What is an American car?
Although Subaru hails from Japan, several of their models, including the
Subaru Legacy and Outback are built in the USA in Lafayette, Indiana. While
there are still some "American cars" still being built in Detroit, many are built
outside the country, including Canada and Mexico.. And, its ironic that a lot of
cars including Toyota builds cars in Kentucky. So, the American car you're
driving may not really be the "American car" you thought it was. Most of these
new cars are built largely by robotics, but, the machines are managed by high
tech workers. So, considering all the American workers in the Subaru Indiana
plant, would you call this an American car ?
I sure would. This is probably why they are plaqued with the same problems as GM and Chrysler. Blown head gaskets, oil use and leaking that can't be fixed, and electrical problems that can't be solved! HTH. - Jim
Jim, this is interesting. Actually, there's more to suggest that the models from Japan, like the Forester and the Imprezza have more quality control issues right now and quality control at the Indiana plant are better. The blown head gaskets has been greatly diminished with the multi layered head gaskets introduced on the 2010 models. The problem with the newer FB engines is two fold, its a changed design and 0-20 oil viscosity, but, it doesn't seem to be affecting all cars, and seems particularly prominent with the manual transmission Subaru Forester. I'm not saying that there are no problems with the boxer engine, but, the Subaru vehicles are so far ahead of Chrysler, its hard to believe that you referenced them in the same sentence. Chrysler has been a bottom feeder for such a long time, it's hard to believe that they are still in business. Name one Chrysler car that's been on the market continuously for 20 years? They keep changing the nameplates of their cars when they lose public credibility. Subaru is rated as the 5th best car by many independent car reports, that's a fact. Just check US News, Kelly Blue Book, Consumer Reports.
Both articles are very interesting. Thanks for sharing them! However neither make mention of the Subaru's reliability. Carcomplaints.com cites over 900 complaints about Subarus and list the '15 Outback and Forester as two of the worst. Their information goes back to 2002. -Jim
Jim, here's a little gem for you, see this, and by the way, when it comes to safety, Subaru cars outshine so many others. How much is your safety worth? This article by the Wall Street Journal points out that for the money, Subaru cars are a great value. http://fortune.com/2012/11/19/are-subarus-the-best-cars-money- can-buy/
Jim, I'm familiar with Car Complaints website. You're absolutely right about some of the newer version Outbacks. It's really unfortunate, that some model years like the 2008, 2009 and 2010 years were listed as " seal of awesome ", and they went downhill in later years. I guess it's a case of its better to be lucky than good. Here's the profile of my 2010 Subaru Outback. I hate to say this, but, it's almost like choosing a bottle of wine. http://www.carcomplaints.com/Subaru/Outback/2010
Jim, I'm very lucky that my other car is a 2009 Toyota Prius, which also got the "" Seal of Awesome " for the year it came out, see this, http://www.carcomplaints.com/Toyota/Prius/2009/ Again, its just luck.
I agree, Mark, it is just luck. My Niece has an '05 Impala with the 3.4. The 3.4s blow head gaskets. Her's hasn't. She bought the car new. A guy at work has a '97 DeVille with the Northstar and just over 100,000 miles on it. Northstars blow head gaskets. He bought the car in 2000 and it's been fine. My '02 Impala that I bought in '08 and after having the transmission fixed twice then being told the intake manifold gaskets "were leaking" I sold to a coworker is still running fine. He and his wife love it and it's now approaching the 200,000 mile mark. BTW I sold him the car with full disclosure and that was in October of 2009. It's been 6 years and I'm still waiting for his intake gaskets "to go". My '00 Grand Prix had the intake gaskets done in '10 but has the typical GM no overdrive/TCC lock in problem. I bought that car for sentimental reasons. But for all these good luck stories I'm sure there's at least 100 disaster stories. Same with Subaru. My Niece's Husband just bought a '16 Outback. I'm curious to see how it works for him. I warned him. American cars used to be indestructible. GMs, Fords, and yes even some Chryslers were still on the road at 25+ years old. Seems that from the mid '60s thru the mid '70s American automakers had gotten the quality control thing licked. In 1996 I bought a '70 Pontiac. It still had it's original radiator, heater hoses complete with clamps stamped " 1/70", carbureator, and power steering fan belt embossed with the original GM logo and part number! This was not a low mileage car either. It had 165,000 miles on it then. I sold it in 2012, still running and driving fine to a man who wanted to restore it. My '66 Cadillac was the same. Many parts on the car were original and still working fine in 1988 when I bought it. Again, in 2001 I sold it still running and driving fine to a young man who wanted to restore it. Will today's cars still be on the road in 2040? I doubt it. With many of their original parts? I don't think so. My '93 Caprice I bought new was on radiator number 3 when I sold it in 2012 for example. That was a good car. So is the '93 Cavalier Z24 that my Sister sold to a coworker of mine in 2013. That car still has many of it's original parts and runs just fine. There's been a few nickel and dime things. A fuel pressure regulator, oxygen sensor, that he's had to replace. But otherwise nothing major. I've been told that the 3.1 engine in that car was disastrous. That one never gave my Sister one problem and continues to perform flawlessly. So yes, luck definitely plays into it! -Jim
Jim, I very much enjoyed reading your last post, thanks for sharing. Besides luck, another factor is how people treat and drive their cars. I've seen a lot of people race and try to be like someone at Indy with jack rabbit starts, sudden stops, wild cornering, etc. If you are reasonable and don't manhandle your car, it will take you much further. And, maintenance is key. A few years ago, a friend of my Mom's wanted to give my nephew their old 86 Toyota Supra which had remarkably low mileage. They sold us the car for $1, and told us that it had a few problems like exhaust and brakes. When I went to pick up the car, they told me that "they never put any money into that car" and it was a good. little transportation car. Those words, we never put any money.... were so true when I took the car in for repair. Turns out, the car had been neglected for so long, it needed about $2,500 to get it road worthy again. Now, while that didn't seem so bad at the time since we paid only $1. It had continuous problems and we sold the car later for $850 just to get rid of it. The problem that sent my nephew over the edge and I agreed was whenever you made a left hand turn, the right passenger door swung open, it was quite unnerving. No, that was it for me and we did disclose that to the buyer of car, I just couldn't deal with it or thought it was worth fixing . The car was not that fun to drive and actually not that economical on fuel. By the way, speaking of luck, my 1995 Honda Accord station wagon, which I purchased brand new in 1996 had 150,000 miles on it when I sold it almost 20 years later with the original engine and transmission. So, I think it's a combination of luck, common sense, care and treatment. Just because the car can do all sorts of fast maneuvers, and burn rubber, doesn't mean you should. Now that I'm older and realize how expensive it is to maintain and keep cars running in top notch condition, you realize that it's not cool to act like a high school kid and race your car into the ground . Sure, we've all been there. Some people never grow up. Very sad.
Jim, as good as my 2009 Toyota Prius is, and it earned the best review on Car Complaints website, I've noticed that the tires wear out around 34,000 miles on this car. My mechanic says it's because the suspension and structure of the car is inherently weaker and it is a pretty heavy car with the batteries. He said, the transmission and engine are solid, but, you know, they had to cut corners somewhere. I guess all cars have issues. I'm really easy on my cars, too bad the Toyota didn't opt for a double wishbone suspension, I think that might have made a difference? What do you think? My old Honda Accord had a four wheel double wishbone suspension and it was rock solid, never once had an issue with that car. Shocks replacement once around 100,000 miles and tire performance gave me an average 50,000 miles per set. So far, so good on the Subaru. Purchased the car in May 2014 as a CPO vehicle and have had no issues aside from routine maintenance . Ernie, in Boston, seems to think that the CVT transmissions are weak and will fail in these cars, but, I'm not convinced that will happen as long as you don't abuse it. Maybe it's true that Subaru cars cost a bit more to maintain? I'm very interested in my personal safety and you cannot put a price on that. Hey, if you really want to save money, drive a motorcycle! I wouldn't do that either. So, it's a choice. ---Mark
Mark - you own an older Subaru. You bought one at the sweet spot before the decline. Drive a new one for a while and get back to us!
I agree, Full of Regrets, Subaru, like GM, has definitely "fallen from grace". I also agree with you, Mark, to a point. Maintenance, timely repairs, and how well a vehicle is treated definitely plays a big part in their longevity and trouble free service. But WHERE you have a vehicle serviced/repaired is key as well. I've always advocated dealer servicing. In fact up until I sold my '70 Pontiac in 2012 I was still taking it to my Local Chevy Dealer. Of course I always left the shop manual on the front seat and requested a certain tech to work on it. He was an older man who had been there since 1972. He loved working on it. Sometimes when I'd bring in the Caprice he'd ask me " how's the old Pontiac doing ?". He's retired now but the dealer was always happy to work on it. My '03 S-19 pick up is my around town "beater". I take it to a local shop for repair. After the catalytic converter was replaced by them the exhaust system rattles and the brake job they did was less than stellar (grabbing, etc.). On that vehicle I don't mind. But if it was my '08 Mercury or '94 Cadillac I'd be having a fit! My Nephew learned the hard way about whom to go to with his '98 BMW 528i. He took it to some shop with a coolant leak, they put some stop leak stuff in it and sent him on his way. Now it was overheating and you know BMWs don't like that at all! It ended in disaster with him getting rid of it. But also, some cars are just lemons from the beginning. In 1976 my Sister bought a new Ford Maverick. Within the first year the alternator literally blew up, two water pumps, dash lights went out, odometer stopped working, and for the next 12 years she had no heat! She had so much trouble with it that the local Ford Dealer extended her warranty an extra year! On the other hand our family car during that time was a '73 Ford LTD. Great car. My parents didn't start putting (repair) money in it until it was close to 10 years old. What really was the kiss of death was it had rusted out badly in the back and the back bumper literally fell off the car!! That's when Mom finally stepped in and said "Just get rid of it!". It was still running and driving fine, but the body was falling apart! -Jim
Jim- my cars are serviced professionally by a small independent garage and I've been using the same person for over 15 years. I did take the Subaru once to the dealership to get the transmission fluid changed, that was pretty expensive, but, they had specialized hardware and knowledge on how to do that. I figured, its worth the extra money to get this right and I would blame them directly if they screwed that up, they didn't! Thank goodness. We don't get rust in Los Angeles, CA. Yes, I do have a 2010 Subaru Outback, and while I would not call it a new car, I wouldn't call it old either. It's still a relatively young car with only 74,000 miles and for the climate we live in, it has a lot of life left in it. Yes, cars in the rust belt might be different, Los Angeles is pretty easy on cars weatherwise.---Mark
Jim, I would say that this article speaks for itself, I don't think you'll disagree, see Qhttp://247wallst.com/autos/2015/07/23/fiat-chrysler-brands-get- lowest-ratings-in-quality-survey/
Looking for a Used Outback in your area?
CarGurus has 39,328 nationwide Outback listings starting at $1,500.
Get More Money for Your CarBe seen by 20 million shoppers. Create Your Free Listing
Search Subaru Outback Questions
Subaru Outback Experts