ever buy another. I am now shopping for anything but....
A car is an appliance, and any car you buy is a negative investment, period. Personally, My last three cars were all brand new, All-American Chevrolets, all of which were highly reliable despite the popular myths of Japanese invincibility and American made crap. My caveat to this statement is that I MAINTAINED them and had realistic expectations about the longevity of a car that gets driven every day, for years. The first was a 1988 Beretta GT that I got sixteen years and 244,000 miles out of without any significant mechanical problems. It started to nickel and dime me to death with little annoyances, and I finally donated it to charity. The second was a 1996 Lumina, our first "family" car. A truly wonderful vehicle. Ten years and 136,000 miles with ZERO problems whatsoever, I traded it in. The last was a 2006 Impala LT that, after eight years, 154,000 miles and ZERO problems whatsoever, I traded in because the transmission was just starting to have issues. I went through the bachelor/family car phase over 20+ years and also wanted something different. What did I trade my Impala in for? A 2015 Subaru Outback Limited. I absolutely love this vehicle, but of course it is new. Last night, we bought a 2015 Forester Limited for my wife. It is replacing a 2006 Nissan XTerra, which was bought new and, with only 86,000 miles was experiencing transmission failure from a KNOWN flaw in the XTerra's transmission cooler. Nissan screwed so many people with this that it resulted in a class-action lawsuit. We traded it in while it was still running. I despised this gas-guzzling, uncomfortable pig of a vehicle but my wife loved it, and it was with difficulty that I convinced her to unload it and get the Forester. I did my homework, and Subaru came up the winner. I never liked Hondas or Toyotas and just wasn't interested in driving them. Anyway, you get the picture. I think it's reasonable to expect ten years and at least 100,000 miles out of any car without any significant issues, but after that it's a crapshoot.
@spqr63, you're absolutely correct, it's all about expectations and I can't understand why people use "appliance" as a pejorative to describe reliable cars. You were pleased with your American cars' reliability. I'd be disappointed if my car's transmission was starting to have problems after only 8 years and 154k miles. . There is also the age vs mileage argument. My wife and I drive a lot more than you and your wife do. Our Toyotas are 10 years old and knock on wood, nothing major has gone wrong. The one car needed O2 sensors and a $10 intake manifold gasket and a starter. The other car needed a starter and O2 sensor. Did all the repairs myself and did some maintenance at 200k miles on them last year and hope to get them both to 300k+ miles. I'm very happy with their reliability. Disappointed in all the squeaks and rattles.
PS, good luck with your Subaru! Hope you have 300k safe and troublefree miles.
Well, it looks like we have 2 camps here - the few who swear by their "Subies", and the many who will never buy another. I think I can sum it up best by saying: 1) Subaru (the Forester at least) has a head gasket problem - a really serious problem! Subaru has known about this for many years, yet has the problem been resolved? Do they stand behind their product? Is this the sort of company you want to turn your hard-earned cash over to? 2) Subaru is also notorious for wheel bearing and catalytic converter problems. Again, ongoing issues that have not been resolved. 3) Gas mileage is poor throughout their range of vehicles when compared to similar styles. Mileage has improved only slightly since I bought my vehicle in 2001! 4) Yes, Subaru has AWD, but so do many other manufacturers. My 2014 Mazda CX-5 has AWD, performs splendidly in snow and rain and gets up to 39.1 mpg! This is of course under optimal conditions (highway driving at 55-60 mph, ambient temperature of 60 degrees). But really, 39.1 mpg for a small SUV with AWD. I was so shocked I took a photo of the dashboard to show my husband! Almost 2 years post-purchase and I couldn't be happier with my Mazda.
Actually, I did narrow my choice down between the Outback and the CX-5, and I generally liked the Mazda. However, Mazdas still have much in common with Fords, a brand that I have long been suspicious of and therefore avoid. Ultimately, I preferred the interior aesthetics and layout of the Subaru, and it was a couple of thousand dollars cheaper when comparably equipped. Also, I enjoy kayaking and cycling, and the Outback readily accomodates my kayak and bike racks. Best of luck with your Mazda!
When I said my American cars had ZERO problems, what I meant was nothing outside of normal maintenance, which I am religious about. I consider brakes, belts, hoses, tires, filters, batteries, bulbs, occasional mufflers (yes, even stainless steel ones), and fluids to be normal maintenance items. But component failures, like starters, alternators, radiators, master cylinders, CV's, cats, compressors, etc. just didn't happen in the time that I owned them. People do love their Toyotas and yes, they are indeed very reliable cars, but I find that driving them feels dull and numb. As fo Nissan, see my previous XTerra horror story. I'm still not sold on Hyundai or Kia (especially); brands that started out with cheap disposable cars (the Excel and Sephia) and then quickly went upscale. I was all set to jump right into a 2015 Impala, but when I really thought about it, I realized I was tired of driving big sedans. Kia's initial gimmick of a 10/100,000 limited warranty is revealing of the overall reliability of almost every modern car, almost all will deliver that kind of service with normal maintenance. Sure, there are lemons out ther, but not many truly poor cars.
IMO, the Mazda CX-5 is the most fuel efficient, fun-driving, best-looking (small) SUV on the road! The steering is very responsive, braking excellent, and the ride extremely comfortable. The fact that blind-spot detection came standard on my car was an added plus. An all-around great value! If interior aesthetics are the most important feature when buying a car then perhaps the Outback is for you, but comments such as "Mazdas still have much in common with Fords, a brand that I have long been suspicious of and therefore avoid " are far too vague to be of much value. What are these commonalities? And how to you know about them?
IYO, yes it is the most fuel efficient, fun-driving, best-looking (small) SUV on the road! My opinion differs, and for reasons in addition to aesthetics. Ford had a 33% ownership stake in Mazda right up to 2010, and models from both brands shared engines, transmissions, platforms, and various technologies and creature comforts. The Mazda 323, for example, shared much with the Ford Escort. Same for the 626 and Tempo. Ford has been divesting itself of Mazda since 2010, but my disdain for Ford did not encourage me to consider Mazda.
A shared history is one thing, but we also need to consider what is currently happening in the marketplace. And a lot can happen in 4 years! To be suspicious of Mazda because of a disdain for Ford seems rather narrow-minded to me. Much better to let Mazda stand on its own!
To each his own, and I'll leave it at that.
I would not consider Mazda
I own a 2010 Legacy 2.5i with 130k and I don't have any of the problems I see on this forum. It is unfortunate for you new owners to have such premature problems with your motors. However the problems I read about are what I would consider WEAR items, they are designed to fail at a certain point, some will fail faster then others. I have no comment regarding Subaru Corporate, GOOD LUCK with that, all they see is the all mighty dollar, because for every one of your negative comments on here there is 10-15 others that love the car and have no problems. If your problems is brakes, if you do the research you can upgrade your brakes to ceramic pads, and drilled and slotted rotors for the same price as OEM parts. I change the oil in my car regularly, run all seasons in the summer and winter tires in the winter. Being from NY, this makes all the difference. Head gaskets and catalytic converters will fail on any vehicle eventually, again some faster then others, that's the chance I'm willing to take with this vehicle as all the other positives out way other maintenance issues. Subaru's are expensive to fix, you should be aware of this when you purchase one. The only negative complaint I have is shaking in the winter when snow gets caught in the rims. If your diligent this to can be prevented. I am going to try the silicone spray I saw suggested. Those of you who have had negative experiences, you should be upset, however it is possible you got a lemon, or stroke of bad luck, or just a shit car that was built on a Friday, in any case it doesn't make it a bad vehicle. I have had VW, Chevys 4wd trucks, Fords cars, Buicks, Hyundai, and they all did far worse on gas and maintenance then my Legacy ever has. I would by another one any day of the week. Now if only Subaru could make a truck!!!!
A head gasket is not a wear item. It should last the life of the car.
Base on the number of issues Subaru is having, It seems 50 percent have some issue and 50 did not. However, this is also a huge percentage to have issues. Also, 2014 Forester with the 2.5 engine has been consuming oil at an alarming rate. Subaru claims this is normal. My experience was not too good as well. Blown head gasket, burst fuel line, crack windshield, Clutch screeching, Subaru canada does not acknowledge and act like it is the first time they have heard of the head gasket problem. Even though the net is littered with head gasket problems on Subaru. so far, Toyota and Mazda will try to satisfied their customer. Mazda change my wife windshield that was crack from the cold. Toyota change a wheel bearing on my rav4 without giving me the run around. They also honor what the sales rep said even though I did not have it in writing. It seems Subaru try to avoid repairing any request under warranty. They are being sued by 2010 to 2014 foresters who have the oil consumption issue
Leoleo99 you are correct sir, it should last the life of the motor. I should have been more specific in my answer, my apologies. I was referring to most of the other things I read about. Head gaskets are a sudden failure item, and should in theory be covered, however car dealerships and companies will weasel their way out of spending any money in favor of you if they can help it.
12 years and 95,000 miles is pretty low mileage, I think it's a matter of time more than miles in this case. My other car is a 2009 Toyota Prius and it just had a wheel bearing failure at just under 59,000 miles, so, these things happen. I think that the Subaru's in general are built stronger than Toyota's, especially the Prius. My previous car was a 1995 Honda Accord and it never had any wheel bearing or head gasket problems. Sometimes it's just a matter of luck. My final question for you is, did you replace your timing belt and water pump? Again, it's a time issue and if your belt is that old, you might just want to have that checked out before waiting until it fails. My two cents.
When I had my head gasket replacement, I had the timing belt and water pump replaced as these things wear out and to get the gasket replaced, they have easy access to these parts. I also recommend having the heads and valves worked on, the additional cost is not bad and the car seems to be running like new, over 118,000 miles.
I went to an independent garage and paid about $1,800 including getting the heads and valves done plus other work above and beyond getting the head gaskets repaired. The dealer is making a killing when they do the repairs and they get the parts wholesale.
Yes, good thinking, I hope they used the new multi layered head gaskets in your car. With a new timing belt and water pump you should be set for another 100,000 miles. Check out the Subaru high mileage club on the net. Best wishes for many more miles. I agree with you that a good independent mechanic is every bit as good or better than the dealer. Look at it this way, your personal mechanic works exclusively on your car every time, while you don't know who's working on your car in the dealership. Trouble is finding a good independent who's honest. Once you find that person, you're in great shape, they want your return business and will work to make you happy. I found a great mechanic who use to work at a dealership and opened his own garage. A mechanic who is great a diagnosis is essential. Good luck.
Liz as you will find out Mazda uses low grade steel on the body panels of their vehicles. My 06 Mazda 3 had major rust on both rear wheel arches. Luckily I was able to have Mazda cut out and replace both arches as the car was out of warranty by 6 months. This I have found is common on many Mazda models. I get that the CX5 is one of the best if not the best driving small SUVs on the market (when new) but must say that of all the makes of vehicles I have owned and worked on, Mazda vehicles show their age the worst. Because of their unique suspension set up they chew through wheel bearings, and the occasional strut mount. To say that a company like Mazda makes better more reliable vehicles than Subaru is just ignorant. When you hit 70,000 in the CX5 post again with a update, that is if you still own it.
Mattth - you and maybe Liz reside in the Northeast and my condolences about the weather these past two winters. I actually have a Subaru, but , in defense of Liz, how do you know that Mazda uses "low grade " steel and what does that mean, lighter weight? No matter what , it obviously takes more maintenance to keep the road salt off your cars there. Maybe that's why she's saying that she gets better mileage? Here in Southern California we don't have any rust or weather problems and cars ( at least the bodies ) can last as long as you want to keep fixing the mechanical systems. I normally keep my car for 15 to 20 years to get the maximum service life out of the vehicle. It all boils down to this, purchase the car you want with features you need and be happy with your decision. Kind of like the 31 Flavors at Baskin Robins. Seems like there's an awful lot of Subaru cars in the Northeast and Northwest so people must know something about the integrity of Subaru cars in snow country. Even though there's no snow here in Southern California where we live, we do have snow in the mountains and I purchased this car to tow my trailer which it does beautifully. Liz will find out as you did with your own experience on whether her car will hold up to inclement weather. I would suggest that she merely observes how many Mazda cars there are compared to the percentage of Subaru cars and she will find her answer. I agree with you that Subaru's are very tough cars and no one beats Subaru on their AWD system that they have been perfecting since 1972.
Honestly, I don't think this is case of comparing apples to apples here. Despite the marketing, these listed vehicles were made for two very different buyers. Having had a Mazda myself, it might thrive with one user, but not this one. Mine fell apart at 70K. That bought new example was given every pampering element known to man! Just my two. We have a saying in the Midwest- To each their own.
John, I agree with you 100 percent which is why I invited Liz to compare how many more Subaru's there are in cold climates than Mazda. Plus, I know from reading many posts that the AWD on the Subaru is superior to many other cars including Mazda, My only defense of Liz is her "right to choose". As I stated before, maybe it's not an issue in Southern California, but, it certainly is in your area. I'm glad I have my Subaru Outback, great car! I don't live in snow country, but, we do have local mountains and it's nice to know it's capable of all kinds of weather. Plus, I needed a higher clearance vehicle to pull my teardrop trailer. The Subaru can pull 2,700 pounds which is more than enough for a small 1,000 pound rig. I doubt that the towing capacity of the Mazda is even close to that?
The towing capacity of the Subaru Outback 2.5 is 2,700 pounds vs the Mazda CX 5 ' s capacity of 2,000 pounds. Also, the ground clearance of the Subaru Outback is 8.7 inches. Incidentally, the Six cylinder Subaru Outback 3.6, only has an extra 300 pounds of towing capacity, and doesn't get the fuel economy of the 2.5 engine. From my experience, the Four works fine. With the CVT transmission, economy is 22 city and 29 highway. Even towing the trailer, I'm getting 22-23 miles per gallon on the highway. Don't know what the Mazda CX 5 gets, but, the Subaru Outback suits my needs perfectly.
I have the 2.5 and it has been and continues to be reliable work horse. Belonging to a couple of Subaru clubs, and looking at the data, would support the 6 Cylinder if you have the coin for fuel is the way to go. The 2.5 timing belt service is not cheap on Subaru, and eliminated altogether on the 6 cylinder .. And the power band is significantly improved, especially with towing a trailer. From the research I've done over the years, the prevailing word on the street word is "Go with the Six, Less problems, longer lasting over the turbo four". The only downside I have read, is it is harder to work on with the limited space in the engine bay.
John, yes, it's definitely more crowded in the engine compartment. Initially, I had my eyes set on the Six, but, after driving the Four especially with the CVT, I was convinced this was the way to go. I purchased a CPO vehicle from a local dealer, it was a 2010 Outback Limited, with all of the nice features that come with that trim. They didn't offer the CVT until 2015 and now feature that with their entire line of cars, no more manual, I didn't want that anyway, good riddance. Have a friend with a manual Forrester and she has nothing but headaches. I towed my trailer all the way to the top of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, almost 9,000 feet, no problem. And, later towed the trailer to Death Valley over mountain roads with no problems either. My trailer weighs between 900 and 1,000 pounds loaded, so, it's about one third of the towing capacity of the car. Here's what you get with the Six, faster acceleration, 300 pounds more towing, less gas mileage, I don't have a turbo Four, it's the naturally aspirated Four, 170 horsepower and 170 pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm, it's a lower rpm range for that 170 torque and horsepower than the Six, which makes a difference. Yes, the Six can get to 60 in 1.5 to 2 seconds faster than my car, but, I'm in my 60s... this was only important to me when I was 20. Oh, one more thing, the Six has a timing chain for the model year 2010, while I have a timing belt. I'm beginning to think that the timing belt is more desirable, why you ask. Recently, I've been reading many posts on this forum for Hondas and Toyotas, not Subaru's where their timing chain either failed and ruined their engine or were told to replace their timing chain because it stretched out of alignment? This is a huge problem for people to change their timing chain, it's a lot easier to do the timing belt as you know. With a timing belt, there's an interval to do that and you know it's done, whereas, there's no guide to when to change that timing chain, and if were to break, you would destroy your motor. So, as a single point of failure, the timing chain, which is normally supposed to last the life of the car, could destroy your ride in one event. So, I'm happy to be saving the gas and am in control of when these service intervals get done. It's a maintenance thing, cars do require routine maintenance. You have a 2.5, what model Subaru do you have? And have you had any head gasket, or oil burning issues? Actually, motor trend magazine named the 2010 Subaru Outback SUV car of the year for 2010.
Here's a picture of my Outback and teardrop trailer. As you can see, it's pretty small and all fiberglass. There's no wood on this trailer so everything is extremely lightweight. The car pulls it everywhere easily.
Mark when I described the steel Mazda uses as low grade I should have been more specific, what I know is that Mazda back in the erly 2000s created the world's first environmentally friendly paint process that cut down on C02 and VOC emissions. The result was a thin paint coating, and a worse pre treatment coating which is the true cause of most Mazdas rusting from the inside out. No amount or type of rust proofing can stop this type of corrosion. Ford conducted many studies on this, as they once owned part of Mazda as noted by someone else in this thread. In any case calling Subaru as a Less honest and worse quality auto maker than Mazda is not accurate. There is an very good reason the resale value of all Mazda models is terrible and it has a lot to do with corrosion issues.
Markw, You have a nice rig! I have heard and read the CVT has improved performance substantially, and your experience would seem to bear that out. I have a very old Forester S. It was bought used (wrecked) with well over 100K. The engine did need a rebuild due to rod knock at 139K. Doesn't use a drop off oil, or use any fluids. A flat head engine as told by engineers, presents its own set of advantages/challenges. One being when the car sits, the fluids collect and sit on the various surfaces of the head. For this reason I change the fluids religiously. Now with 200K it runs very strong and overall it has been a good investment (no daily driver really is one in money terms). Would not hesitate to take it to across country; My next car will be a new Subaru; It is upsetting to have a repair under a 100K, for some of us, that weren't used to 1970s cars. Although very annoying, considering the overall quality of the car, it would not be a deal breaker for my family to say have a head gasket go or even wheel bearing.
Thanks John. The CVT is probably new for a lot of folks to get used to, but, I was familiar with it since it's similar to my 2009 Toyota Prius. While the Prius feels the same it technically is a "power sharing transmission" while the Subaru is a true CVT utilizing a pulley belt system. The Subaru Outback has six predetermined steps on paddle shifters on the steering wheel, so, you can manually control the transmission on downgrades if you need to. It's an ingenious system and gives you the confidence of a stick shift without the headache of dealing with one. The engine and performance optimization of always being in precisely in the right gear range is sweet. It's an infinite range so the car is always set for the best gearing for engine rpm's. When I drove it at the dealership for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised by its responsiveness. It feels like a much more powerful car with a very low torque pull, kind of pushes you back in your seat from take off. A lot of people knock CVT's for the noise they make on hard acceleration. Yes, the engine does rev up, but as soon as you're up to speed, it quickly adjusts the gear to bring down the RPM's. It sort of feels and sounds like an airplane might taking off at the runway. Very interesting feeling indeed. Cruising at 65 or 70 at 2,000 RPM's is smooth and quiet. I could not have gotten this transmission with the 2010 Outback and the six cylinders, they just didn't offer this transmission in this engine until 2015. The Subaru Outback for 2010 was the first model year for the new Subaru Lineartronic CVT. I'm very happy with this setup. When I purchased my Prius in 2009, an engineer told me that these new CVT transmissions would be the wave of the future and they are much simpler and more efficient than conventional automatic transmissions. Guess he was right, Subaru has adopted them for all their cars and they get superior mileage as well.
A request of the recent commenters: please keep your comments relevant to the initial posting! Comments related to towing capacity, 6 cylinder vs. 4, ground clearance etc. should be avoided as they are not related to the initial question that I posed. And in response to Matth1983: my opinions are not based on ignorance but rather personal experience. My Forester had major rust issues around the back window that required repair even though the car was washed and waxed at least once a month and never experienced prior body damage. Having driven my Mazda CX-5 through almost 2 winters now, it handles just as well on snowy roads as my Forester ever did so I am not convinced Subaru "owns" AWD as some believe. As far as longevity is concerned, I guess I'll find out - but I can say that, many years ago, my husband had a (low-end) Mazda Protege which he made no effort to care for. After 10 years it looked better than my Subaru Forester did at the same age.
Liz, the question is why Subaru, not Mazda, are building reliable cars. As far as I'm concerned, people can discuss a wide variety of topics related to their experiences on this subject including whether they've had positive or negative experiences with their cars, so, why do you think that the discussion of towing, transmissions or power is not relevant? No one is advising you not to talk about your direct comparison to your previous Subaru to your newly acquired Mazda even though it's clear that you think Mazda to be superior quality? Maybe it is, maybe not? So, discussions of long term reliability and staying on the road with full power is very much part of reasons people write in. I was not aware that you were the forum moderator? Are you? Remember that I was the one who defended your right to choose when people asserted that your Mazda was constructed of inferior steel. Who knows and why does it matter? If you take careful precautions you may never have to worry about that, but, I suspect if you live in a temperate climate it may be unavoidable. In Southern California it wouldn't be an issue at all. It's true that the cost of living in Southern California is higher than most parts of the country, but, the rare exception is cars. Here, you can buy a car and the body can easily last 25 years, so, if you like your car and just want to keep the mechanical systems running forever you can. About AWD, Subaru has been perfecting this technology since 1972 and features it their entire line, it's an option on other cars. How long has Mazda been offering that feature? Look at countless you tube videos and you'll see how Subaru cars outperform many other cars with that feature. Over 40 years of technology perfecting their symmetrical all wheel drive systems is a fact you cannot deny.
I recommend that Subaru take a greater interest in the OVERALL build and integrity of their cars - their current and future customers will thank them! As it stands now, the thousands of customer complaints, over many years time, of failed head gaskets, bad wheel bearings, and now outrageous oil consumption, is nothing short of corporate irresponsibility as far as I'm concerned. And nothing anyone has said so far has changed my opinion of Subaru. Time will tell what the future holds for my Mazda CX-5, but following 2 years of ownership, it FAR surpasses my Subaru Forester in every way possible. And no, I am not the forum moderator, but as the original poster, I feel compelled to keep the discussion relevant. If people would like to discuss other, unrelated, issues they are free to start another thread.
Liz, tell me how you can separate reliability from performance. You brought up extraneous issue like gas mileage, AWD and other topics a long time ago on this thread yourself, so, the discussion migrated to other topics related to the performance of the cars. Good luck with your Mazda, it's only two years old, so, I imagine that you don't have too many problems.
Strictly speaking to answer the question and with Respect to all: I feel Subaru, although being a smaller company with a limited R/D budget, manufactures a very reliable car! It's all wheel drive system is only surpassed by the vaunted BMW (Not even close to being in the same price class). I say reliable because in my opinion the lifespan Service of the vehicles makes them worth fixing, for those of of us that want to keep our cars 15-20 years. Worth pointing out to as example: They are very popular cars in parts of Africa, where the roads a terrible! Why? Because they are built to survive such harsh use.
John, thank you, I agree with you completely.
John, well said.
I read just about all these replies because I'm thinking about buying a subaru. They all scare me in to wanting one of course. But has any given a root cause of the head gasket issue? I have heard from a few people that it is critical that engine coolant is clean and most importantly, not acidic. So I'm curious to the owners who had head gasket problems AND took care of them religiously if they ever considered coolant flushes as part of their regular maintenance. I would also be very interested in knowing what the coolant ph was when their head gasket was said to have failed. All the pictures of these failed gaskets show the surface being corroded away. Which leads me to believe that the only things in contact with the head gaske, which are the engine, engine oil and coolant, is what is causing the failure. Your engine oil would have to be in really really bad shape for a really really long time for combustion gases to disolve into the oil and eat away at the head gaskets so I don't think this has a big contribution to the failures. If the cylinder head and engine block are poorly grounded than it is feasible that electrolytic corrosion is taking place on the gasket. But the failure mode that makes most sense to me is the corrosive coolant due to lower coolant ph. How the ph gets lower is not clear to me however so I am a bit reserved with believing that idea entirely. But there's only one way to find out - regularly test the ph of your coolant. So those of you with old subaru with a leaking head gasket, go to the pool store and buy some ph strips in the 6-8 range. If its lower than 7 than we could have a reason for the failures (not exactly proof) but certainly probable cause.
Yes, you have reason to be concerned especially with vehicles older than 2010. Beginning with the 2010 model year, Subaru changed the design of the head and introduced "mutli-layered " head gaskets that should last for a much longer time beyond 100,000 miles. My car has just over 70,000 miles and they are the original head gaskets. Of course, you can always purchase an extended warranty on any car, including a certified pre-owned car. I always recommend this, there's a lot of computer controlled and other mechanical failures that can go wrong on any car. Not sure about all the "ph" issues you raised, but, keeping your car maintained with proper fluids is the key to everything. I'm not sure which car and year you're thinking of, but the new FB engines with the oil consumption problem on "some" not all cars started raising it's ugly head beginning with 2013 on the Outbacks and 2011 with the Forester models. If you're thinking about owning a Subaru, I suggest driving one. They handle and feel more responsive than other similarly sized Fours out there. Why? Probably because of the "boxer engine", they have a lot of low end torque. Finally, if you get a good one, it can go 200,000 to 300,000 miles if you take care of it. Good luck.
My gaskets are going on 9 years old from replacement (Done as part of overall rebuild). So far with 75K, no leaks or problems. Subaru sells a liquid conditioner you add with each coolant change. It supposed to activate if a leak forms and seal it. Cheap insurance if you ask me. Also I make sure the battery terminals are clean and dry. Others have speculated that electrolysis could be factor in early decay of the gasket. According to different mechanics as voiced, the consensus in regards to Chemical flushes, is they generally make the gasket issues worse not better. Changing the coolant at regular intervals, with quality product, is very good idea with these cars.
Thanks John, from your earlier posts, you have a 1997 or first generation Forester S, with 137k on your car? Or probably more? How often do you flush and change these fluids? My 2010 Outback does not have a temperature gauge, they decided to install a fuel minder showing how much gas you're saving. Nice feature, but, would have been nicer if they just added that without removing the analog temperature gauge. Instead, they have these "smart warning lights " whereby the lights are supposed to flash when you are about to overheat. I read somewhere that it's more likely you'll see the flashing warning lights before you'll notice the gauge increasing, interesting theory? Apparently, in 2010, they installed newly designed multi layered head gaskets and this solved a lot of over heating and head gasket failures. What's your point on the battery terminals? Got it on the chemical flush, I've never done that on any car. That comment reminded me of the time years ago I tried to add some cleaning agent to a car I owned years ago with a carburetor, resulting in a disaster. I'm sure that a lot of people on this forum will be asking, what's a carburetor?
Here is a automotive Internet grab: WHAT IS ELECTROLYSIS? Electrolysis is the result of electricity flowing through your cooling system and causing an electrochemical charge across the aluminum. This results in rapid corrosion and severe damage to the components in your cooling system including discoloration, pitting, flaking, and pinholes. Most common in late model vehicles, hot rods and street rods, electrolysis will usually occur if there is a defective or missing ground on one of the numerous potential electrical sources. HOW CAN I TEST FOR ELECTROLYSIS? To test if your cooling system has been affected by electrolysis, you will need to test the voltage in your cooling system. The first step is to connect the negative lead of a volt/ohm meter to the battery ground. Then, carefully insert the positive lead of the volt/ohm meter into the coolant inside the radiator without contacting the filler neck. If the result is more than 0.10 V, this indicates that there is an electrical current flowing through the system. Continue to check the voltage between the coolant and 1) the engine 2) the frame by touching the negative lead to each respectively. Repeat test with the positive lead touching the radiator instead of the coolant. A simple and usually effective way to try and determine the faulty electrical source is to conduct this test with the engine running and all vehicle accessories on. Have a friend or coworker systematically switch on and off components of the car as you monitor the meter (in some instances, fuses need to be removed in order to switch the accessory off. You may also want to test with the ignition off). If voltage drops when disconnecting an electrical circuit, that circuit represents a likely electrical source. WAYS TO PREVENT ELECTROLYSIS: Unfortunately, only the careful monitoring and proper maintenance of your cooling and electrical system can really prevent electrolysis from destroying your system. ALWAYS make sure the radiator is not used as a ground and that all components are functioning properly. Periodically test your system and check for any discoloration or pinholes – especially around the tube-to-header joints and tubes near the center of the core by the electric fan mounts. It has been pointed out to, that if say a lot of corrosion exits around the battery area and is allowed to grow it will interact with the nearby surfaces. I don't know if that is true and don't want to find out. My '99 Forester has logged at 200K; It's coolant is changed with the points. No just kidding, it is done every three years and completely changed it by using additional coolant to "Flush" with. Oh yea, in case anyone is wondering about the Subaru Coolant Conditioner. No it does not affect the heater core, nor plug anything that it shouldn't.
Thank you John, I learned something from your last post that I didn't know before. Way to go with that 99 Forester, I'm sure you're a proud member of the Subaru High Mileage Club.
I'll stand by Subaru any day. My 2003 Baja is at 288,000 miles and running strong. I've replaced the clutch three times, front right half shaft twice, adjusted the A/C clutch, and other normal O&M. The left head gasket has leaked for 200k miles but never more than a few drops; I add about a quart every 2 oil changes (6k miles). I run Firestone Winterforce tires year round and get about 60k miles per set. The combo of true AWD, great vehicle weight balance, and tires works beautifully in all weather conditions. I'll drive this Baja until one of us can't go any more!
So, you purchased your Baja new? In the 288,000 miles or so, have you ever figured out your cost per mile, total investment divided by the almost 300,000 miles. I'll bet it's not much more than 10 cents per mile?
John, a couple of follow up questions for you? Do you live in the Northeast with inclement weather? And, is that the reason you are changing the coolant in your car's radiator so often? The reason I ask is that according to the Subaru manual, the coolant replacement is supposed to be at 137,500 miles or 132 months and they use the super coolant from the factory, so, why do this prematurely? See, http://www.cars101.com/subaru/subaru_maintenance1.html
John, here in Southern California, we don't have climate challenged problems, unless you consider occasional rain, so, cars here can last practically forever.
For my model year the recommended service interval to change coolant is 30 months; The weather here in Iowa is extreme: Central Iowa is part of the year Hot, very Wet, and Humid. Juxtaposed to the other half, which is a fluctuating variable of very Cold, with intermittent deep snow. Also, we have the highest acid rain concentration in the Country. It amazes me how well the car has done over the 11 years driven; I don't agree with the original post in the sense that a 12 year old car shouldn't need a major repair. Being a car enthusiast, having had well over 10 cars in 30+ years, and numerous ones' at work, I am convinced that it is actually probable to have them, as time is a separate wear factor from mileage.
John, first, I agree with you completely that Liz's disappointment in her 12 year old car with 95,000 miles needing a significant repair in all of those years of service is an eternal optimist. Cars, like any other commodity, deteriorate over time, and they are meant to be driven,. In 12 years she could have had 144,000 miles on that car and it would have still been considered in the normal mileage range. So, claiming that you have a "low mileage" car and then complaining that after the passage of time you're not pleased is not consistent with someone who has experience with car ownership.. Back to your comment, I realize that the weather conditions have a major impact on machinery. Especially in the hot, humid and snow country your in. Here in Southern California we do have hot summers, but, I'm sure that your extremes in your region are more intense. Acid, rain, I cannot even imagine. Likewise, if someone lived on the moon with their cars, things would be worse, you get the picture. Now back to your question about the coolant; I talked with people here including my mechanic and local Subaru dealer. I'm going to have to go with the recommended service interval for my car, which is 132 months or 137,500 miles. The car came from the factory with that "super coolant" and I think they engineered that for a reason nothing is a coincidence. I purchased the car as CPO last May and purchased an extended warranty to 100,000 miles. My warranty is for mechanical breakdown insurance with a $100 deductible covering everything on the car including electronics. The car came with an excellent provenance and was impeccably maintained, Now the car is 66 months old and has just over 70,000 miles. I, too, have had many cars since I was in my teens and now in my 60s, and drive much more conservatively now. It's called maturity. I realize that the way you treat your car is important , and speed racing costs money, repairs and citations, don't need any extras like that. I don't know how a lot of people treat their cars, but, I know that people like to "flame" on the internet. I've read a number of article and am pretty well convinced that most of the problems people have been experiencing with their cars are those with "manual transmissions". From what I've read about your posts, I'm sure you don't do this, but, people love to rev up their engines, pop the clutch and speed shift, Truth is, automatics are better and they even get better mileage and last longer. Sure, there were problems in the past with head gaskets, every car has one problem or another. Finally, it's clear to me that technology changes everything and as time goes on standards change which is why your 2003 probably requires a more frequent coolant change. Years ago, they recommended changing your oil every 3,000 miles and changing your transmission oil every 15,000 miles. Now, engine oil changes with synthetic oil can go 7,500 or even 10,000 miles and there's no change of transmission fluid on CVT's, they don't even have dipstick on the transmission. Also gone are tune ups, carburetors, points, condensers, which all disappeared years ago. So, I'm going to continue with the normal maintenance schedule and go easy on my car. I think it's great that you've got over 200,000 miles on your car, That's just over 16,000 miles per year on your car. Carfax says that the average driver puts 15,000 miles on your car. Like I said, service is the name of the game and sounds like you're getting your moneys worth to me regardless of repairs, Finally, people have to realize that there's a difference between repairs and maintenance. All cars require regular maintenance and you cannot count that as extra costs, you'd have to do that on any car. Good luck with many motoring miles on your Baja. I saw one parked in our area recently and in remarkably good condition. I don't see them very often, looks like a good utility vehicle. Thanks for your input.
John and Markw, It would appear you did not thoroughly read the original post - I was not complaining that my 12 year old (impeccably cared for) Forester needed A significant repair, my complaint was that it required MANY of them. It had so many failed systems, and needed so many repairs, that to keep it was no longer cost effective. So I unloaded it - and very quickly! I am really pleased though that all the issues occurred simultaneously since it would have been very annoying to have had to sink money into one major repair, only to have another take its place. And no, I am not an eternal optimist, but neither am I a catastrophist! I expect that a product intended for long term use (a car), that is sanely driven, and well-cared, for should last a very long time (i.e. more than 95,000 miles). Initially, I thought my experience was just an unfortunate one, but then I did a little research and found that thousands of other Forester owners had similar complaints about head gaskets and wheel bearings. This of course brought me to ask the question of why Subaru has a reputation for reliability. I can only imagine it has much to do with their early vehicles which seemed to be more reliable than the current ones, marketing, and consumer complacency. Like I said in an earlier post "Well, it looks like we have 2 camps here - the few who swear by their "Subies", and the many who will never buy another". You can count me in the latter!
OK Liz, can you cite some of the other major repairs besides wheel bearings, I already know that you had a head gasket failure. What other failed systems are you talking about and I imagined that you decided to skip those and just get rid of the car since they all happened at once as you just stated. I wonder if there's a quality difference between the Forester and the Outback, seems more people complaining about the Forester model.
Spotty quality here in there, isn't unique to Subaru; I could post a bunch of boring data to prove my point- Other manufactures are not really any different, in many ways put out the same pod of peas:) Currently even the Bullet Proof Honda brand is struggling with quality control of its Civic model. Yes the Outback (which was somewhat updated first) from that era was a better car, at least by the ratings of that time.
In addition to the head gasket failure and bad wheel bearings, I also needed a new oil pan, catalytic converter, AND had significant rust around the inside of the gas tank (where you fill gas). This problem caused gas fumes to leak out, and the engine light to go on. Most of the above repairs are costly - taken together they argue strongly against keeping the car. It just wasn't worth it! Oh, I neglected to mention the brakes which always were a problem - twice I changed all the brake pads AND rotors. And if you think I was hot-rodding around town - well, you'd be wrong. It could be that the problems I mentioned are associated with the Forester model alone but I wasn't willing to find out by buying another Subaru. Much too unhappy an experience for me!
That's it? OK, new oil pan, cat and engine light malfunction you can't blame RUST on the car! And, brakes, that's a maintenance item, you can't count that, tires, oil changes, etc. That's all normal wear and tear on a car and any car will have these items. There are many reasons to buy a new car, but, saving money is NOT ONE OF THEM. The average car these days costs between $25 and $30,000 including tax. And the average car payment is around $400 per month to actually buy the car, I'm not talking about leasing. So, if you figure that this cost is $4,800 per year for 5 years, that's a lot of money to acquire a new vehicle. Compare that to just fixing everything on your existing car. Even if it cost you $5,000 to do that and I doubt it would ,especially if you took your car to an independent garage, where labor is less than the dealer, you would have everything fixed and ready to go for another 50,000 miles or so. You're not going to spend $5,000 per year on repairs every year, I don't care what goes wrong. Now, you're going to say it's not worth it, because the cost of repairs is more than the car is worth. That's true, , but, what do you really want your car to do is provide you SERVICE. Of course, if you want a car with new electronic features and the latest safety equipment and better gas mileage, buy the new car. Now matter how much money you put into an older car, you can never achieve the mileage of newer cars, they have better technology like CVT to achieve that. I hope you bought the extended warranty to 100,000 miles on your Mazda.
Liz, I'll bet that you didn't even replace your timing belt and water pump since it was under 100,000 miles, did you?
Liz, one more question for you. When you purchased your Mazda did you trade it in or sell it privately? I'm guessing that you traded that car in . Also, it's probably best that you did if you never replaced the timing belt and water pump. If you didn't do that, you were running the risk of blowing up the engine if they failed. That's an expensive maintenance item, not a repair. I'm always amazed by people calling these routine service intervals "repairs", when in reality, they are normal service and maintenance items on cars. So, if you skipped all of those regular service intervals, like the timing belt, it was a good move to say goodbye to your car. Its not just mileage, but time, and if you ignored that, it's a pretty risky gamble on the belt breaking.
Markw, I am not clear what you mean when you ask...When you purchased your Mazda did you trade it in or sell it privately? I assume you mean, did I trade-in or sell the Subaru when I purchased the Mazda. I'm not sure how this is relevant. And as far as service and maintenance is concerned...if Subaru recommended the timing belt and water pump be changed, then it was. The car was serviced at regular intervals, for the most part at the Subaru dealer. It was only in the last year or 2 that I took it elsewhere. So no, no regular services were skipped.
Yes, you're correct, I meant when you purchased your Mazda, Liz, maybe you went ahead and replaced your timing belt and water pump early before 95,000 miles since your car was such low mileage. After seven years, the rubber on that belt normally becomes so brittle the risk of failure is too high to ignore. I'm sure you'd remember if you did it, most garages charge $1,000 for that. Of course there are people who say, forget it and wait and take their chances until 100,000 miles. Seems like you were complaining about all the service costs on that car, so, I thought maybe you decided to wait until the 100,000 miles mark and save money on that service. If that were the case, no one privately and your only alternative would be to trade it to the dealer when you purchased the Mazda. Just curious, what sales price or trade in did you actually get on the 12 year old car with low mileage?
308000 miles on my 96 impreza and still no problems, catalytic converter was clogged an spitted its gunk away 5000 miles after CEL came on. car body still rust free, original transmission and original head gasket still going strong, why? because i check my car every 2 days if need oil or coolant even though i barely have to put any in, always keep it maintained and perfect and she will let you beat her. my family owns mazdas too, i own a 1984 rx7 with 168k on original 12a motor with original trans, 1999 mazda protege 125k miles and 1990 mazda b2600 with 368k miles, great cars but will not have the beautiful feel of a subaru, and i take this car drive 600 miles from orlando to mile doing 90 mph and after the trip, she feels like she wants to be driven more. buying me a 2007 subaru wrx sti soon and will be glad to also snug up 200k miles on that car. subarus are great cars, some people are just lazy to maintain them, cant expect a car under 100k miles to have no problems, my cousin has a 1999 nissan altima with only 56k miles and due to age, the car had a brittle timing belt, bad starter, tranny oil was expired. do not just rely on miles to do maintenance, a car will wear just sitting in one spot for years after years... like liz, your forester was 12 years old at 95k miles, thats only 8000 miles a year, maintenance still must be done even at low mileage. i change oil on my subie and rx7 at 3000 miles or 3 months if the car sits and i get the best out of my cars. i recently went to the junkyard to look for subies and found a 2000 impreza with 455k miles rotting away, a forester with 324k miles rotting away and a 1999 legacy with 155k miles and it had a severe hit on left rear quarter panel. subarus are great car and should not be giving negative reviews by people with bad care, be honest do you really go to scheduled maintenance to your car? also subaru dealer will charge you an arm and leg for parts and service. they dont care about taking care of cars, they just there to make their 17-25$ an hour and overcharge a car. 4000$ for a repair? i lol at that because i work at a speed shop and we built a complete ej207 2.0 wrx engine and installed it in a impreza for 3500$ engine and trans
And that is exactly what I am observing in terms of mileage obtained, belonging to multiple car clubs. A better tittle for this posting might be: What maintenance and repair expenses are typical as a car ages?
Forgot to mention this, all dealerships will charge rediculous price because of labor, parts arent expensive.. bought me that complete wrx motor, tran, ecu, and harness for 3500$ and did the.job myself, if i took that motor to the dealer to havr them install it in my car, they would probaby charge 4000-7000$ just in labor, i fixed a 2003 forester head gasket leake for 150$ only, wheel bearing 65$
John, you're exactly correct, please start a new thread with that title. I'm sure that most people want to just conveniently ignore the issue of time when it comes to their car maintenance. And, the best way to get the most service from your vehicle no matter how old, is fix everything on your car to normal operating condition. You'll feel better about your vehicle and it will serve you better. It's easy to blame the car company for your neglect, then trash it on the net. I know you and scubyprez knows that it costs money to run and operate any car, that's just the way it is. Its' always less expensive to repair than replace your car. Too many people on this forum obviously think that their car is an investment, its not. Resale value is only important if you intend to sell your car. The best return on your money spent on acquiring the car is the long term service value. As I said before, newer technology is the best reason for wanting a new car. An example of this is my Toyota Prius that gets more than 45 miles per gallon. If I had spent $10,000, I couldn't have upgraded my old Honda Accord to get this kind of mileage. My Subaru serves a completely separate purpose, so the two cars compliment themselves perfectly.
I totally get what your saying Markw. My dad taught me preventive maintenance. My car battery for one example, is replaced at regular intervals. I don't wait until it leaves me stranded somewhere, or ruins the alternator. Plain and Simple a car is tool; For other uses my second car is a Ford Fusion. Very much like that one for the reasons you have outlined.
I had a similar experience . 2003 forestor. Head gasket blown. Fuel line leak. Clutch shudder. Catalyst converter replace. Rust on the fuel refilling area. I agree with Liz. Not worth keeping. U n explain wind shiel crack. Worst, subaru does not stand behind their product. Did I mention oil consumption at 50 km. car was service at dealer. For those that try to justify by saying car not well mainted, just google on subaru heat gaskets and oil consumption .
John and Markw, Thank you for the reminder that all vehicles should be properly maintained but PLEASE NOTE: normal maintenance is not the issue here. My Forester was properly maintained - always! To suggest otherwise indicates you either, failed to read the thread, or choose to ignore the facts presented. My initial post was NOT unhappiness about problems related to "typical" or "expected" maintenance over the life of the car. My unhappiness is that Subaru continued (over many years time) to manufacture cars that were known to have serious problems on parts that should last the lifetime of the car, and continuing (irresponsibly) to do so. Did they think owners wouldn't notice? So John, your comment that "A better tittle for this posting might be: What maintenance and repair expenses are typical as a car ages?" is completely off-base!
Liz, in what year
Liz, in what year and mileage did you replace the timing belt and water pump?
The point is, you should maintain your car like an airplane if you want to ensure that you'll never get stranded on the road. Of course, there's the AAA.
Having reviewed the poster's repairs, and gone through many of them myself, it clear to me at least: This forum post isn't so much about whether or not Subarus' are reliable cars, with two camps of people on polar opposite sides of the spectrum, but rather what the perceptive is of those who have chosen to post. Another words some of the individuals posted their expectations for the car were X, and experienced Y which was this..., And the company should have produced X, which they found unacceptable. And, those of us that feel these aren't major issues per se, even cumulatively, but possible costly repairs associated with any long term ownership of a vehicle. Ones' that are budgeted for, or prepared by having an extended warranty. To digress a bit, None of these forums as laid down are really anything more than anecdotal in content/Form. This is because the inherent lack of any sort of system to measure from, renders the information obtained, skewed. Example: My model year Fusion has a propensity for problematic power steering failure. I don't mean just a part. The unit as whole, on a large number of cars is proving faulty, requiring replacement and well under 60K, but past warranty. It is an expensive electrical unit that is costing $1800. or more, just to steer! So far mine has dogged the bullet. Lets say and this is just a hypothetical number, that 20% of them prematurely fail. Most of the people having problems are the ones posting in places like this. The other 70-80% are absent from that discussion, perhaps happy on the road or otherwise. Also in this example, some would be very upset for such a repair, while others would not be. Recently I was inclined into looking for 2000-2002 Forester. All the units I looked at may have not been trouble free, but were well into 150- 200K +, with still many miles left. So if I bought a Subie with a blown head gasket, but was otherwise solid, they cost $1900. tops here, for a private mechanic. Then drove that car just two years, I would be way ahead of a new one in terms of the expense. The company has addressed some of the issues mentioned. The head gasket has been revised and improved. Things can always be perfected even more, as with my Fusion.I do want thank the original poster though, as I had forgotten how much my family appreciates our car. Many happy miles with her Mazda.
WOW. Just found this while trying to decide if it's time to buy another car. I have a 2002 Forester I bought new and had absolutely NOTHING go wrong with it until 150,000 miles and the head gasket problem showed up. I have maintained this car on schedule through independent mechanics and feel I got my money's worth for owning a car for 12 years and that many miles and having zero problems. It's repaired now but I am thinking of buying a newer small SUV, not sure yet but maybe a Honda CR-V with low miles. Guess I need to do some research to find the best year, etc. I am not liking the newer more windswept body designs compared to the older boxy look of my car. Anyway...I consider myself lucky to have had my car do so well for so long (and it still is) but feel it's time to step up to a lower mileage vehicle.
It's generally speaking always less expensive to repair a car than replace it, no matter what the cost is. You won't be spending $ 5,000 per year in repairs every year like you would paying to acquire a new car. After your car is paid for, the cost of maintaining a car averages $1,500 to 2,000 per year and that won't occur every year. John is correct, even if you replaced the head gaskets and drove the car two more years or possibly more, you would be saving money over a new car. Its just arithmetic. There are people out there who just drive their cars and wait until something breaks down. If you are one of these folks, either you drive a newer model or run the risk of being stranded. My way of thinking is, I don't care how old my car is as long as it's in top mechanical condition and everything works. That's how I was able to keep my old Honda Accord for 19 years and get the maximum service life from owning the car. When I sold it for $3,000 it ran perfectly, but, I needed another vehicle because the Honda could not serve as a tow vehicle. As I stated before, you need to get used to the idea that owning an older vehicle takes very careful maintenance and you need to anticipate upcoming service issues like the timing belt, water pump, cooling system etc. to ensure your car will run smoothly. If you have blown head gaskets, it's probably due to the fact that the car over heated and whose fault is that? You've got to keep your power and systems running to stay on the road. If you ignore problems, they'll just become larger issues and you'll have more expensive repairs. Every car breaks down at some point, so, choose the best one that suits your needs and go for it. This bickering about whether Subaru, Mazda, Toyota or any other car is juvenile. Good luck with your choice. As any car ages from mileage, time or both, there will be periods of time after you've paid off the car where it will cost you more or less. When you determine you want better mileage and other features, like pre collision breaking, then, that's the time to consider a newer model. Certain thing like that cannot be easily added to your older car. GOOD LUCK.
Worth a mention. While it wise to research the model one wants in terms of reliability, and cost expense, etc.; the information culled is by no means a guarantee you won't get a lemon, or a unit that requires more attention/maintenance than it stablemate siblings. My parents for example, bought '81 Toyota Corolla. By most accounts, one the most reliable vehicles ever made. Their experience was excellent- 200k + trouble free miles, needing just tuneups, tires and brakes over the 19 years owned. Their very similar '83 on the other hand, which was of the same ilk, was not even close to being of the same quality. All things being equal, it required many more expensive repairs, not near the car comparatively. What I am really saying? Man-made products such as they are, are not always consistent over time, a moving target if you will, in many ways.
Markw, YOU need to grasp the concept that the car WAS properly maintained! I have stated this multiple times. The head gasket failed because Subaru manufactured faulty head gaskets (over many years time), not because the car over-heated due to improper maintenance. Why else would Subaru extend the original warranty for this part to 10 years/100,000 miles if not to fend-off a class-action lawsuit brought about by the thousands of Subaru owners who've had problems with a part that should last the lifetime of the vehicle. Were they all neglecting to properly maintain their cars? Not likely! So Markw, if you would like to contribute to this thread - please do so in a meaningful way!
Liz, sure I heard that you said you did everything, but, I also never heard when you replaced the timing belt presumably before 95,000 miles. It really doesn't matter, your car is gone, but the fact that you never directly answered that question makes me wonder if you really ever did it. Hey, you got 12 years of service from your car. I really don't know what you expect, but good luck with your Mazda, hopefully it will last you 12 or more years. For your information, I found this link below stating that Subaru was willing to cover the head gaskets for 8 years or 100,000 miles. As the article points out, they cannot cover this on cars forever, so, there is a cutoff point in time. My suggestion to you is trade in your car every 7 or 8 years, sounds like that will work better for you. http://www.smart- service.com/blog/2010/02/subaru- head-gasket-will-subaru-pay-for- repair
I'm glad you've found a vehicle that has supplemented your needs. My point in my last response was that a car is topical of the bigger problem. Our entire economical market is based on fossil fuel consumption, even if you're saving gas with your new and more fuel efficient vehicle that doesn't save the amount of fuel being used to produce such vehicles. Not to mention the features that now come with them. Your electronics will now be the downfall of your investment. It won't be an extremely large mechanical fix that will blindside your bank account. But instead you'll bleed slowly as little features begin to dwindle and fade in and out. Then you'll finally have to fix them for they're finally inflicting the "efficiency" of your vehicle since the computer is no longer working right. I dare you to look up computer related problems with cars now. I'm sorry that you find telling the world about a mechanical error in your prior vehicle as the only means to prod back at the company that severely wounded your thoughts and expectations of what buying a vehicle from a large corporate manufacture led you to believe. Wake up, you're living in a world that is entirely based on the economy of fossil fuels. Your food is managed by pesticides that are by products of it, then shipped globally using it to distribute them, all while the poor get poorer and the rich climb the ladder to separate the middle class slowly fighting each other for a rung on the ladder of jobs related to the status of FUEL. I understand that you don't have an easy way out of not owning a car. The system has got you right where it wants you, pinned between a rock and a hard spot. You need a car to get to work, to provide for a family, to get food, to find pleasure and happiness in life. I don't blame you or hold you entirely responsible as it truly rests on all of our shoulders. We enable such markets and jobs. It's an extremely hard habit to break. Maybe I'm just ranting, sounding like a tree hugger or a hippy. But watch this summer as you'll see more and more people on bicycles, motorcycles, small tiny vehicles, walking, and desperate for jobs. Desperate for income and health. I just hope that you can see what a car manufacture cares about. It isn't getting you a vehicle to laugh and enjoy the wonderful nature of DRIVING places. It's to get you in a debt that you'll have to pay off and keep you coming back for more. Why would they ever want to give you a car that doesn't have you coming back for 20 years, there is no sense in that from a business perspective. You sound like a relatively smart person, but how can one see when the switch to the light is only in the reach of it's captors? I wish you and your CX5 well, that all the best of things come to you and your family! Truth is, I would of rather had you bought a car that was old and still had plenty of life left in it. We don't live that way any more though, we're in a society of consumerism. Use more, eat more, claim more, and in the end as a race of humans we are only but less. I don't think you're lost, or that you're ignorant for not seeing things this way. I think that most of us have done only what we know best to do. Make the change though, one day at a time, one step forward or write me off as some crazy loon who babbles and has no idea because he speaks of radical hog wash. Anyways, best of wishes and good luck!!
Dear deck1024, Please DO avoid assumptions about anyone's lifestyle. As a scientist (PhD - ecology) I understand the BIG picture better than most. I also practice what I preach - I reside in a home built in 1805, walk as many places as possible, am a vegetarian, and purchase local, organic food. Before I purchase anything I ask myself - Do I really need this? The goal of course is to keep my ecological "footprint" small. This extends to keeping cars as long as possible. But as you said - I'm a relatively smart person and could read the writing on the wall regarding my Forester. In the end, this post is not about social issues (as you tried to make it) but about making informed decisions regarding major purchases. I carry out a great deal of research (my specialty) before buying (just about anything). I buy only from responsible sellers - from small/local to large/global. This is the very reason I will no longer do business with Subaru. So to reiterate - this post is a "buyer beware" not a commentary about what is wrong with our collective state as human beings on planet earth.
A head gasket job that was nearly $4,000 dollars is a rip off if that was all they did. It should have been less than half that for a really good job. My 2003 has 200,000 miles on the original gaskets but they do leak some. Subaru has stuck with a inferior open block design which causes leaking head gaskets. There are steps you can take to reduce the problem - 1) change the coolant regularly with the correct coolant. 2) use the Subaru anti-leak in the radiator or alumaseal. 3) if the car pings use a better grade gas. 4) keep the charging system in good shape and the battery terminals clean. 5) if you have an older car consider adding more engine ground straps and starting around 2002 they added more to reduce corrosion due to electrolysis. 6) when changing the head gaskets use the 5-star head gaskets and use new head bolts. proper preparation of the mating surfaces is very important which means you can't do it right with the engine in the car.
I have replaced all 4 wheel bearings around the 120k mark so your complaint about the wheel bearing has no basis as this is routine maintenance. I suspect that your car was not maintained as well as you think. Older Subaru's are legendary for reliability with the exception of the head gasket issue. If you are aware of the issue, certain other maintenance tasks can be combined to reduce the over all cost such as timing belt changes and clutch changes in manual transmission cars.
2 Subarus - 98 Forester, 2006 WRX Ltd - both had bad wheel bearings on the rear, Forester blew BOTH heads and the WRX the driver side. Waiting on the passenger side head to go. Both vehicles were maintained religiously. Make of it as you will.
Hello I wish I had come across this conversation prior to purchasing a 2009 Forester with 80000 miles for son. I bought into the myth of Subaru reliability and it's been nothing but a nightmare ever since. I purchased the vehicle the first week in May and before I made the first payment the car was on the side of the road with a ruined engine. Mind you this was after I had it serviced early at the dealer for the next scheduled service. I was told that the timing belt sprocket failed and caused catastrophic damage. Purchased another engine and had the dealer install it and that engine failed...leaving two holes in the engine. I have purchased vehicles and driven many many miles for pleasure and work and never experienced anything like this. Contacted the selling dealer and Subaru.. both pretty much said too bad you are on your own. Crazy thing is I don't know how they can advertise their vehicles as long lasting and reliable...I my opinion it's total hogwash. I have communicated my story to my friends, coworkers, associates, fraternity members, military family ...everyone to stay away from Subarus
First time Subaru ('13 Forester) owner after hearing about their "reliability." Also,seeing how many older Subarus exist gave me the same impression. I usually owned European, but wanted a "reliable" car while I searched for an EV I really wanted.First year of ownership: infotainment system is swapped out twice,wipers replaced within 3 mths.,gas mileage appears excessive,exterior windshield fogs/frosts up in the summer, Bkizzak tires slip with AWD - normal? Second year: yellow oil light stays on, red oil light stays on, red brake light stays on,brake rotor serviced, gas mileage appears excessive.Third year:1 brake pad&rotor at around 24800 miles is replaced,engine sort of broken in. Contact Subaru,they do NOT help,nor do their dealers appear to want to trouble shoot while you're under warranty. Red brake light issue took almost 1 year to "resolve." Reliability, how does a company not protect the brake wires from corrosion by design given salt road driving's where most owners travel.The recall to only replace if brake line's showing wear.Otherwise only coat with some "grease" is weak when it's a structural issue that needed better design. Needless to say, First and last Subaru.
I recently submitted an email to Consumer Report in regard to their consistently high ratings of Subaru vehicles in light of the comments reflected in this forum and others on other sites. I hope that enough people who have negative experiences would contact them as well. Perhaps they will paint a more balanced picture of Subarus and their alleged build quality and reliability mirage. v/r......HeP
Dear SubaNotGood, This is an excellent idea and thank you for suggesting it! I've always suspected Subaru's advertising/marketing budget was behind the (Consumer Report) high ratings. Present/past Subaru owners with reliability complaints should share their opinions. Thanks again!
It might be difficult for someone who is a driver only, rather than a mechanic, to comprehend the nature of the problem: The machining and quality of parts inside the engine is quite high, and looking at the short block, the durability is on par with Toyota and Honda. HOWEVER, the type of head gasket (single layer steel, elastomer coated) that the company specified for the naturally aspirated engines in many model years was not up to sealing an undecked aluminum block and horizontal cylinder heads that never get relief from soaking in engine fluids. If you're a gearhead who doesn't mind tearing down the engine and replacing the HGs with MLS, as well as the plastic PCV plate with the updated metal one, the Subaru is going to be good for you, because the short block is a well-constructed Japanese product. OR, if you're someone who doesn't keep the car past 100,000 miles, it's likely to hold up. Though, If you work on it yourself, you better know how to burp a cooling system, because although they really need bleeder screws, they included none. One non-expertly performed cooling system service can land you right back in the land of needing head gasket service. A note on transmission failures: Auto transmissions will always fail before their time if there are no fluid changes made. Most mechanics will tell you it's too late to change the fluid when it's high mileage and the fluid looks crummy. Damned if you do, damned it you don't, at that point. If you don't risk the fluid change, or negotiate a series of filter + partial fluid changes with your mechanic, your transmission WILL fail prematurely. Kudos to Subaru for including an external spin on transmission oil filter. At least you can change that much more easily than the others' internal cartridge filters.
This all makes me laugh. I have owned MANY cars in my 40 years of driving that have included 3 BMWs, 4 Hondas, 3 Toyotas, a Nissan, 2 Subarus (WRX and an Outback - my wife's current car), etc, etc. I have had but three mechanical failures in all that time. One failure (a recurring failure) was universal joints on a Triumph TR6, second was a clutch slave cylinder on a Toyota pickup (at 85k miles), and the last was failed coils on a BMW 325i (replaced under recall). Reliability and "Subaru is terrible", "Honda is terrible", etc, are all based on statistically small numbers and greatly exaggerated. In the latest analysis (just on NBC News tonight), Subaru was one of the top 5. I'm not a Subaru fanboy (I actually like BMWs - which is my car now) but the WRX I had was fabulously fun and never had a single issue - even with a turbo 2.5 liter. People get emotional when their personal vehicle has an issue an suddenly that brand is crap. Cars are terrifically reliable given how they are used and abused and I'd buy almost any brand (a few I wouldn't) without fear of reliability issues. I'm an engineer and motor head and these sinister, scheming car manufacturers just don't exist.
Thanks for documenting. WE've had very similar issues with our 2007 Subaru. 80,000 miles, leaks oil like an old MGB, 3rd set of tires, 3rd set of breaks, noisy wheel bearings, and a software issue had the accelerator stuck on full and nearly solved any issue of resale value :-) I thought we may have had a lemon, but sounds ike our experience is all too common. I thought rugged but not reliable was a great description.
I have a 2001 Outback with the 2.5L engine. It runs great and only has a small oil leak from the headgasket. "Small" as in less than a pint/500ml every 5K miles (when I get the oil changed). I know this, because I went the 5K miles, then asked the mechanic how low the car was on oil before he changed out the oil. I've had to replace the timing belt, battery, break pads, and a CV axle/joint. I had the mechanic do the water pump and whatnot that is also recommended while everything is off for the timing belt replacement. The car is almost 17-years-old (2001 model, but built in October 2000), has almost 200K miles on it. It turns on every time I need it to, and gets me everywhere I need to go. I have had no repairs outside of normal wear and tear things needed other than the small headgasket oil leak. And come on, most cars even younger than this car have had small leaks at sometime or another. If not, parking lots would be mostly devoid of those dark spots in EVERY parking space. This thread is an example of the 80/20 rule. 80% of the complains come from only 20% of the customers. People who are happy with their cars just keep quiet and keep driving, rather than post on forums. The people in said minority are the majority of who run into this thread. They are usually people who are LOOKING for examples of the problems they also have. As the OP is a scientist, she should understand that the sample size of examples in this thread cannot be used as true evidence to support her argument/claim that Subaru is an unreliable brand. So the question was, "Why does Subaru have a reputation for building reliable cars?" The answer is, "Subaru has a reputation for building reliable cars, because of the massive number of examples out there similar to mine."
Kuya---- Well said, excellent post! I'm part of the "silent majority" of satisfied clients. I'm amazed by the number of"haters" out there. I've read and posted on these questions to see what people are saying about their experiences. It's sad. They certainly cannot be all as bad as described otherwise there would not be a legion of people out there buying Subaru cars. Again, thank you for being the voice of reason here. Kudos.
As a former Subaru cult member (I owned 2 trouble free Subies and my current 3rd Crosstrek is a mess of problems) all I can say is Subaru company/dealer networks has huge issues standing behind the product if you get one with a problem, the newer ones are plagued with problems. I won't be buying any more Subarus.
crf59, and others who have dismissed the consumers' concerns who come here,and similar sites reflects you're somewhat maladjusted. I can somewhat agree with the quantity of dissatisfied Subaru customers are far fewer than ones who are satisfied. However,this also underscores the arrogance of ANY car manufacturer [pretty much all] who vehemently dismisses the consumer when there is a problem. As mentioned here,some late year models of the Forester have excessive oil consumption,gasket issues,and Subaru's being sued for the former in a certified law suit. You may have heard about Takata,deaths occurred. Then we have the GM ignition law suit where GM tried to sweep the situation under the carpet,deaths occurred; Toyota vehicle acceleration law suit ,also tried to sweep it under the carpet; the infamous VW dieselgate ,I think it involves the highest penalties a manufacturer has been dealt,globally. The Lemon Law in many states protects consumers,thankfully.Necessary as we still see the manufacturer not honoring warranties,or being unreasonable with out of warranty failures for a "known" problem. The dealer network is flawed as some seem to perpetuate the problem through their negative treatment of the consumer.These dealers get away with it as many manufacturers only care about the sales. It was wonderful handing back a sub year old car to Toyota's subsidiary , Lexus. After hearing so many good things about Subaru, I bought a Forester. I have ditched my 2013 Forester because I didn't want to continue debating with Subaru from year one of ownership over the issues that I think they could have easily fixed versus dismissing them. For those who argue "wear and tear," your engine shouldn't start to show potential "defects" within year 1-2, ~ 12000 miles. My [mostly unresolved] warning lights within this time: brake system warning light,Oil pressure warning light [~1200 miles post oil change],check engine. ~18000 mile rear brake change, then I had the "shuddering,rough" idle,add replacing the infotainment unit twice within months of owning the Forester.
There will always be disgruntled clients on any product or service, however, you can tell a lot about a company for how they deal with each of these situations. What you're reading here is a small snippet of customers who are actively complaining and looking for the worst examples. It's entirely possible that there's pockets of individual dealerships out there that have NOT been helpful and have hindered people from getting the answers and remedies they deserve. Remember that, this is a very small number of people and there are legions of people out there who are enthusiastically satisfied with their cars. Yes, Subaru got sued for some of these issues and to their credit, they admitted certain failings and issued technical service bulletins for fixing and repairing these cars. If you have one of the affected cars, please hang in there and follow the instructions from Subaru, and perseverance is your only avenue. Your efforts will pay off. No one forced you to purchase a Subaru. And, if you cannot prevail with your current car, don't purchase another one. This continuous thread just trashing Subaru is not productive and as you can see the number of people like myself disagree and have different experiences. And, to the original poster who ultimately purchased a Nissan Rogue, how's that working for you. Again, there's NO PERFECT car and sooner or later you'll all encounter one problem or another. I've come to conclusion that it's not about mileage as much as it is years, preventative maintenance, your environmental conditions, and listening closely to any sounds that are not normal and taking care of these issues as soon as they come up. Finally, having your car professionally serviced rather than a do it yourself method will make your car go further.. I know that many of you are very handy , but, today's cars are like rolling computers and I'm sure the number of you in this camp are few and far between.
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