What's the average mileage for replacement of struts?

23,225

Asked by Mar 04, 2016 at 11:38 AM about the 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

Question type: General

How many miles or years did you go before you had to consider replacing the
struts on your car?  Recently had mine inspected and there's no sign of leaking
or problems,  but,  I just wanted to know.   I have just under 76,000 miles on my
car.   Thanks.

27 Answers

6,170

As sloppy as 2010+ OB struts are, they're at least gas charged, so don't leak nor wear linearly off their operating plateau. Only a pothole whack prompts individual replacement. But knowing you, Mark, you;ll come up with an excuse to replace them all pretty soon, eh? Save your money....

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
23,225

Ernie, you know, I'm pretty conservative when it comes to keeping my car in pristine condition. I figure, when you have a used car, there's no excuse to not have everything running perfectly. I don't replace things if they're working, BUT, if something needs attention, I have it repaired professionally immediately. I know you think I should replace my 17 inch wheels with 18 inch wheels for better handling, but, I think the car handles all right and who does slalom races in an Outback? That sounds like an extra feature I don't need. YES, the car is slightly higher than the 2006-2009 Outbacks, but, it's not a really big issue for me, I like the higher ground clearance and visibility. Listen, you'd love to have me as one of your clients, I just don't live in Boston. I've read your NSPN blog started in 2010 and know that you're one of the good guys with a long standing reputation and good source for used cars, not like a lot of fly by night operations. And, I've got a great mechanic in LA. It's just my opinion that no matter how much you spend on actual repairs, they'll never equal the cost of car payments which go on for 60 months. So, if you are paying even $3,600 to $4,800 or so annually, you'll never have repairs every year coming even close to this cost. Service is the absolute name of the game, and I keep my cars for 10 or 15 years, it's much less expensive than trading them in and getting hammered on the depreciation, sales tax, finance charge, extra registration fees, etc. There's only one reason to get a newer car, SAFETY. Yes, I'm sure that they're not inexpensive, I just paid almost $800 for new struts on my 2009 Toyota Prius, they were leaking and caused the tires to cup. I'm sure that the Outback will easily be around $1,000. There are no more cheap wheels. I'm pretty easy on my cars, I don't race them or do anything stupid, plus being in my 60s, I'm a conservative, safe driver, and towing the trailer you have to be extra cautious. Even not towing, traffic in LA is very intense and you have to be extra vigilant about everything going on around here. Yes, potholes are a big problem and they are everywhere, I definitely try to avoid them whenever possible. My goal is to get 200,000 miles or more on my car before I consider replacing it, unless I break down and get the "Eye Sight" and "Starlink" technology. Take care and thanks for your post. Too bad you're retiring. Hopefully, someone will be there to pick up the ball and service new clients. ----Mark

7,045

tldr but my foresters are averaging 180k and 11-13 years on struts. And I put in good used units if that makes you feel any better mark! LOL

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
23,225

walth- thank you. I'm planning on replacing my struts at 90,000 miles or so. . I case you didn't know, I use my car to occasionally tow my 1,000 pound teardrop trailer. I cannot and will not risk my safety to save money by using used struts or deciding to put this off. Here's a picture of my rig.

7,045

Well, it's no different "used" than if they were still on the car that I got them from. They're not leaking, good enough. You can drive on leaking struts.. full blown struts sacrifice safety and stability and wear on your bearings. Mine were only wet so I went ahead and grabbed some. The only problem is that we only get 03+ foresters like once every 2 years so they're hard to come by. They also turnover the import section twice as fast as Ford. It sucks. I think I paid like 25 bucks for the entire assembly and used my iPhone to measure camber. I ride motorcycles more than I drive. Let me know when you plan to replace your OB, I'll buy it from you for trade in ;)

6,170

Mark, again, these struts don't "wear" linearly with use...only fail catastrophically from physical abuse. Replacing them prophylactically is naive masochism. Walth, be careful what you wish for! Early CVTs are dropping like hotcakes, and one used for towing is a bit scary, eh?

7,045

Haha good point!

23,225

Ernie, FYI, I don't replace things unless they fail, BUT, safety is issue number one with me. By the way, all of your dire warnings and predictions of early CVT failure may be premature. Remember the guy in Maryland, he had over 291,000 miles on his 2010 Subaru Limited with the 2.5 and CVT transmission. Original engine and transmission.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
6,170

What's happening is that the guts are fracturing, spewing metal bits throughout the CVT. Replacing the valve body assy for $1800 is the fix, but the risk of remaining detritus plugging up the new TB remains...and is scary. I'm not sure there's a way to fully clean a contaminated CVT as back-flushing it may not be enough, and may not even be effective once the pan is off. It's a mess, and failure seems o be correlated with age...not mileage. I'm hoping that keeping the CVT fluid clean is going to help, but I'm told that the fractures are original design weakness related, NOT wear related due to dirty fluid. Pisses me off too....

23,225

Subaru CVT transmission vs. Subaru conventional automatic- see this conversation thread below, I'm sure there's exceptions, but, http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/138-gen-5-2015- present/184610-cvt-reliability-vs-standard-automatic.html

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
6,170

Couldn't find link, Mark. But ALL of us indies in New England are growing VERY leary of the CVT. Beautiful design, and extremely efficient, but as is often the case, Subaru cost-cutting shows up with part failure. It was the same with the first editions of the 4EAT in the early years. But eventually it became absolutely bulletproof IF kept clean. CVT failure rates may stay under the Fed's radar for awhile...or maybe forever, like the HG fiascos. Subarus should simply cost 10% more in exchange for better metallurgy and component reliability. In those senses they're still second-tier manufacturers. But as long as Toyaburu grabs market share they'll continue to try to escape bullets. I wish they operated more like lovely little Mazda: superb handling and top-notch durability (not just initial reliability...they're different, y'know) even on a skimpy budget. I might suggest that if you can grab a cheap ($500?) extended warranty on the CVT (and driveline) it might be prudent. Hard to know this early on....

23,225

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/138-gen-5-2015- present/184610-cvt-reliability-vs-standard-automatic.html

23,225

Try the link one more time.

23,225

Ernie, I appreciate your apprehension, but, you know how conservative I am. Of course, when I purchased my car I took out an extended mechanical breakdown warranty. I hope I won't have to use it. There's always a risk with anything mechanical. Look how many problems VW ran into? Or, there's been a number of failures and extended warranties for some Nissan cars with failing CVT transmissions from Jatco. At least the Subaru Lineartronic CVT transmission was an in-house design and build from Subaru. We'll see. In the meantime, it would be helpful to know the percentages of failures in CVT transmissions from 2010 to 2014.

23,225

http://etereman.com/blog/subaru-transmission/the-new-subaru-cvt- transmission-is-it-the-game-changer-automakers-have-been-looking- for

23,225

http://www.torquenews.com/1084/how-subaru-scores-top-5- automakers-reliability

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
23,225

I posted a few links above that are worth reading.

23,225

http://www.underhoodservice.com/subaru-cvt-technology-and- service-implications/

23,225

Finally, of course you're going to see problem cars. You're in the automotive repair business. My point is that it's just the sampling of cars you see in you're shop. So, out of the thousands of cars produced and the variable factors of how they are driven and maintained, it's a gigantic leap of logic to think that a majority of Subaru CVTs will just fall apart. Look, they wouldn't have migrated to this new technology with all their cars going forward just for fuel economy while tanking their well deserved reputation. It would be economic suicide and no company does this. However, the folks at VW did a pretty good job of almost ruining their company, we'll see if VW can survive this debacle. For the last 40 years or more, Subaru has been on an upward trajectory for sales. I doubt that this is by accident.

6,170

Yegads, you're really drinking the Kool-Aid! Firstly, your statistical analysis really proves feeble as my sample, although consisting of only a handful of New England shops (certainly not just mine!), tickles client bases of MANY thousands of data points. So no, it's not a gigantic leap of logic. I spent a decade as a high tech lab maker running QA schemes for manufacturers, culminating in writing ISO standards for testing and QC programs therein, prior to sidetracking into the auto biz. Don't you DARE impune my statistical analysis, sir! Christ.... What you don't get is that innovative design and durability of manufacture are not AT ALL correlated. Subaru has dodged MANY bullets over the decades because it was too small to be a juicy target. To wit, nearly EVERY 1996- 1999 first gen DOHC 2.5H motor blew up, and nearly every 2000- 2010 second gen SOHC 2.5i has or will suffer from weepy HGs. Even the little stuff, like undersized wheel bearings and suspension links are proving to be failing en masse, especially in the overweight OBs. Of course I appreciated the strong unibody, symmetric driveline, best-of-class steering box, and torquey 2.5 performance over the ages, but what we are ALL chagrinned to witness is that the prodigious use of cheap stamped steel in the understructures is proving to result in early body seam corrosion in the 2010+ iteration (ask the indies up in Maine). When Toyota invested in Subie they sniffed an opportunity to sell compact SUVs in the heartland (and south) ONLY by raising them up to compete with larger offerings prevalent in big-vehicle land. You should know that VERY FEW owners of the venerable- handling, sportier 2000-2009 OBs, for example, trade up to the taller "modern" offering. Fully 50% of my inquirers freely admit (without provocation) that the "new OBs" are too tall and too big. But that's the New England predilection for compact 5 doors that goes back to euro-style modest 5 door hatchbacks over the pond. That's also why luxury players like BMW, Audi, MB, and of course the infamous Volvo sold a fair number of 5 door wagons here. (The oft-quoted joke in tony Wellesley High School was to ask "What color Volvo wagon YOUR mom has?") More frugal types who either enjoyed the outdoors or had to get to work daily throughout winter (like teachers) learned that the Subie Wagon was a budget alternative, with (Nissan-supplier sourced reliable electricals that allowed very low cost service for the initial and middle age ownership cycles. But Subarus became known as tricky older cars, often costing much MORE than average Asian offerings to service after midlife. Hence Subaru owners of yore tend to fall into a bipolar satisfaction distribution (look it up), either loving or hating their Subies. Often it's both, summarized by the "It was great for 6 or 7 years, and then we put $3k into it last year!" I've heard hundreds of times...just like Northern European ownership experiences, but even more black-and-white because of HG cost "bumps". Again, Mark, learn to differentiate early reliability data (like JD Powers "initial quality studies") from long term durability information. Many manufacturers now have achieved remarkably low sample defects out-of-the-box, but MTBF curves are squeezed often by the cost-cutting planners at Subaru to JUST get past driveline warranty or the 6th or so year of ownership. Subaru brags that the 2015+ unibodies are stiffer and lighter because of more high strength steels and alloys, but that may be technical braggadocio, especially in light of the premature rusting of the 2010-2014 era. It's often said that Subaru had designed the 2010+ OBs to only the height of the outgoing 2005-2009 iteration, but when Toyota stepped in they pushed for a taller SUV-like stance in order to broaden sales, but WITHOUT CHANGING THE PRICE, forcing the use of under-sized cheap suspension parts. But since the non-German competition also produced mediocre-handling products, the risk was successful. But again the GREAT majority of tall OB and Forester buyers are "crossover" shoppers who have indeed "crossed over" from cheaper-feeling RAV4s and CRVs, for example. SOA has for a long time treated early-failure (just out of warranty) owners without generosity, treating each case individually, bargaing soft "good will" against whether the owner has a dealer- serviced history of being a "juicy" customer. Of course, as the numbers add up, this kid of slippery dealing landscape will no longer be able to be kept in the shadows. There isn't even one Subie indie shop in New England who doesn't share this love-hate perspective. I for one wish Ford had been less stingy with their technology back in the day, as Mazda is the one great manufacturer of fine handling autos remaining. Imagine a Mazda3 AWD hatch?...or a Mazda6 AWD wagon. But Mazda can't afford (it's really broke) to not make crossovers now...hence the too-tall "sport-cute" CX5. Darn.... Gotta refresh my cup....

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
23,225

All I'm saying is that you're a regional/local repair shop in the Greater Boston area, not a national repair center for all Subaru vehicles. And, because of the climate of New England, cars there are more susceptible to severe weather conditions, especially salting the roads, unless they are meticulously maintained and garaged. We don't have these challenges in Southern California. Plus, there are Subaru cars all over the country and in Australia, so, please don't pretend to know everything statistically about every Subaru vehicle on the planet. You just cannot know that. And, as far as SAFETY is concerned, I'll match any 2010 to 2016 against these 2005 to 2009 cars of yours any day. This is a case of "don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up". One only has to look at the tests by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety to realize what I'm saying is correct. And, mechanical breakdowns, yes, all cars have mechanical failures, I really don't see your point about costing $3,000 after year 7 or 8??? When you have paid off the car, the CHEAPEST thing you can do is fix the car. On average, it only costs about $1,500 per year or less in actual repairs, not maintenance, to keep your car running in top condition. You cannot count maintenance, because every car requires maintenance. You know this Ernie. SO, when you compare $400 per month car payments or $4,800 per year for 5 years, it's a lot less to spend $1,500 per year on average to keep up an old car. Sometimes it will be more or less, but it will not be close to $5,000 per year EVERY year. Once you've paid off the car, you'll have the extra money to maintain and fix everything and it will be more advantageous than just replacing it altogether. The best and most logical reason for a new car is safety and technology.

23,225

Subaru is the 5th most reliable vehicle. http://money.cnn.com/gallery/autos/2015/10/20/consumer- reports-most-reliable-brands/5.html

23,225

As a point of information, you mentioned that nearly every 2000- 2010 Outback has head gasket issues? The truth is; Subaru changed the design of the 2010 head gaskets using a multi layered steel gasket with a modified deck and there has not been a widespread problem with this. It's true, that there were problems in earlier cars.

7,045

This is a better, less click happy, more detailed breakdown of reliability. Similar data, I assume. Ern, look at how tight Mazda's results are! http://www.clarkhoward.com/most-and-least-reliable- cars-consumer-reports

6,170

Mark, the new head gasket isn't in all 2010 Subies. Further, I'd wish you'd stop obfuscating real knowledge and acting like Linus kicking up unrelated noisefloors. You still don't understand the difference between reliability and durability, but that's my bailiwick, alas. Can't teach the unteachable.... Walth, thanks. Mazda has long been my favorite manufacturer, and it's too bad they never developed excellent AWD platforms. I quasi-race a highly modified (Cosworth SC'd) MX-5 NC and can't believe how reliable AND durable it is, even with huge power, torque and cornering-force bumps. Subaru, too, of course plays high power games, but often as not with disastrous results. Just sayin....

23,225

Ernie, OK, please enlighten me, which models of the 2010 Subaru's don't have the new head gaskets? Just curious if you know, please share. Thanks.

23,225

So, Ernie, what about the 2010 Subaru Outback head gasket design? What do you know?

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