All Wheel Drive Auto: Independent Seattle Subaru Service


How Many Miles Can I Get Out Of My Subaru?

How Many Miles Can I Get Out Of My Subaru Outback, Impreza, Forester, Legacy or WRX model?

While results will vary and the big variable is always how well the car has been maintained, what I can tell you is a Subaru is capable of going 300,000 miles. And if you are a regular maintenance type of owner you should expect to get that type of mileage out of it.

The lower end of a Subaru engine (this would include the pistons, rings, crankshaft and bearings) is virtually bulletproof as long as it is never starved for oil they will last a very long time without ever needing repairs. We have done several head gasket repairs on Subaru’s with over 200,000 miles and the cylinder walls of the engine block still look great.

The real key to getting the most out of your Subaru is identifying your driving habits and coming up with a maintenance schedule that matches.

In your owners manual you will find two different maintenance schedules one is normal and the other is severe. The real purpose of this is to give the car manufacturer a way to show vehicle ownership costs over a time period. By having a maintenance schedule that requires less maintenance, the car manufacturer is able to decrease advertised ownership costs.

All car makers do this and it is very confusing and sometimes frustrating. In the Puget Sound area just about every Subaru owner out there is going to fall under the severe category. As consumers there is this natural need to want to save money. This can truly be done without sacrifice to the longevity of your Subaru vehicle.

The quality of the Subaru automotive parts used and the knowledge of the vehicle are very important. Saving a little money on car maintenance isn’t the same as saving money on a pair of shoes. The quality difference may be very obvious with a lesser priced pair of shoes as you are walking in them, but the difference in car service may take a while to be realized. If the original part in your Subaru lasted 5 years and a lesser quality replacement only lasts 18 months what have you gained.

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The best kept secret on how to reach 300,000 plus miles with your Subaru is to establish a good relationship with a great local Subaru repair shop that specializes in all makes of Subaru vehicle service like All Wheel Drive Auto. We will help you get there.

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384 Responses

  1. Hello!

    Found this page researching a potential purchase. I’m looking to buy a 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5 Premium. It has 165k miles and only one previous owner. I’ve seen it’s service history and it has been in two minor accidents but it appears that the regular maintenance has been kept up with very well. Nothing on engine or transmission though. The catalytic converter was replaced a year ago. A connection at the dealership is giving me I think a reasonable price for $7900 and it has been inspected and came back with nothing serious. In addition to the dealership costs and fees and taxes, he’s trying to sell me a $1500 12 mo/12k mile power train warranty racking up the price to much more than I was looking to spend/finance. I know this car has some age and mileage on it but I’m really debating if the warranty is worth it for only one year from now. Looking for some advice – thank you!

    1. Hi Olivia,

      $1500 for one years worth of protection also seems high to me. I don’t generally suggest aftermarket warranties either. I am not sure if you paid to have a prepurchase inspection performed or if the inspection you are referring to is from the Dealer?

      If the latter you should probably invest in your own pre purchase inspection and use that information to determine if you should purchase and if you should consider an aftermarket warranty.

      Hope that helps


  2. Pingback: How Long Do Subarus Last?
  3. Looking at a 2011 Subaru legacy with 127K miles for a very low price. Just looking for a cheap and comfy little commuter for short trips in town. Are there any big ticket items to be on the lookout for with this make/model of car. I’m typically the large pickup type. I used to be an old-school diesel mechanic, and am still an all-around cheap-skate…I have never ventured into the world of Subaru, so I just wanted to get an idea of what to look out for.

    1. Cory,

      Got to have a pre purchase inspection done by a Subaru expert as well as have service records.

      Common to 2011 would be torque convertor lock up problems. Possible internal Hg failure.

      Hope that helps


  4. My husband sold Subarus 20 years ago and they talked about the lady who brought her Subaru in for
    Maintenance at 850,000 miles. Not realistic for most people, but with proper care, they will last a long time. (I’m shooting for a million in my outback!)

  5. I’m looking to buy a 2008 Tribeca 3.6R Limited
    It has 211,000 miles at the moment they are asking $3500.00 the pictures make it look like it’s in very good shape but I’m concerned about the miles. The list below show with that has been performed on it…I would love to get your thoughts on it. I plan on using it for a commuter vehicle.

    Thank you in advance for any of your thoughts and suggestions

    For sale, 2008
    Leather, back up camera, heated seats, sun roof,
    3rd row seats, reclining back seats, navigation, everything works.
    New battery
    New upper and lower ball joints
    New cv axles
    New wheel bearings
    New brake calipers
    New tie rods
    Had car aligned with all new parts
    New trans lines with flush and filter
    Tires have about 8000 miles on them
    No check engine lights will pass emissions

    Needs a passenger head light
    Windshield has crack on bottom.
    It’s has some body work done, from hitting deer and shop did a poor job on it.
    Runs and drives great for the miles.
    Title in hand.
    Cash or cashiers check only.
    Text or call me thanks

    1. Hey Rob,

      I would only buy that car after having a Pre Purchase inspection performed by Someone who really knows Subaru. That era Tribeca at that mileage may be due for a lot of service work, also not knowing who did the recent work and what kind of parts were used makes it difficult as well.

      So again a local inspection is your best protection,

      Hope that helps


  6. Hi Justin, Our 2010 Subaru Outback with 112,00 miles on it needs a new CVT confirmed by two mechanics. We bought a new car and want to do the right thing by by the Outback for someone else. A Subaru dealer quoted $7,200 for a new CVT, and our regular trusted mechanic quoted 7,000. If we get a new CVT or a new owner gets a new CVT, how long might the outback last? Is it worth it to do that? Or should we junk it as the value is only around $5000 private sale if we hadn’t had the loss of our transmission? Our son-in-law thinks he wants our car. We have LOVED this car and had hoped it could have lasted until at least the 150,000 mile mark. So sad this happened.

    1. Hey Liz,

      Have you had the Independent Shop look around for a used one? this might be a decent lower priced solution.

      I don’t know how much success you would have selling it needing a transmission.

      Hope that helps


        1. Hi Steve,

          There is no definitive answer for that question. I have customers that have 250k+ on the 2010-2013 version, and some that have had one done before they hit 10k. Ours has about 45k as of this reply. While its true that there are a lot of warranty replacements with CVTs, it does also appear that between the ones that are replaced early and the ones that don’t need to be replaced early, we see about the same pattern of failures we did with the E4AT or E5AT transmission at higher miles. If it’s had maintenance they seem to last over 200k, if not they fail.

          You also need to understand they have made constant updates/improvements to the CVT since 2010. Where in 2010/2011 we did a lot of torque convertor work, 2013 a lot of solenoid pack replacements, to almost none of that on current era 2015+.


  7. Justin,
    Thanks for the input and advice. I check oil once a week and has been good to date. I’m hoping to get over 100,000 miles on the vehicle. Do you feel with proper maintenance this is possible.

  8. Maybe you can help. Purchased used 2014 Forester w/53,000 miles. Was unaware of oil consumption issues. What is your advise for the type of oil to use. 0W20 is Subaru spec. I see where some are using 5W30. I have driven about 1,500 miles and noticed a minor drop in oil when checking on high side of dipstick. Any advice would be helpful

    1. Hey Paul,

      I don’t think that’s enough oil use to worry about. I also don’t suggest using 5w30 oil, the engine was designed to run on 0w20. My advice is just to keep checking it every few weeks until you get to know the car based on how you use it. If you find it uses more than 1 quart every 1000 miles I would contact SOA even though you bought it used, I will also add less 2015 and newer models experience this than prior models.

      Hope that helps


  9. Hey I’m looking at purchasing a 2002 Impreza with 120k miles on it for $4000. It’s the valve cover gasket done as well as the thermostat and coolant system done. According to the seller it throws an evap code and the ABS light randomly comes on, but he’s got a part for the evap. Would you say this is worth the purchase and fixing up?

    1. Hey Mason,

      Always be leery of the car that just needs this or that and its an easy fix, if its easy the seller would do it and make it an easier sale. Some Evap components require removal of the fuel tank to replace as an example. Thats not easy or inexpensive.

      The ABS and Evap would need to be diagnosed to know what’s wrong. Even at $4000 you might consider doing a prepurchase inspection.



  10. Hi Justin,

    I have a 2010 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport. It’s been well maintained and I had to have the head gaskets repaired at around 104,000 miles with the coils and plugs replaced shortly after that. It’s now got 124,000 miles on it and has the famous catalytic converter 1 below threshold P0420 code. I’m looking at getting this fixed to get 2 to 3 more years out of the car. At what point would you recommend not fixing one of these cars. So far everything else has just been routine. (i.e. brakes, struts, sway bar linkages). Just trying to figure out when we might be getting close to having to look for a different car.

  11. Hi, Justin,
    I put a post recently in the wrong place recently, and I can’t find it so I thought it would be a good idea to repeat it in the correct one!
    You were kind enough to reply to one of my posts some time ago.
    This is one to which I can’t find answers. I have a 2006 2.0 16 valve BP5 Legacy Wagon, called a sports tourer over here in the UK. I have had it from new and it has done 113, 000 miles, pretty faultlessly. Because of its age, I am worried about the radiator hoses and how long they are likely to last. I have a lot of amateur mechanic experience with cars, mostly years ago, and radiator hoses never used to last very long. I can’t get hold of any over here except on special order from the main dealers. Is this because no one needs them and that they therefore last for a very long time? Or should I change them soon.
    Another point I’d like to ask your advice on is the cambelt. It’s coming up soon for a change at 15 years. It has had 2 previously at 5 and 10 years. Recently, the car has been serviced regularly by a local garage who are not Subaru specialists. The main dealers are a long distance away. My local garage is very competent and are 4×4 specialists, auto electricians and specialise in vintage cars. Can I trust them to do the cambelt which I know is a precision job? I don’t want to alienate them by taking the car to the main dealers if at all possible., because cambelt and service will need to be done at the same time, and they are extremely useful and helpful for someone like me with an oldish car,- and honest. I have always checked work after it has been done by a garage. I know you may not be able to answer this one except perhaps by the general rule, but I would be grateful for your input.
    My last question ( sorry about this) is about valve clearances. We call them tappets but I’m not sure about the U.S. They have never been done. The car is running extremely well at present, but I’m sure I read somewhere that 105,000 miles might be a trigger for this. My Haynes manual, which is for American cars, does not deal with how to do them for a 16 valve engine, and although I have always done these myself on other cars, including shimming Alfa Romeos, I don’t have either a car hoist or the instructions. Would you advise that they should be checked, and, if so, is this a main dealer job? I am sure my local garage will have done quite a few other make 16 valvers. They do stuff like Jaguar V12s- (and I know that’s not 16 valves).
    Sorry for the length of this post. I seem to have been saving up my questions!

    1. Hey Nigel,

      Sorry for the Late replay on this, it ended up in Spam.

      So yes on most being able to replace the Cam belt, just make sure they do it complete. As far as the Valves they can be adjusted by removing the Valve cover and has an adjustment similar to a lot of other Japanese makes, the shop doing the t-belt should be able to do this for you. Technically speaking they should be checked every time the belt is done. My experience in the US is that they will be at the edge of the range at about 90-100k. The Modern day computer can help mask a Valve that is a little out of adjustment with adaptive strategies, but having al the valves in spec will make it perform better and be more efficient.

      Hope that helps


      1. Many thanks for your help Justin. As a matter of interest, your reply to me went into my spam box as well! Nigel

  12. My family has owned Toyotas for years. No issues. Averaging 250k plus. My mom totalled her Camry hybrid and ventured into the Subaru dealership and bought a 2014 Forester. At 108 thousand miles she’s had to get $1200 worth of front end work done. It burns about a quart of oil every month and now she’s looking at a new transmission or total rebuild. I see these posts praising Subaru but I can’t relate. She’s religious about maintenance so that’s not an issue. Maybe a lemon? Regardless she’ll be buying another Toyota

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for the post, and sharing your experience.

      No idea what kind of front end work the Subaru would have needed? Thats not common.

      As far as the oil uses, that’s fairly well documented, and Subaru will cover the cost of a shortblock replacement if its deemed excessive, have you explored this with Subaru?

      On the CVT issues at 108k, was the fluid ever serviced? Also Subaru extended the Warranty on the CVT as well, have you explored this with Subaru?

      Might be worth investigating before your mom offs the car.

      Hope that helps


      1. Justin, my manager at work has a 2016 Forester and used to live in Ohio, now in Texas. But while in Ohio he hit some major potholes and damaged his front end which warranted that front end work mentioned above. I don’t recall the specifics but it bent/broke some suspension component. Hope that helps.

        Also, I have a 2015 2.5l Outback and was nervous about the transmission oil being “lifetime”. Lifetime for me means the transmission will run for 500k miles or more, probably not what Subaru means. Anyway, I had the shop do a drop and fill at 106k miles and about 15k miles into it (120k miles), no issues. What should be my next transmission oil change interval and thereafter? Thanks so much!

        1. Hi Karl,

          Subaru does not have a suggested interval for CVT Fluid exchange or replacement, but that however does not mean its lifetime fluid. Its suggested that its to be inspected, corrected or replaced every 30k. Thats what the “I” means in the owners manual in the maintenance section. Its misleading but all car companies now do this so here we are. My suggestion is that by 90k it should have its first CVT fluid service, if you tow change that to 60k. As the CVT ages its going to wear more and that can affect the fluid as such I suggest every 60k. We are replacing a CVT transmission in a Outback with 120k currently at the shop in Kirkland. There was never a service performed, its a massive repair bill. I cannot really say if it was serviced by 90k that this would have been avoided, but it sure would be worth doing a service in the attempt to avoid a 8k+ repair bill in my opinion. Because there is zero support from Subaru or any of its vendors for components for CVTs to be rebuilt or repaired in the aftermarket my advice is to take the best care of it as possible.

          Hope that helps


          1. Thanks so much, Justin, yes, it really helps immensely. I really like your explanation of the “I” for inspection. Also, your explanation of the politics of the dealers and the manufacturers, as well as the sensible maintenance suggestions is so much appreciate by all of us. Thanks again! Another question if you have time. Do you suggest flushing the CVT or drop and fill at 30k miles? From what I’ve read, Subaru didn’t build into the CVT, a flush port/option.

          2. Hey Karl,

            Thanks for the Feedback. As far as the service goes, just a drain and fill following the procedure in the service manual is all I would ever suggest.


  13. Hi Justin!

    This thread is super helpful, thanks! I’m thinking about buying a 2012 Subaru Outback with 72,000 miles on it. There has only been one owner, and they did regular maintenance. Is $11k a good price? And is there anything I should be concerned about?

  14. Hi Justin,
    What qualifies as “severe” for a maintenance schedule? Is this about climate, driving conditions, driving habits, all of the above? How do I determine my maintenance schedule based on the classifications of normal or severe?

    1. Hi Michelle,

      All of the above. The fantasy of normal driving is you get in your Subaru, start it up, get on the on ramp to the freeway and drive at Speed until you reach your destination, shut the car off and repeat this home or where ever you go.

      If you commute in stop and go, drive in cold or hot weather, go up and down hills, drive in a dusty area, make frequent short trips (you know like to the store and home) or worse a couple of stores each time moving slowly in traffic. I could go on here for awhile, but I also just don’t believe most people do anything other than use there vehicle in a way that’s not “normal” and I hate the way Car companies and its all of them hide behind this to make it look like the car costs less to won than it really does.

      Hope that helps a little


  15. Hi justin, i was thinking of buying a 2011 subaru impreza hatchback 2.5i 5 speed manual with 145,000miles for $3995, was wondering what issues this year has? What to look for and keep a eye on if i do purchase? Thank you!

    1. Hello Dillon,

      The 2011 Impreza is actually a pretty good way to go. It has the potential for HG leaks, other than that it should be solid, I would still suggest a pre purchase inspection however, even at that price.

      Hope that helps


  16. Hi Justin,

    My 2006 Outback makes an odd gurgling sound when the ignition is turned on (whether or not engine is started), which is audible even after it’s turned off for a period of some seconds. Can’t tell where the sound is coming from, perhaps not far beyond the dashboard, climate control/audio system. Any ideas?

    Thanks, Nate

    1. Hey Nate,

      Sorry for the long time to reply, I took some time for the holidays.

      The gurgle sounds like an air pocket in the cooling system and thats where I would start. Also a internal HG issue could cause this. The when the key on thing is related to the electronic blend door opening and making the noise in the heater core more audible.

      Hope that helps


  17. Hi Justin. I am a long way from you – in Australia. However, I have a Subaru Liberty bought in January 2001 although I believe they told me it was a 2000 manufactured car which is more than likely. It has now done nearly 195000 kms and generally I am being told I should buy something new. It has been maintained regularly and recently had a drive shaft renewed. There is still a slight noise in the car and my mechanic is not sure whether it is ball bearings in the drive shaft or a possible transmission problem. My family says don’t spend another cent on it even to find out. Yet I love the car and don’t much like the modern, cheaper cars I can afford. A Subaru specialist tells me my Liberty has great longevity. It is a bit of a petrol guzzler but I generally just do short, around town trips. My son in law says once one thing goes wrong, more will swiftly follow. Do you agree?

    1. Hello Christine,

      No not at all. I have, I think 7 loaner cars with over 300,000 miles on them in the same era as your liberty. Yes, cars can and will need service and repairs over time, but the same goes with any car. When you are buying a new car you are paying for someone else to cover the cost of repairs for a period of time, but you are still on the hook for maintenance services. This is a trap a lot pf people find themselves in. The narrative “get rid of your current car before it needs another repair” this means that whomever you sell it to can do whats next and drive it instead? Because they bought it from you at a lower price it matters less if it needs anything VS you putting money into something you already own and most likely have no car payments on.

      My advice is and has always been and always will be is to own what you like, its a tool. Once the tool no longer suits your needs buy a new tool at that point in time. Some of us have hammers passed down from parents or even grandparents, if the handle splinters, you have two choices, replace the hammer or replace the handle and continue to use it understanding that even a new hammer today will eventually need a new handle in the future.

      The 2000-2004 Outback/Legacy/Liberty are Tanks. Yes they will probably need a HG repair at some time, but if you do that and drive it it will last.

      Sorry for the delay in responding, it was important to take some time and be with family for the holidays.

      Hope this helps


  18. Hi Justin, I went in for my usual oil & filter change and got hit with the head gasket news. Your posts based upon my ‘severe’ usage at (only) 75,000, the 2008 Forester age and the repair investment towards a longer life (200,000 at least I hope), helped me decide to go ahead with a big repair bill at San Francisco bay area prices! This covers the HG, right and left cylinder heads, timing belt and related parts. I had heard a clicking and clacking noise off and on so it seems this will get resolved now also. Oh and my check tire pressure light has been on for 2 years. I got the sensors thrown into the price as well. So basically I just wanted to say thanks for all this information you have posted. I feel better about the bill then having to make new car payments.

  19. Hi Justin,
    Just discovered you. Fantastic info and advice. Here’s my situation:
    I am the original owner of a 2003 Forester 2.5X automatic. It has only 80,000 miles on it. I’ve basically done all the maintenance as required in the manual. Used Mobil 1 synthetic oil. Was using premium gas until 2013, when I switched to regular octane. Replaced timing belt, water pump and thermostat in 2013 at 54,000 miles. In January 2020 found oil weeping from both head gaskets (not enough to even notice any drop in oil level at the dip stick). I never had to add oil in between oil changes. My mechanic suggested using Lucas Oil stop leak for now, which I did (I know that you advise against using any of these stop leak additives! Sorry.) In March 2020 I replaced the radiator, both hoses, and thermostat. Yesterday when checking the status of the oil leak (which still showed a very slight seepage, but not enough to drip to the ground, thanks to the under shield), I noticed evidence of coolant leakage (white powdery residue) above the thermostat housing, seemingly from where the water pump connects to the motor. I also now noticed that the coolant level in the reservoir was a little bit low, but have seen no drips of coolant. I really want to keep this car as long as possible, as long as it’s still dependable. I don’t mind spending money on this car, but not if it will become a money pit and more than it’s worth. I’m debating whether to go to the mechanic and have it repaired properly, and possible doing the head gaskets too. Alternatively, I’m considering using Bar’s Liquid Aluminum stop leak and see what happens (Sorry again). Thanks for any input. I do love this car.

    1. Hi Sid,

      Right off the bat, the head gaskets will almost never get to the point where they leak a measurable amount of oil out of the engine. Its okay to monitor the HG for a situation where they become worse the thought process being when they start to leak coolant hey must be done

      The problem with using any stop leak is your just delaying the inevitable, and at the cost of possibly doing long term damage. Once you go down that road your really saying I dont want to repair this car just drive it until it cant be, its no longer the tool you want to continue to use, and instead the one you will use until it fails to work. You can use the search feature of our website and type in Stop leak to read about it and see pictures.

      Stop leak can and will clog portions of the cooling system, this over time creates deficiencies in the cooling system potentially allowing parts of the engine to run hotter than others eventually this can and will lead to Internal Head Gasket Failure.

      Hope that helps


  20. Hi Justin, we are thinking of buying a 2010 Subaru outback 2.5l premium, with 253,000 on the clock. we would be thinking of towing with this vehicle, a camper tailor, asking 8500.00 2 owners regular servicing, recently replaced timing belt and brakes. What do you think?

    1. Hello Donna,

      The 253k doesn’t scare me, but I just do not feel that towing a camper trailer with a Subaru is a great idea, partially because by the time you load the trailer, and gear you will be over ratings in most cases especially if its more than the two of you? Now, I do not however know the weight of the trailer, just my opinion of using a Subaru to tow anything really over 1000-1500lbs. If you are going over mountain passes, long trips etc its just not the best option, it’s rated to tow, but that is more out of needing to compete rather than designing it to tow. It should have larger brakes, a heavy duty suspension system and an external transmission cooler to really do this well. Which it just doesn’t. If you are going to stay well under the ratings id say have a pre purchase inspection done and see where that takes you.

      But if the primary purpose is to tow, I just don’t think this is the way

      Sorry to be a downer.


  21. Hi Justin,

    Thanks again for all the great advice. I hope you and yours are well during these challenging times. A general question re: engines. I know each case is different and there can be many variables as to how a vehicle was maintained – but I wonder when buying used would it typically be safer to buy a vehicle with the EJ25 rather than an early FB series? Of course there’s possible head gasket situations to consider with the EJ25, and whether the timing belt has been replaced as necessary. There’s a dealership out this way that claims to replace the head gaskets and timing belt on every (used) Subaru they sell, along with a 6 month bumper to bumper warranty and a 1 year warranty on the engine. Their prices are therefore higher than typical book value – but overall seem fair considering all the attributes.

    I do like the FB engine has a chain, and while I’m sure there’s many out there running great I’ve read of many situations of high oil consumption or worse. When I owned Subarus I always changed the oil myself. I may still have a Fram PH3593 filter in the garage. Looking at the FB engine – the oil filter is on top? !

    I do look at 2011 Foresters for sale online at times. If I were to get one of those I’d be sure to carry a couple containers of oil in the vehicle. I know the EJ25 can consume more oil than normal, especially when older – but buying used do you think it could be a better choice assuming the maintenance as mentioned has been done? Then again – if records show an FB25 short block has been replaced on a vehicle maybe that’s something to consider as well. I don’t own a Subaru now but I keep thinking about owning one again!

  22. Hi Justin,

    I was just wondering if you have come across many 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i premium AWD? I just bought one 108,000 miles on it. Got it from a Toyota dealership and it has been looked at and certified. I heard that Subaru’s are reliable cars and really liked the whole AWD aspect. After buying it I have heard that this particular year burns oil and can have gasket problems. Now I’m a little worried about how long it will last and if I made the wrong purchase. Had 3 previous owners. I think they kept maintenance up for the most part. Any advice?

    Needing a peace of mind

  23. I was wondering how many miles I could expect to get out of a 2016 subaru forester XT. And if you had any maintenance advice other then what the factory reccomends that would definatly be helpful. I hope to drive the car for a very long time, Thanks Justin!

    1. Hello Don,

      So I want to start out by mentioning the owners manual lists the minimum amount of maintenance you should perform on your Subaru and you also really need to be honest about how you use it and identify if your use is “normal” or “severe” in order to get as much out of it as possible. A lot of times when we think about how many miles to get out of a car we get really focused on the engine, but there is a lot more to consider.

      If you want 300k out of the 2016 Forester XT

      Oil changes every 3000 miles/3 months with Synthetic oil and high quality Oil filters.

      Coolant inspected every year and changed based on PH level as well as age and condition but absolutely the first change by 90k and at least every 60k after that. We actually do lots at 30k after the first service, as the cooling system ages the coolant just doesn’t help up as long.

      Use higher tiered fuel in a Turbo vehicle.

      Don’t put off air filters, the cleaner the air the cleaner the engine.

      Fuel induction type services to clean carbon out of the combustion chamber, first at 60k, every 30k afterwards.

      Brake fluid changed annually

      Use everything periodically, lube everything that moves (where appropriate). This over time prevents things like broken hood release cables, or door hinge repairs.

      The first battery will probably last 3 years, put an interstate battery in it and replace it every 5 after that. Weak batteries can cause problems besides not starting.

      Hope this helps and I hope you get 300k and more out of your Subaru


  24. Hi, Justin
    A friend is trying to sell me his 2013 Subaru outback limited for $7500 (including tax). It has 160,000 miles, one previous owner. I’m going to take it to be looked at by my mechanic on Friday, but is this going to last me several years? I need to make at least one annual great plains – west coast and back again drive. It seems like a good deal, but would I be smarter to go another brand, same cost, lower miles?

    1. Hey Maria,

      So I am hesitant to suggest the purchase of a 2011-2015 Subaru with the FB series engine unless there are service records indicating that the short block has been done to correct possible oil consumption.

      I just don’t want anyone to buy a potential problem. There isn’t any inspections that can be done as part of a pre-purchase inspection that will save you from a car that uses excess oil.

      Now we have helped people locally still buy these vehicles used, but you have to know the history and that includes if its known it uses oil.

      Hope that helps


  25. I’m considering purchasing a 2015 Subaru Forrester with 57000 miles certified pre-owned warranty for just under $16,000. Is that year/model and price a good deal? Thank you

    1. Hi Shelley,

      Sounds okay but I don’t know the market where you live and you must have a pre purchase done


  26. Thanks for your reply! I plan on getting a PPI done, but would you be concerned about trading a 2015 forester 2.5 with 56,000 for a 2016 OB 3.6 with 74,000?

    It seems like a great car if the inspection holds out, but don’t know if it’d be smarter to wait for something with lower mileage. It seems the 3.6 engine might be more reliable than the 2.5 and the mileage might not be the end all be all, but I always appreciate a professionals opinion!

  27. Hey Justin!

    I currently have a 2015 forester (base model) with around 56,000 miles on it, but am interested in trading it in for a similar age OB to have a bit more towing capability.
    The car I’m looking at now is a 2016 3.6 OB with about 75,000 miles on it. The trailer we’d be towing is about 2000lbs loaded and we’d mostly be taking short 1-2 hour trips through limited elevation.

    What are your thoughts on performance for this setup?

    There are plenty of 2.5a out there I’d consider too, but I think having the extra power might be preferable.

    Thanks in advance for your help!


    1. Hello Darby,

      If you are going to tow the 3.6l is the best router to go, its exactly what I use. While its true the 2.5l can do it, the 3.6l will do it so much better and you will be way less stressed.



  28. Hi, Justin,
    I’m over here in the Uk but read with interest all the posts from your contributors.
    I have had my 2006 Legacy Wagon you call it, sports tourer over here, for 14 years. It is a 2.0, bullet proof, 16 valve lump with only 111,000 miles because the UK is of course a lot smaller than the U.S. Still going strong. There are loads of comments about the longevity of Subarus, particularly mileages. But I think we should divide Subarus into 2 camps. Those in hottish climates where rust is no problem and so mileage is the determinant of longevity. And those like me who endure harsh and snowy winters where body longevity is the key. I want to keep the vehicle for as long as I can. All new struts now make the vehicle handle like new. It has required no other major work. But it has a rusty rear subframe which I have treated internally and externally with Dynax and rusty rear suspension. I think this is its weak point. Do you know how difficult it is to replace the subframe? And what other body matters I should be looking at to try and rustproof. I know that a lot of the vehicle is galvanised with some aluminium parts, but I don’t know which. Do you know if the floorpan is galvanised steel? I am intending to take the sills ( sorry don’t know what they are called over there) off to see what is happening behind them. Visual inspection of the rest of the chassis, except I can’t see above the exhaust, does not reveal any rusty bits. Your views would be very valuable to me. And great forum.

    1. Hi Nigel,

      I have been to the UK a few times now and yes rust can really be the thing that prematurely ends the life of a good car and you are wise to want to avoid this. It is also on the coasts of the US and even more so in the areas we call the “Rust Belt” where the winters are so harsh the roads are ultimately salted and chemically treated all winter long.

      Rust can be a tricky thing to repair when it gets into the Body and sub frame, the rear sub frame replacement is a lot of work but totally doable. The floor pans I do not believe are galvanized in the UK, and I also don’t believe they are in the US. Just make sure they are clean and perhaps use some rubberized undercoating to protect the underside. The typical body related rust spots are the inner fender wells, upper rear quarter panels and the pinch weld areas on the bottom of the vehicle.

      Hope that helps


  29. I am considering buying a 2009 Subaru Forester with 137,000 miles. But the engine was replaced with a remanufactured motor around 127,000 miles. Is this a safe vehicle to buy or walk away? Purchasing from reputable mazda dealer which took it in as a trade in.

    1. Hey Wes,

      The only advice I can offer is its needs a pre purchase inspection prior to buying. People trade cars in for all sorts of reasons including they know the car has issues, but also just because they need something bigger.

      You would also need to know what kind of Reman engine was done, anything other than a Subaru Factory short block plus a local machine shop rebuilding the cylinder heads would tell me to not consider it.

      Hope that helps


  30. We’re considering a 2001 Forester, 94k miles, which recently had the head gasket replaced and 4 or 5 valves replaced/machined. I have a pre purchase inspection scheduled for this week with my trusted mechanic. The CarFax reflects solid maintenance records for the last 10 years. Are their any concerns regarding this particular car and the limited history I’ve provided that would cause you to steer clear? There is a small area of surface rust at the rear driver’s side wheel well (approximately 2inches long). This would be a first car, for my 16 year old. The seeker is a co-worker’s husband who is a mechanic and the asking price is $4500. I’d like to see the car last for 7-8 years through high school and college. Are my expectations reasonable if the PPI doesn’t find anything?

    Ephrata, PA

    1. Hello Heather,

      I am so glad to see you are doing a Pre Purchase inspection. As long as the PPI shows its a good car, id say you are on the right track and its a great car for a first time driver.


  31. Thanks for your input Justin.

    i’m definitely doing 3,000 from here on out; I would have been doing that for the last 7.5 years if that’s what the manual had told me to do. That’s the part the frustrates me; I thought that I was being a responsible car owner by following the manual’s instructions for fluid changes (and then some).

    I don’t drive crazy. I do drive a WRX. Yeah, I take it to 4,500-5,000 RPM sometimes when I’m commuting. Anyways, I appreciate the perspective. I don’t mind paying the repair bill if it gets me to 200,000 miles on the engine, but the idea of driving around with the baby in the backseat someday and getting stranded does scare me a bit.

    Anyways, thanks again, cheers

  32. Hi there. Thanks for this article. I am trying to decide what to do with my 2013 WRX. I am original owner. Sitting at 90k miles right now. Looking at getting in the next couple of months timing belt, water pump, aftermarket radiator for increased longevity, etc.

    I always know to stay on top of oil changes but I didn’t quite realize the extend of that. On average I’ve changed oil every 4,300 miles to this point; usually right around that marker, sometimes at 3,500, sometimes at 6,000 (once).

    We have an extended powertrain warranty for a spun rod bearing until 100k miles or 8 years (March 2021). I know I’m the only one who can answer this question, but some additional perspective on this would be nice. I bought this car intending to have it for 200k miles, so it is a bit frustrating to read all of these horror stories from folks who’ve taken pretty good care of their cars.

    1. Hey MF,

      So this is based on shop data, not internet lore. We just don’t see people that truly maintain their car with oil changes every 3 months or 3000 miles as in 4 oil changes a year end up with engine damage on an unmodified car.

      Half my staff drive Turbo Subaru’s, why would they do that if it was going to throw a rod? Designs can always be better, but yes if the oil filter goes into Bypass mode and debris partially restricts an oil passage, damage is going to happen. That damage may not show for months or even longer, its also about the environment the Rod is in. A couple of heavy pulls on a weakened part and yes its going to fail.

      Id love to tell you that the one time double oil change interval didn’t do anything and the 4300 oil changes are okay too, but I just cant, especially without know your driving conditions, which is the larger piece of the puzzle. All you can do is continue to maintain it the best you can, and yes life is going to happen, and if that life includes a failed rod bearing, its not the end of the world. Its still cheaper than another car.

      There are tons of WRX’s out there with high miles still going strong, we see them daily. We also see the skipped maintenance aspects of things to. Just do the best you can, most likely your fine but up those intervals to 3000 miles especially as it ages.

      Hope that helps



  33. Hey there everyone. Looking for input for a car issue. 2012 Outback limited with 167k miles. Internal oil leak damaged 2 cylinders and clogged up cat converter. Estimate to fix is $1900 and contemplating just retrieving the vehicle. Prob worth $4500 running.

    So not looking for a decision from this group but curious what others thoughts on whether the repair is worth it and is there anything else I should be asking mechanic about other issues that may lead to a better decision.


    1. Hello Steve,

      Right of the bat $1900 seems real low to repair an engine and replace the Catalyst. Is there anyway you can get specific about exactly whats wrong and exactly what is being repaired and with what kind of parts, what kind of warranty?

      Id like to help, but there are just so many variables.


  34. Justin, I’m looking for a used Forester for my son. I’ve read that models before 2016 have oil consumption problems. Should I steer clear of those models?

    1. Hello Beth,

      If you buy from a private party and can have an honest conversation with the owner of a pre 2016 to see if they have had any trouble and they indicate its not using oil you are okay, however its at a used car lot, or the used side of a new car sales dealership I would buy with caution.

      Hope that helps


  35. I am looking at a used subaru outback. I am seeing various ones with 120,000-160,000 between $3,400-$4,000. They are all early 2000’s
    I’m wondering if there are any years that are not as great or any common problems with these as they rack up milege. I know they can run along time with is why I am interested.

    1. Hello Heather,

      So not really, an early 2000’s Subaru is an Early 2000’s Subaru a 2001-2004 Outback, Legacy, Forester all have the same drive-train. 2006 brings AVCS to some models, not as desirable in my opinion Even at $3000 you should have a pre purchase inspection done to know the condition of all of the major players, such as the Head Gaskets etc.

      Hope that helps


  36. Hi there!

    i want to drive about 2,400 miles (from San Francisco to Detroit). My 2008 Outback is in pretty good condition and as 233,000 miles on it. It needs a new catalytic convertor, which will be handled in a just a few days. Do you think my car will make it? i’m worried it’s going to die in the middle of my trip and ill be stranded in Iowa.

  37. Hello Justin, I have a 2018 Subaru Forester. How often would you recommend getting the oil changed and what type of oil? I have heard different things. Some people say that you should get the oil changed every 3,000 miles while others say that shops just tell you that so they can make more money and you really don’t need to change it until about every 7,0000 miles. What is your opinion? I appreciate your help!

    1. Hello Riley,

      Here is the truth. All cars need to be maintained based on how you use them. One drivers perceived normal use is another’s severe use.

      If you make a lot of short trips, commute in stop and go traffic that actually severe use. If you hop in the car at 60 degrees and drive it at a rate of speed if say 55-60 mph for 30 minutes come to a stop and shut it down until the next trip which is exactly the same, that is normal use.

      If you fall into severe use on your model I would suggest a max interval of 5,000 miles
      If you fall into normal use I would suggest a max interval of 7000 miles.

      But in order for this to work and for you to really take care of this Forester the right way, you have to be super honest with your self about how its being used. I also want to stress that checking your oil level is important when going out past 3000 miles and that you will do no harm in changing more often than why I suggested, what I just typed is the minimum amount of maintenance you should perform.

      I hope this helps



  38. Pingback: How long do Subarus last? -
  39. Justin,

    I’m a little less than 3 years to retirement. Looking at the outback limited, my question is, should I get a 2019 3.6r lease return or get the new 2.4xt? This car will hopefully be our last car into retirement for years to come. Turbo engines have a higher stress load and generally don’t last as long. Your thoughts please.


    1. Hi Steve,

      I really prefer the 3.6l for longevity and thats what I drive on the daily. If its the 2.4, I want you to wait another year.

      Hope that helps


      1. Thanks for your input.
        I will need to wait a year for a 2018/19 to be returned, maybe then more data will be available on the 2.4T.


        1. Justin,

          Just an update,
          I found a 2019 Outback Limited 3.6R with 5,500 miles in March. Still has that new car smell!

          I also passed your website on to my brother in Idaho, they have a 3.6 Outback.

          Thanks for the great site and info,


          1. Hey Steve,

            Congrats on the Purchase. I know it will be a great car for you.



  40. My Mom has 2010 Forester. It has had regular maintenance. I have done the timing belt once with all the tensioners and water pump. It now has 189k on it and will need another timing belt change soon, with all the associted parts. It recently has started with a slight leak in the camshaft seal. i am wondering if I should think about doing the headgaskets this time as well? or should I just do the seals and belt and call it good?

    1. Hey James,

      Great Question.

      Yes, if your about to do the second timing belt, and there are any signs at all the HG are starting to leak, even if its still like a 3/10 kind of a thing I would do them.

      The 2010 Forester is pretty solid, so I would try and get as many miles out of that platform as you can.

      Hope that helps


  41. Reading some of the mileage and prices is very interesting, in Australia once a car has done 300k kms, 180k miles, its very hard to sell, regardless of servicing history, and is pretty much junk value, $500-1000 aud. I agree though, with good servicing modern cars will last well, and subaru’s do very well. But why do we have 100k kms timing belt change intervals, and in the US 105k miles? Same car, same belt, we have slightly hotter conditions but you have way colder temps

    1. Hey Darren,

      The 105k belt thing in the was an emissions mandate started in the state of California. The State of California doesn’t allow anything emissions related to last less than 100k. It has been widely adopted by manufacturers, why make two belts? Prior to the Law change it was every 60k here in the US for the Timing belt.

      You guys must really like shelling out tens of thousands every 7 years, lol.

      We also have a much larger population, more accidents and a bigger need for cars as well as a very diverse social/economic situation.

      Two totally different markets.

      Thanks for Posting


      1. Thanks for the reply Justin, my 2003 5MT(high /low range) liberty rx wagon(legacy over there), paid$600aud – new clutch was needed, is running great with 307k kms on the clock. Checked the timing belt, looks very good and still has labelling clearly visible, I’ll leave it for a while before replacing.
        Had an issue with very jerky acceleration/deceleration though, impossible to get right when changing gears. After checking the usual things it turned out to be the neutral switch in the gearbox, permanently open cct, replaced with a reverse light switch(same switch) perfect on/off throttle now, hard to find a reference on the web for this issue, and 90% of the cars at the wreckers had a faulty switch, so seems a common problem.

  42. Hi,

    Im looking at a 2009 Subaru Forester. The vehicle looks like it is impeccable shape. The leather seats don’t even look worn even though it is 10 years old. It would be a first car for my 16 year old. They are asking 3,000. It has 260,00 miles on.

    Obviously I would have it checked out by a mechanic, but am just worried about the high mileage.

    Let me know your thoughts

    1. Hello Lolita,

      260,000 is getting up there, the price I think seems fair, but I just don’t know the market where you live, I think as long as the car checks out, paying close attention to major mechanical type of things you should be okay. One thing I will stress is a car with higher miles like that make sure you get to know it and that includes checking the oil lots and often to see if it uses any in between oil changes.

      Hope that helps


      1. Thank you for getting back to me. We live in PA. I had a mechanic check it out. He said everything looks good but that it will need the timing belt replaced sooner rather than later. The guy originally wanted $3500, dropped it to $3000, then when the conversation about the timing belt came up, went down to $2700. I just don’t know if it is worth buying it then fixing it already because of the miles. I tried to get hime to $2500 but he wouldn’t. 🙁

  43. Hi, I’m currently looking at a 2002 Subaru Impreza wrx wagon with 201,000 miles on it and he’s asking $5,000 for it I’m going to look at it tomorrow and I will be asking if I could get a pre inspection on it when I do he has all of the maintenance records and has recently replaced a bunch of necessary components. The car was owned by an older man who babied the car and kept up on it and this owner that’s selling it has kept it stock as well and has also kept it well maintained. It has been garaged all of its life and is in near perfect exterior and interior condition but I’m in a sticky situation with my current car having a bad engine that will cost more than the car to be replaced if you were me would you consider this a viable option? I’d like to talk him down a little bit on the price of it since it does have such high milage.

    1. Hi Samuel,

      So a 2002 WRX Bugeye as we call them at 200k gives me some concern. Your on the right track with having a pre purchase inspection performed. Make sure its done by someone familiar with Subaru and at that mileage pay attention to the possibility of internal head gasket issues, and maybe have them also inspect the turbo for play.

      Hope that helps


      1. It’s very well maintained I just looked at it last night and it looks like it has 10k miles on it almost zero damage to it anywhere interior and all looks amazing and the engine sounded amazing he did a compression test on it and it was 155 all around and the turbo sounded good I know how to work on cars and do all my work by myself and this car seems like something I can’t let go

  44. Hi Justin,

    Well my 2010 Subaru Outback Sport has 104,000 miles on it and has been diagnosed with leaky head gaskets. As the only kind of major repair on the car to this point has been rear struts I decided to get it fixed as I was going in to have the timing belt replaced and figure it will still be cheaper than buying a new car. If the repair is done correctly may I estimate another 100,000 miles before I’ll have head gasket issues? Just curious

    1. Hey Ron,

      It all depends on the repair, if its getting Subaru gaskets it will most likely get dome again before 60k, if it is getting the Six Star gasket we use I would expect something more like you are hoping for.


  45. Hi Justin,
    I have been reading a lot of your post and have learned quite a bit. I have two Subarus, a 2000 and a 2001 Outback limited both bought within the last few years. The 2000 has not had any issues and currently has about 120000 miles but I anticipate I will have to due a gasket change eventually which I will because the car is in awesome condition and I have only had to do the air conditioning. Because of the great experience I had with that vehicle, I picked up a similar 2001. Unfortunately, it has had a lot of problems and I have dumped a cramp ton of $ in it. It had 145K miles when I bought it and I did do the head gaskets which I expected to do. Unfortunately lots of other issues keep happening. The most current issue is that the car is periodically overheating. My daughter drives this car and she says when it happens she just put the heater on and that seems to solve the issue. Seems odd to me that this is happening when we just did the head gasket just over a year ago. It doesn’t appear to be leaking or burning radiator fluid or oil. My daughter says it mainly happens when the car has sat in the sun a long time and then she drives it on the freeway. We have what we believe to be a reputable mechanic, however I have had several mechanics try and pull one on me which has left me with some trust issues. I used to do most of my own repairs when I was younger so I have more than an average understanding of some mechanics. I am getting to old to be doing any major stuff but have enjoyed problem solving and fixing smaller issues. So I guess what I was hoping from you is maybe a list of possible concerns that would fit the situation. The gasket repair was only warrantied for a year so that is past so I would be pretty upset if that was the issue. I have not replaced the radiator or cap (the cap doesn’t look that old but the problem just started this summer). I wouldn’t suspect air in the line although that is possible. Any other ideas I should consider? Thank you in advance for your time and thanks for having such a great place to come for reviews and info.

    1. Hello Angelique,

      Wow that sounds awful. Its difficult to say whats causing the overeating as there are so many things it could be. But it just cant be driven until it’s fixed or you will damage the head gaskets and possibly the engine.

      The list of what “could be” is just so long.

      Restricted Rad
      Faulty T-stat
      Improper HG Repair
      Fans not coming on
      Air pocket
      Restricted heater core
      and more

      It just needs to evaluated locally and you just need to find a good shop, thats my best advice for you.



  46. Hi Justin

    My daughter needs a cheap reliable car to drive maybe 10 miles each way to work. We ar looking at a 2000 Impreza with 165000 miles. Same owner for last ten years and he had it serviced locally. Timing belt was changed, ac just charged and inspection good thru 1/20. He said I could tslk to the mechanic. Current owner just bought a new Forrester. Thoughts? Thanks!

    1. Hello Rebecca,

      I am probably late with any real help but the 2000 Impreza is a very solid choice if the car passes the inspection.


  47. Hi Justin. I am looking into purchasing a 2014 SUBARU XV CROSSTREK 2.0I PREMIUM. This is my first Subaru. I love the Crosstrek for its size and capability of hauling more than an average sedan. I have test-driven a couple and do like the vehicle. This one in particular has 127,120 miles on it and it is selling for $11,500. It is a 1-owner vehicle with clean carfax. Other notes: Inspection Complete, New Front & Rear Brake Pads/Rotors.

    I am wondering/concerned about the mileage. I’d like the car to be reliable and last for another 5-8 years. I do not do much long-distance traveling that would pack on the miles.

    I also do not see a lot of conversation on your site about Crosstreks. Is that a good thing, or indicate no one buys them? Ah!

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hey Julia,

      I am probably late with any advice. The one thing to really try and understand about the Crosstrek is you could buy one that might use oil in between oil changes. Which isn’t the end of the world as long as you don’t let it run low on oil, so if you did buy it, just make sure you learn if it uses oil by checking the oil often for the first few weeks/months of ownership.

      There isn’t as much to write about on the Impreza/Crosstrek platforms. Mostly recall stuff.

      The Crosstreks are a little harder on CV axles and wheel bearings as compared to the Impreza which uses the same platform other than that they are pretty solid cars. I put my son in a 2013 when he turned 16 last year.

      Hope that helps


  48. Hi Justin,

    Thank you for the helpful reply.

    The shop apparently repaired the stripped bolts, following the replacement timing belt and valves, with the help of a welder. I can’t think of any reason that the owner would NOT have replaced the tensioner and/or pulley — particularly after noting on our most recent paperwork that they were damaged when the timing belt shredded! — unless, perhaps, the fix for the stripped-out bolts ended up amounting to fusing the parts onto the engine? (As much as I hate to consider it, I’m running out of alternate explanations.)

    Like you, I am baffled. While it is true that we originally told the shop that our radiator fan, radiator hoses, thermostat, belts, tensioner and water pump had been replaced less than three years before the radiator and HG blew, we would not have declined any recommended parts replacement if it had been indicated that the heat damage may have rendered the parts installed with our major service a moot point.

    When asked for clarification on the paperwork where damage to a pulley and tensioner is noted, we were told that it was a mistake on their part and that it was supposed to refer only to the damaged bolts. In short, the owner still doesn’t think we need a new tensioner. (I could be wrong, but isn’t it a chicken vs. egg situation? How do we know if the bolt stripped out and caused the belt shred, which is what the shop thinks happened, vs. a faulty tensioner or a bearing, which caused the weakest links to break — first stripping the bolt threads, then throwing the belt?)

    We are lost in terms of who to trust because we are relative newcomers to where we live. The car was maintained after it went out of dealer warranty by the same shop — over 15 years as customers! — until we relocated more than 80 miles away. That first year after the move, we had an alternator, power steering pump, rack-and-pinon boot(?) and an axle replaced. The mechanic who replaced our alternator — which by coincidence was located only a few yards away from where the car overheated when the radiator/HG failed — forced us to tow the car off his lot because the only option he felt comfortable offering was a $5K rebuilt engine (would not perform, nor warranty, an HG repair).

    The only other shop we had been to following our move was ~20 miles away. This is the shop where we went to have a small oil leak diagnosed in May of last year. The owner resolved the “oil leak” by applying a silicone seal around the vale cover. (We found ourselves paying for a new rack-and-pinion boot, axle and power steering pump while remaining in the dark about our small oil leak possibly tied into a failing head gasket.) In any event, that is how we ended up at shop #3 for the current work (selected on the strength of the Yelp reviews).

    Following the belt/valve repair, we learned that the rack-and-pinion assembly needs to be replaced due to a leak. As of this week, we were told this leak is what was responsible for creating “smoke” following our test drive. This test drive occurred after we were told the timing belt/valve replacement was complete. Due to this smoke/burning odor and the presence of a high pitch sound on rapid accelerating during a test drive, we left it the car — yet again.

    A rack-and-pinion leak was never mentioned at the time of the HG repair (nor did we smell any odors while waiting 30 minutes on the side of a freeway, after our belt shredded three weeks prior, for a tow truck). Given the fact that the power steering pump and the rack-and-pinion boot is only a year old, we presume if it was leaking it would have been diagnosed at that time. So either we’ve encountered a badly-timed coincidence or the extensive amount of work — if not the 2-hour tow — created a new problem for us to fix.

    A sit-down with the shop owner is a good suggestion. We hope to convince the owner to keep his shop open late enough so that my spouse, who has tied up my car now for over a month, can get there after work to discuss this in person. The phone tag hasn’t been helping — which is why I posted a comment in the hope of receiving your more knowledgeable input.

    Thank you. The advice has been greatly appreciated.

  49. My spouse is on his second Subaru. The mileage he has reached, despite regular maintenance, scarcely made it past 120,000 before all manner of problem occurred. AC problems (condenser, A/C clutch), over $1K in replaced suspension bushings, O2 and other sensor failures and, most recently, a cracked radiator, blown head gasket and — upon getting the car back from repair — the timing belt shredded, which bent multiple valves.

    My spouse had his 2004 Outback into the dealer for some sensor repairs as recently as 150,000 miles. Nobody ever said ONE WORD about the head gasket so it did not come to my attention until after it failed that this is a long-known issue. It just goes to show that even for an original owner it’s not always possible to stay out ahead of the problems a potential model/make is prone to. (Apparently the head gasket was a flawed design between 2000-2009.)

    Our major service just three years ago included: Belts, radiator hoses, belt tensors, radiator fan, thermostat, water pump, crank seals, etc. Would that not have been a good time to appreciate whether the head gasket needed to be replaced? Apparently not for the subject never came up.

    Last year around this time, I began noticing small oil spots on the driveway. We were new to the area where we live and out of the driving range of our old mechanic. We took it to an independent shop with great Yelp reviews. There my husband was told that the valve cover was the source of the leak. The shop owner said he had had success by applying a silicone rim to the area that could hold up to a year. He said the repair the car needed would be expensive but did not educate my spouse about the source of the problem tracking back to a failing head gasket! So the area was caulked with silicone and my spouse was told to have the job repeated if he saw any more leaks.

    We saw some mild spotting in the driveway appear about March of this year. Before we could get the car back in, it required some coolant. A week later it went into its first and only overheat situation. My spouse didn’t notice until the car died at a stop. The radiator (plastic!) had cracked AND the head gasket had blown. Naturally, the silent campaign to fix the head gasket had expired by about three years so we were SOL with Subaru America.

    At 167,000 miles the head gasket had to be done along with the motor mounts and the transmission mount. That set us back $2300 at an independent shop. Not 24 hours out, and the car, which up to that point sounded and drove more solidly than it had in years, lost power on the freeway and the engine would not turn over. We coasted over to the side and had a two truck bring the car two hours back to the shop.

    Shop reports that an “anchor bolt” stripped out because the mechanic we used to do our belt job three years beforehand had replaced out a stripped-out bolt with another one that was not a good fit and had used some type of compound to give the threads grip. Shop speculated that at the time of the radiator and head gasket failure the overheating must have caused the compound to lose its grip on the bolt, causing the timing belt to shred. They said they never dissembled the side where the “anchor bolt” or “tap” had been installed on account of the fact that we did not have our drive belts replaced at the time of the head gasket service. (It was never clear to us with “newer” belts on the car that they should have been.)

    Upon taking the car out of the shop after six bent valves were replaced, the car feels “off”. In addition to some (presumable) valve tap at startup, we heard a bit of a high pitch whine upon acceleration. The car seemed to be working too hard to accelerate (RPMs going too high).

    We had been told a compression test was done and everything was good as new but something wasn’t right. Upon arriving back at the shop, which by then had closed for the day, we smelled a burning odor. Popping open the hood revealed some smoke on the driver’s side.

    This will be week number five the car has been in the shop and the third time the mechanic will have to investigate a problem that occurred immediately after picking the car up from repair. So imagine our surprise when, on the paperwork, we belatedly appreciate that the shop has noted that the a pulley and the belt tensioner were “damaged” when the belt shredded on the freeway three weeks prior. And there is NO indication the pulley or the belt tensioner were replaced along with the newly installed valves and belt!

    Question: Is it beyond the realm of possibility that the timing belt tensioner was on its way out and THAT, not the bolt/thread repair by our prior mechanic, is what caused the belt and the bolt to sustain the damage caused by too much tension (tensioner seizing)? Could it be that the “smoke” and the high-pitched whine on acceleration was the friction on the timing belt caused by this failing belt tensioner? OR does it sound more like we have major unaddressed engine damage caused by one or both catastrophic failures?

    I am dreading Monday when the shop employees arrive to find our car still sitting outside their door. I am concerned that, out of sheer frustration or embarrassment, the shop owner will chalk it up to “oil burning off the engine from the work” and refuse to really retrace his steps to figure out what’s wrong before we have catastrophic failure number three. (My own personal sense is that the belt tensioner should have been replaced, not just the broken belt and the bent valves.)

    My spouse and I are deep in the hole for this and have no money for a down-payment on a new car, which is WHY we were trying to repair the one we already had given that we have heard from many sources, not just here, that these cars should be capable of reaching 300,000 miles. Needless to say, we are questioning how Subaru has the reliability reputation they do when, for my husband, this is Subaru Number 2 that became a Money Pit after 100K despite performing all recommended maintenance and then some.

    1. Hello Dlynn,

      I really hate reading posts like this, I really do. There is a lot going on here, I will try to address what I can.

      What I can tell you in reading your very long and troubling post is that its just been serviced by all the wrong people, maybe not at each service but for at least the majority of what you have written about. Also things can’t be put off on a car for a week when you notice an issue, its a stop driving it kind of a thing. Oil leaks and “blown head gaskets” are two separate things one is an oil leak the other is catastrophic.

      It’s very unfortunate but here we are. When the HG is replaced the tensioner must be removed to either replace or compress the piston into the tensioner housing to install, so the shop that replaced the HG doesn’t appear to perhaps be telling the entire story? There are 3 idlers as well that all have bolts that connect them to the engine, so which one is the issue? The tensioner mounting bolt, the geared idler that mounts to the Waterpump, the flanged idler or the double bearing idler that bolts to the engine? What I can say at a minimum is it just doesn’t sound right. When we replace head gaskets we remove and inspect as per the repair procedure. Now that doesn’t mean every shop would do that but the very best would. Why do we do it this way? We know better, we know that if shop A did this, that, or the other thing, and now we are coming in on top of that work, we should make sure the repairs we are making wont be impacted by another’s work. Then we give you the option to make any other repairs we see that need to be done, we have an adult conversation and you get to decide. If you decline idlers, tensioner, timing belt or a fastener repair even if they were done a few years back and one fails it’s your baby. If it’s a fastener issue and we don’t give you the option and we took it off and did something wrong it would be ours.

      If we did your HG and on your drive home it all fell apart, well unless you specially told us not to do something we thought nessisary, we would be paying for the valve job.

      As much as I hate talking about this stuff, a few weeks back we did a HG repair to an older Impreza and a short period of time after it developed a rod knock, and because we were just there and did not suggest the lower end, we rebuilt his engine.. He was not obliged to pay a thing. When he came to pick up the car he insisted he paid for the parts as he would receive the benefit of the new parts and well I can’t imagine a fairer to both party type of an out come. This wasn’t my tech did something wrong, it was we didn’t review his service history well enough to realize there were several large gaps in oil changes and some low oil levels noted, meaning his lower end was somewhat questionable to be a candidate to reseal the HG to.

      I am the expert, you need to take your Subaru to one as well.

      Next if a bolt hole is stripped out that will need to be remedied as well as would have the timing belt, and tensioner. If the shop did a valve job and left the original timing belt and tensioner to chance? I just don’t know what to say about that. I am truly baffled by that comment and hope its a misunderstanding.

      I firmly believe the following;

      Your Subaru ownership experience will be a reflection of who you choose to and allow to service your Subaru.

      If your having a lot of trouble, perhaps the shop your using is just not the best choice? Now I don’t know all of the circumstances, I have not reviewed your repair orders, but I suspect that if I did I would see issues.

      What to do from here is tough, this is an awful situation. You’ve got to have a sit down with the owner or manager of the shop and ask some really tough questions, hopefully they are honest with you and either you have a better understanding of whats gone on, or they are honest with you and you get some help. I don’t from here know 100% which way it should go.

      Hope that helps


  50. Hi,

    I’m thinking of buying 2003 Subaru Outback that has 305000 km on it.
    Head gaskets and timing belt have been replaced.
    Overall, looks like a car has been maintained.

    Mileage scares me though.

    Any suggestions?

    Thank you

    1. Hello Kate,

      I would suggest a good pre purchase inspection, the mileage or better yet the kilometers seems high but that doesn’t mean it is at the end of life, the only way to know is to have a good pre purchase inspection performed by Someone who knows Subaru.

      Hope that helps


  51. I am looking at 2010 legacy gt’s and i was just wondering how long they are expected to last and how many miles is to many to buy one at. Thanks

    1. Hey Drew,

      The 2010-2012 Leg Gt’s are kind of a forgotten car really.

      They last about as long as a WRX does in terms of drivetrain wear. We have done a couple of HG repairs at around 150-170k but that’s really about it.

      Hope that helps


  52. Hello Justin,

    I am planning to buy 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca.It has 138,000 Miles.I can see an open recall like NHTSA Recalls Air Bags:passenger Side frontal.

    Can you help with few suggestions please.

    1. Hey Indrajit,

      The best suggestion I can make is you must have a pre purchase inspection performed. The Air bag thing really straight forward and no big deal to be resolved.

      However the rest of that Subaru needs to be inspected by someone familiar with Subaru or you could be buying someone else’s non maintained properly ready to cost you a lot of money in repairs.

      Hope that helps


  53. Hi Justin!

    I am looking to get an outback to replace my 2004 Mercedes C240 wagon as it isn’t just too small for my needs. In my search, I have found a 2011 3.6R limited that aesthetically looks very well cared for, which I understand has no bearing on the maintenance of the important parts but I feel like it says something about the owner. The only catch, it hasn’t 267k Miles on it. Is this something worth considering and are there specific things I should be worried about?

    1. Hi Allie,

      You shouldn’t buy a car like that without a prepurchase inspection fist of all. A 2011 Outback 3.6l is a great platform, but its always about the car in front of you and not the idea. I can only tell you that the idea in principle is sound, but the car may not be. Only a prepurchase inspection performed locally by someone familiar with Subaru is going to really answer this question for you.

      Sorry I cant offer more and god luck in the search


  54. Hi, I am considering buying a 2005 outback xt limited with 169,000 miles on it. I had it inspected and there are a few things that came back as needing repairs. the control arm bushings in the front, the transmission mount, the radiator hoses, and brake fluid needs flushing. Those 4 things come to about $1140. It was also noted that there was rust around the AC compressor and a small oil leak somewhere. I also would need to buy new tires for the car. The price is $4200. With all the work it needs, do you think it’s still a good deal?

    1. Hi Kristen,

      I am so glad you had the Subaru looked at before buying it, so many don’t do that and regret it later. I am hoping it was a Subaru shop that looked at it? I would also be curious to know the service history and specifically the oil changes, the Turbo and if the union screws at the Turbo were ever serviced.

      All in all it seems like a decent deal, but I think you need to know that a used Turbo model carries a little bit of risk surrounding a potential Turbo failure and if not caught in time it can damage the engine, this does not have to happen on all Turbo Subaru models such as the Xt or GT, but it does occur on the Turbo models that have not have enough love.

      I hope that helps
      -Justin Stobb
      All Wheel Drive Auto

  55. Hi Justin,

    I am planning to buy Subaru Ascent . Can you give view what kind of car it is. I am only concerned about its 4 cylander engine. Do you feel Subaru ascent engine is reliable and can go above 200 K above. I am really concerned because If I am going to spend so much I don’t get wrong.

    Thanks for your reply in advance.

    1. Hello Gurarpan,

      I would love to be able to tell you that the first iteration of the Subaru Ascent is going to be great and trouble free, but I cannot. I can tell you its a brand new platform, all new Drivetrain and technology. Subaru builds good cars and you would have a warranty, but I as with any new model trips to the service department for minor recalls, TSB’s or larger items as well can be the norm.

      I am not saying don’t buy, I am saying buy with the understanding you might have more trips to a service department for little things than you would for next’s years same car.

      I just had this same conversation with my sister.

      If you can deal with trips to the Dealer service department, by all means buy it. If that’s a great inconvenience, wait a year.

      Hope that helps


  56. Hello Justin,

    Loving Subaru and owning one myself I am happy to come across this blog. Right now I own a 99 Subaru Forester with 210,000 miles. I got it with an oil leak for super cheap (1,300$) 2 years ago and I have just kept an eye and refilled the oil when low. Recently I took it in to fix the leak, and the mechanic screwed me by just fixing the head gasket, and not the other leak in the rear valve.
    Anyways. I am in NYC right now and I plan to drive back to CO which is roughly 2,000 miles. Beside the leak and some slippage from the tranny ( I bought lucas tranny fix and hoping that will help) should I be worried to take this car on the road for that long? I just was wondering about the forester 99 and its general reliability.

    Thank You!

        1. Hi Mashi,

          Well So I saw the Question and its just so difficult to really accurately comment on the reliability of a 1999 Forester. It was the first year of the phase two engines, and the first we saw head gaskets with, also its one of the only Subaru’s we saw early automatic transmission problems with and then there is the whole rear wheel bearing issues.

          So in reality the 1999 is Forester is one of my least Favorite Subaru’s and I really hate saying that and I will point out that the shop owns 4 as loaner cars, and all of the known typical issues have been resolved, if that is the case with the one you have, it should be fine.

          Hope that helps


  57. Hi Justin,

    Fantastic site, great resource with this post — thanks so much for keeping it going!

    I have a 1999 Impreza Outback Sport. Bought it in 2010 with 99k and now it’s at 176k. It has been super solid engine-wise and overall, though I’ve had to replace struts and wheel bearings. Other than that, just little things (wiper arm, CV boots) and I did timing belt at 105k.

    I was thinking of purchasing a new vehicle and selling the Subie. I’ll be moving to Colorado from Arizona and want to do a lot of driving/exploring through the mountains over the next few years. My concern was longevity and reliability of the Subaru, thinking it may be at the end of its lifespan. Glad I found your site, which is making me reconsider.

    Two questions for you:
    How much more life do you expect I can get from this car? I’d love to feel confident about another 70k or more.

    Also, I am considering adding a tow package and towing a small uhaul trailer for my move, about 1,000 miles. I’ve seen blogs where people use their ’99 OBS to tow. Do you have any advice on towing with these cars?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hello ST,

      That’s a great little Subaru you have, I would like to suggest I would really think twice about parting ways with it and its got a lot of life left at least another 100k if not more. However I just do not think towing with it is a great idea, so if that is something you want and need to do in the future ( which is totally understandable) I would consider other options. Given some issues with later models I would most likely suggest skipping most 2012-2014 models, there are some things like oil consumption that could sneak up on you.

      Hope that helps


      1. Thanks for the reply. I think I’m going to take your advice and keep the Subie! It’s been such a dependable car.

        Just wondering what you would say is the concern with towing. Transmission damage? I’m just trying to decide if I can safely tow the trailer this one time for my move. I’d likely never do it again. But if it’s truly a concern of damaging the car, I’ll figure out another way.


        1. Well as far as damage, the AWD system can suffer from traction loss under load, the cars brakes were never designed to tow a load like that and neither was the suspension.

          I worry much more about the safety of you and other motorists in a Panic situation that may not go well more then I do a transmission issue.


  58. Hi Justin, I’m considering a 2008 Tribeca. 170k miles on it. I test drove, it’s in great shape except that the exhaust is a bit rusty.
    Couple things…
    1. They’re asking $8,900….I feel this is a bit high. At the time of the test drive they had it for $9900, they were willing to let it go for $8200 + t&t, cash. That’s an $1800 drop. Would you recommend trying to get them down further, given the mileage & the exhaust issue?

    2. Buying it at 170k, would you consider this a decent mileage for the age of the car? And if so, taking in good maintenance history – one owner, would you anticipate this car getting the longevity as other Subaru’s weighing in at 300? I guess what I’m trying to ask is aside from the exhaust, would you consider it a good buy ?

    1. Hi Jessica,

      I can’t really get into if the price is fair, I have no idea what the market is like where you live.

      You shouldn’t buy it based on your impressions, you should instead have pre purchase inspection performed locally by a shop that knows Subaru, and let them tell you if the car is worth buying. I understand that is not going to be convenient, but it will save you from a potential headache if the car does not Check Out.

      Hope that helps


  59. Hey Justin!!

    I want to buy a 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX with 121000 miles. It’s a 2.5L 4 cylinder that’s turbocharged. Is there any problems that I can expect coming up in the next 50000 miles? What should I be looking for when I talk to the dealer?

    Thanks much!


    1. Hello Poitra,

      You really need to have a pre purchase inspection done and not rely on what a salesman tells you or what you can see for your self. But for starters has it had the Timing belt replaced it was due at 105k and if so was it just the belt or was it done properly with all of the other driven components.

      Hope that helps


  60. Thinking of buying 2013 crosstrek with 80k miles but I am concerned about the milage for the year of the vehicle and if it will need a new transmission soon. I have heard some funny things about the CVT the fluid levels. Buying from dealer and carafe is clean but not sure how well previous owner treated and took car of vehicle.

    1. Hi Ryan,

      I think what you are trying to say is its difficult to check the fluid level in a CVT, which yes it is.

      There is no way to predict the future, on a CVT but there is no widespread issue with the CVT, there are pockets of issues, just like there is with every single make and model out there.

      Hope that helps


  61. Hi Justin. I know I need to have the car inspected, that said, I am looking 4 basic information. 1998 subaru Forrester and, 4cyl, at, according, full power. 142,000 miles. $2995.00. Does this type of subaru perform well & do I need to worry about hg, rings etc in this model. I am looking @ there car today & would really like your thoughts on it. I am buying it in Az to take to my daughter in Oregon….thx! Plz send an email to my personal email asap. Ty again. Just found your site….love it!

    1. Hello Dawn,

      I am always happy to try and answer questions, just not usually ASAP, and also only in reply to a post here as that would take away from the customers that come to the shop locally. That way a question you have that could be similar to another readers the answer is here for them as well.

      In general a 1998 Forester for $2995.00 with 140k should be just fine.

      The HG can fail internally, but most likely they would have been addressed by now. They are not known for ring problems in that era, but anything is possible.

      Inquire about rear wheel bearings, and of course has the timing belt been done, were the HG done yet etc.

      Hope that helps


  62. I have had Subaru’s for more than 35 years. Current one purchased new 2001, Forrester 350000Km replaced transmission 2015. Serviced every 8000Km. I expect this car to go for 500000Km.One of the best cars you can buy.

  63. Hi Justin,
    I think I know the answer, but here goes. 2003 Outback Ltd 2.5, 180K miles. Subaru replaced the HG at 92K(before sale to 2nd owner), but they are leaking externally again. Not much oil being lost AFAIK, and no coolant mixing yet,but if I am going to keep the car I know it needs to be done as the leak has been growing. In the recent past brakes all around, exhaust from CC back, front axles, tranny fluid exchange has all been done, along with a few minor suspension parts such as tie rod and wheel bearings. AC and water pump were done by previous owner ~145K. Body is clean, interior nice. Shop will replace HG with Fel-Pro MLS for $1600(includes machining heads, plugs, gaskets, seals, belts, oil, and coolant) and also is saying I could use rear shocks and a sway bar for a few hundred more.
    Considering all the work that has been done to the car in the past 50K or so, I am thinking this repair will take me to 200-250K no problem. My only concern is the repair is equal to the value of the car. Any reason I should reconsider? I like the car, but don’t want a money pit either. Thanks.

    1. Hi Warren,

      You just cant think Repair costs VS value of the car. It’s a common misconception, but it’s not an investment, it’s a tool, if the hammer you have works, but needs a new handle for 5 dollars, or you can buy a new hammer for 25, which costs less?

      Lastly, Run do not walk away from any shop using Felpro gaskets on a Japanese car.

      Its not a Chevy. Find a Subaru Specialist that Uses Six Star.


  64. Hi, Justin,

    Thank you so much for giving your expert advice. I have a 2006 Impreza 2.5i with about $87k miles. It has the head gasket issue, although the leak is small. It’s in for an oil change now, and the mechanic just called and told me it has the following issues: brakes are getting low (i think just the rear ones), something wrong with the right inner axel boot, leaking water hose from engine to heater, old tires, and it will need a new timing belt soon. There’s also the beginnings of the rear wheel bearings issue. I trust this mechanic, although he doesn’t specialize in Subarus. He’s hinting that I should consider getting a new car. I’ve been wrestling with this. I’ve gotten two $2600 quotes for the head gasket / timing repair, and I know all the other stuff will add up. I live in LA and commute an hour to work, so it’s hard on the car, and maybe I shouldn’t press my luck. But I love the car, love the 2006 body style, and it’s been paid off for years. (Also, the car is registered in NC, so the insurance is nominal. If I get a new car, it will be 6 times as much.) Should I get all these repairs done and expect to drive the car 80k more miles? Or should I throw in the towel? I know every car is different, but I’d appreciate your opinion. Thank you!

    1. Hi Marcy,

      You are on the right tack and have the proper mind set, keep the car you have, and get as much out of it as you can, the other way is just to expensive.

      But you do need to find a good Subaru Shop to take care of this repair for you, that’s the real key to having this be successful for you.

      Hope that helps


  65. Hello Justin, My 2009 Forester XRT has 30 mpg plus for the first 50 miles or so after filling an empty gas tank then gradually drops to 20 mpg ( computer estimates confirmed with measured consumption). Is this likely an oxygen sensor problem, software problem, mass air meter problem or what? No codes appear.

    1. Hello Bf,

      You can’t measure fuel economy anyway other than miles from a full tank to empty divided by the gallons used to refill the tank.

      There is and never will be an accurate Fuel economy display. I have no idea why its telling you 30 and then 20, buts its most likely neither.

      Now if you are telling me that your overall economy is down 10% or more measured the way I outlined above, I would tell you the front air fuel sensor should be tested as well and more likely the Mass Air flow sensor.

      Hope that helps


  66. Hey Justin
    I’m looking at a 2010 Forester 2.5x Premium manual transition it has 87000km which would be 54 or so miles. Asking $15 000, from a what seems to be a reputable dealership in Ottawa Ontario Canada. I am wondering if this price is fair and what specifics should I ask about the maintenance that has been done or should look into, I am a first time buyer. I was also looking at a $5000 2002 WRX that has some work done to it, but it has 300 000km 187k miles and the timing belt changed at 280km. Sold by a private owner who list all the special mods to the turbo and such. Says it runs fine and should get a lot more use out of it, as long as the fluids are always topped up.

    1. Hi Stan,

      It’s so difficult for me to comment on price unless it seems way out of line. I just don’t really know the market where you live, and the market is what ultimately decides the price.

      I guess your best bet is to research what other similar years and mileage are selling for, if its close have a pre purchase inspection performed and take things from there based on that inspection. Based on the almost 7 years old thing make sure the fluids have been changed, they are due again at 60k and make sure someone tests the PH level in the coolant.

      Hope that helps


  67. Hi Justin,
    I live in Seattle and I drive a 2006 Honda Civic with around 82,000 miles on it. I haven’t had it long but I already want a Subaru so I can take it up to the mountains in the upcoming winter. A mutual friend is selling their 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i (Premium trim I believe). They are also selling it for $8200, about how much I would get for my Civic, which is great and much less than any other 2010-era Outback. Here’s the problem: it has 185,000 miles on it, which means something like 30,000 miles a year for the 6 years the car has lived. It has the CVT, and the inside and outside look in good condition, and they said the timing belt, head gasket, water pump and radiator were replaced at 171,000 at a Subaru dealership. Assuming I get a pre-purchase inspection at a local shop/dealer and it doesn’t have any glaring issues, do you think it is a good deal for their $8200 asking price? I want an AWD car bad but I also don’t want to get stuck with a car that is gonna leave me cashing out on repairs. Also, I plan to keep it for probably around 4-6 years, and drive the usual 8-12k miles a year, and get regular maintenance at a dealer once I purchase it. Thanks!

    1. Hello Davin,

      The thing I would look into besides having a pre purchase inspection is to see if the Torque Convertor has been replaced.

      That can be an issue with the 2010-2011 era Outback with the CVT


  68. Hi Justin,

    Is it possible for time chain to break off or stretch due to use of low octane (regular) gasoline vs. premium? I was advised to change my timing chain because I have used regular gasoline instead of premium which is recommended, causing my timing chain to stretch. The car has just over 100k on it.


    1. Hello Bobo,

      I am not really sure what to say about that, other then it’s a “stretch” to correlate the two without some other factors, it does not mean however the chain is not stretched just that it’s tough to pin that JUST on low octane fuel.

      Lower octane fuel can cause incomplete burn in the cylinders and lead to carbon deposits on the pistons, also fuel dilution, which if the oil is changed say every 3000 miles or so, based on how it’s used, that wouldn’t be to big of a deal.

      If the thought process is the chain stretched due to lack of lubrication, you could point to lower octane fuel being A contributing factor but only if, it was also combined with poor maintenance and driving habits.

      Hope that helps and great question.


  69. Hi Justin!

    2006 Outback 2.5i, 343,000 miles and climbing. used the six star head gaskets distributed by you and have kept up on maintenance and care. thank you for all that you do, this subaru is living its potential as a result. many original parts, have only replaced head gaskets, cylinder heads at 325k, cv axle boots, catalytic converter, o2 sensors, swaybars and swaybar links, rear lateral link bushings, wheel bearings, tie rods and balljoints. car is in very good condition and hardly looks like it has 80k from the outside. she runs very well and will continue to for many more miles.

  70. Hi Justin,

    My wife’s 2012 Forester just hit the 137 mi marker. I am about to flush the radiator. She has it in today having one of the cv joints repaired on the drivers side, and mentioned to the mechanic about a flush. He stated that she should have the belt replaced along with the radiator fluid. It does not have a belt it has a chain. He said it should still be replaced. I am an old shade tree mechanic and never changed a timing chain unless I was rebuilding the engine. What do you say?



    1. Hi Dane,

      The Timing chain does not have a replacement interval and we don’t suggest it as maintenance unless its off for another repair such as resealing the timing chain cover or cam cases.

      Be careful with you flush, don’t install a Flush T, and really a good drain and fill by removing the lower rad hose and thermostat will remove all of the coolant.

      Hope that helps


  71. Justin – I did the updated head gasket repair on my 1998 2.5L Outback due to overheating in 2011 at 202,000 miles, using the kit you provided. The car now has 242,000 miles and runs perfectly. I use Penzoil full synthetic motor oil with your Six Star filters, and Mobile 1 synthetic ATF. I will give you another update at 280,000 or so!

  72. Hi, I am considering buying a 2000 Subura Outback with 221,000 miles on it for my daughter. The current private owner has only had for 2 years & not much information before then. They are asking $1700.00 or best offer. They said runs good, no problems but it is not inspected and does have some rust over rear wheel well. I will definitely have a pre purchase inspection done but am concerned about the high mileage. I know you say these cars can go up to 300,000 miles & at that price if we only got 1-2 years out of it I would be happy. Just concerned about what type of possible repairs/ expenses we could be looking at for this model & mileage.

    1. Hi Cindy,

      For the price the mileage doesn’t scare me but its really about what your expectations are going to be? The car is 16 years old and it will need service work if not now soon.


  73. Hey guys!

    Need an advice on subaru. I’m currently looking at a used 2012 subaru impreza with a 300,000++ miles on it. They are selling at a very good price, $3000. According to the salesman, the car is driven mostly on highways and it’s previously owned by a medical company. But i’m quite hesitant with the deal. How many more miles can a typical impreza last if i were to purchase it? Considering the age of the car, its considered new but its just the high mileage that i’m concerned about.

    1. Hi Zack,

      Yes that’s up there for mileage. I cant really speculate on how much longer it will go before it needs repairs and then go some more, it will most likely need service work in the future. Id start with having a pre purchase inspection performed by someone with Subaru Experience.


  74. Hi Justin

    My husband and I are looking at a used Subaru and I was wondering what your advice is. We are looking at either a 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium with 93K miles, a 2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i sedan with 45K miles, or a 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i sport premium with 63K miles. Do you have any recommendations on which one would be the best for longevity?


    1. Hi Susan,

      It’s going to be different for each car, you really need to pick the one you like the best first and foremost, then have a pre purchase inspection performed.

      Id gravitate towards the 2010 Impreza however, only because the 2010 Outback is a first year of a refresh, as is the 2012 Impreza.

      Hope that helps


  75. Purchased new, I now have 109,000 mi on my 2010 Legacy 2.5 with CVT. There is no way to check trans fluid level and according to the manual it’s not necessary. Also there is no fluid replacement necessary according to maintenance schedule. So, in general, the CVT is not serviceable. I would like to keep the car for another 30,000 mi but not if I’m coming up on a transmission replacement; as I read there are some issues with CVT. Please comment on the CVT longevity and any recommendations Subaru may now have to extend its life.

    1. Hi Ray,

      The fluid is to be inspected every 30k and it’s an involved process to inspect the level, I would have changed it no later then 90k.

      Remember in the Manual I= Inspect, Correct or Replace as nessisary.

      We have replaced a few CVT transmissions. No more or no less then we would have the Prior Gen Auto transmissions going 5- 6 years out from new.

      Hope that helps


  76. Hi i am looking at a subaru impreza sedan with 140,000 year 2012
    for 8,000 how may miles can you get in this engine ?

    1. Hi Ana,

      It all depends on how well it was and will be taken care of, but as a generality they should go 300k and beyond, again if well maintained.


  77. I am looking at a Used 2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i. With the following specs:

    2L SOHC
    Exterior Color : Red Interior Color :
    Mileage : 79,056 Miles

    Is this a good deal? How much longer can this subaru go?

    1. Hi Joel,

      No idea if its a good deal., as afar as how long it will go, it all depends on how well it was and will be taken care of, but as a generality they should go 300k and beyond, again if well maintained..


  78. Thank you Justin for your response on staying with a 2011-2012 at this time for a 4 cylinder. We are only looking at the 4 cylinder so thanks for the heads up.

    However, could you give a little more clarity on the why only the 2011-2012 at this time? I would have a hard time articulating to my wife the way you could.

    She has a friend that said to go to the 2013 because they went from a timing chain not a belt. So now she is all twisted up.


    1. Hello J,

      I have trouble telling anyone to buy a 2013 because of the possibility of buying one that may use oil, there is not a test that could ever be done to know if this might be an issue with the car, only time would tell. So you could buy a car that technically checks out, but uses 2 quarts in between oil changes, have this drive you crazy, or not stay up on it and ruin the engine.

      Now Subaru is going to extend the warranties of these cars, but why buy something with a known issue? Just like I would advise against a Volkswagen Diesel right now

      It’s not often I say stay away from a longer production run, but this is one of those times, I think your okay with a new one, just a lot of risk with a used one without truly knowing if it uses oil.

      There you have it , hope that helps explain it to your wife


  79. I Have a 2013 Crosstrek with the CVT. I live on the East Coast of Canada.
    I use my car for work and I drive daily. I don’t off road, drift or otherwise abuse the car. It has 215,000 km which is about 134,000 miles.
    I am on my third A/C compressor.
    I had to replace my short block. It was a bearing problem not oil consumption.
    I now need to replace the catalytic converter and possibly some fuel sensor (not sure) related to the intermittent check engine light. It goes on and off randomly.
    And the bad news is that the noise coming from the transmission (whining sound) can be fixed by replacing the transmission.
    The CVT is not a serviceable unit.
    The vehicle has been dealer maintained since new.
    This is my third Subaru. (2005 Impreza, 2009 Impreza)
    These were both AT and never a problem with the transmission or the 2.5 litre engine.
    So, is the day of the 300,000 mile Subaru over? Was this a bad model year?

    1. Hi Andrew,

      The Ac thing is somewhat common, but I suspect when the first one failed not all of the debris was cleaned form the system and that’s why it keeps happening.

      The Bearing issue was from lack of lubrication most likely due to low oil levels, the result of extended oil change intervals.

      The Converter thing is less common, and I am somewhat surprised by it. But the car does already have 134000 miles, which is a lot for a 2013.

      The CVT Thing is only becoming an issue as there is confusion created about when to change the fluid, just like there is confusion when to change the oil.

      You mention Dealer serviced, which is why most of this has occurred, they are there to make as much money off of you as possible until it’s time to sell you another car, rinse and repeat, I truly believe if you had a Good Independent Subaru Shop service the Crosstrek you would have a much different outlook on the car.

      Sorry you have had as much trouble as you have had


  80. Justin,

    My wife wants a Subaru Outback. We don’t really have a preference on the year or how many miles are on the car. We are looking to spend between $10k – $20k.

    If you were looking to buy a used Outback in this range…..What year would you suggest and how many miles on the car would you feel comfortable with?

    Thanks so much!

    1. I would look for a 2010 up – Outback H6 if you can find one.

      take 15000 x how many years old the car is and that should give you an idea of the mileage range you want to try and stay under.

      If you are looking for a 4 cylinder Id look at the 2011-2012 only at this time.

      Hope that helps


  81. What other substitute engines can I use for my 06′ Subaru Tribeca? My current engine is having issues, and I don’t want to give up on the car. Thanks

    1. Hi Matt,

      There is no other engine you can use for the Tribeca. Just a Short block form Subaru, having the heads inspected and rebuilt as needed, replacing the timing chains, guides and tensioners etc.

      That’s what we do here when one fails

      Hope that helps


  82. Hi Justin,

    I would like to buy a new 2016 Subaru and I understand that all 4 wheel drives come with the CVT. In doing research on this type of transmission, I understand that they only last for less than a 100,000 miles. I usually drive my Subaru for at least 200,000 miles. I feel like Subaru is letting us down by using a transmission that will only last that long. What do you think?

  83. Hi Justin,
    I’m in the process of making my final decision on a new 2016 Outback. My dilemma is that I wonder if I should spend the extra money for the 3.6 vs the 2.5. Is the 3.6 also subject to HG issues? I expect to be driving this vehicle for the next 12-15 years so the vehicle will definitely have regular maintenance either way. I live in western Quebec and will be driving this car to a cabin which will demands 60km of rough dirt road each way at probably a dozen times per year. Of course, I’m not in a race when I go there as the car might be loaded with 2-3 passengers each trip. The bulk of heavy stuff is brought with a 3/4T truck and trailer. Other than that, the car will be used for road trips long distance with just 2 of us in the car and bicycles on the hitch rack. I drove transports for a number of years and used to going slow but steady. What would you recommend for engine?

    1. Hi Ben,

      Based on the FB engines I have torn apart, I just don’t see a widespread Head gasket issue around the corner.

      I drive the 3.6l, because that’s what I like, buy what you prefer. I am an over the Mountain Pass kind of a guy, and I have a Kayak, that’s why I chose the 3.6l, its also inherently smoother and has the power I want.

      I would not hesitate to by the 2.5l in the 2016 if I didn’t have the need and desire for more power.

      Hope that helps


  84. Hi Justin,

    My son bought a 2007 Subaru Impreza Special Edition Sedan with 150,000 km for $7000 Canadian. We had it inspected by an independent mechanic that reported that the head gasket was sweating. We were not too concerned because we were told this was not a leak. However, after the first week we noticed oil drops in the garage floor. We took it to a Subaru dealer that confirmed that there is a small leak from the head gasket. We were told to monitor it and that, eventually, we would need to have it fixed. The job will cost us about CAD$ 1,800. Other than this issue the car is in great shape. Under the purchase agreement we have 30 days to return the car, no questions asked. Do you think it would be worthwhile to keep it or should we return it?

    1. Hi Mary,

      Without seeing the car its tough to say how the rest of the car checks out. If its just the head gasket it wouldn’t make sense to take it back. But Id plan on the timing belt and components as well.


  85. Hello Justin, sorry to ask a question that has been asked before. We just bought a 2015 Forester and I totally love driving it but it is primarily my girlfriends so I want my own Sube! I am looking at the older version of the Outback that are more like a station wagon than an SUV, I believe that means 2009 or older, correct? So I think my search is for a 2005-09? I feel that the cars a run harder in Canada so I am concerned about longevity.

    Is there any change in the non-turbo 4 cyl between 2005 and 2009? I am trying to keep the mileage below 200,000 km, I will be putting about 10,000 km on a year.

    Any suggestions as to what to look for?

    1. Hello Lorne,

      If you can find a 2005 Outback that does not have the AVCS system, I think that will hold up better over the long run, it came out mid year 2005 and it kind of makes the engines a little more fragile in my opinion.

      There are some advantages to the 2008 and 2009 however such as better audio systems, better interior materials and slightly more efficient engines.

      There isn’t any I would tell you to absolutely avoid, and its quite possible that any of them could develop a oil leak from the HG.

      Hope that helps!


  86. Hello, I own a 2004 Impreza wagon with about 167,000 miles. I’m the original owner and have had the car for over 12 years. It is my only car, and I now drive about 15,000 miles a year with work and road trips.

    I’ve had a lot of work done on the car in the past few years, but I keep a spreadsheet and my costs even with a few fairly high bills (the worst was $4000–including head gasket work) are still lower than getting a new car. Every year I keep debating whether this is the year to get a new car, but then I’ll get new tires and figure I should use them so what’s another 3 years? No one in my family has kept a car with mileage as high as mine and are getting on me to buy a new one “for safety.”

    I was thinking maybe next year I’d get a new car, another Subaru, but I’m thinking mine still has plenty of life left in it. Plus, I like that my controls are no frills and simple. I wouldn’t know what to do with all the gadgets in the new models I’ve looked at. My question, if there is one, is how much longer could I reasonably keep this car being that I use it for commuting and, well, everything? I know that it will need another timing belt replacement at the 200,000 mark, but how long can the transmission go?

    1. Hello Angela,

      The transmission should easily go 250k to 300k or even longer (this assumes good maintenance) of course.

      Great job on keeping track!


  87. Thank you Justin for this awesome resource!
    I am looking to buy a beautiful blue 2008 WRX wagon with auto. It has professionally installed COBB components and has 136K miles. would it be a good purchase?
    kind regards

    1. Hello Vini,

      It should be a good purchase, but you still need to have a pre purchase inspection performed to make the the car itself checks out okay.

      The 2008/2009 Hatches are one of my favorites.


  88. Hi,
    I’m from Europe (Spain), the reason for me to ask advice so far away from home is because here Subaru’s are not very popular cars.
    I’m looking at a 2005 Outback h6 with 92000 miles. There isn’t much information about this engine so that makes me think it’s a pretty reliable car the only thing that holds me back from buying the car is the automatic transmission

    1. I would tell you to have a pre purchase inspection performed by a good Independent Subaru shop. A 2009 Forester is a great option, but not everyone will be the same and you want to make sure the car you have in mind is a good car not a theory.


  89. Hi Justin!

    I am moving to Salt Lake City with my wife here in January and well be traveling from Ohio. We are recent college grads without a lot of cash and want to purchase an AWD drive car, (at least I do ha), and I saw recently a Subaru for sale by a private party. It is a 2002 model with a V6 engine and he has put about 4000 grand into it, and even replaced the bottom rack because it was a northeast car for a few years and got some rust. It has 191,000 miles on it but overall good shape and doesn’t have any body issues etc. I am a first time car buyer and want something that will be reliable and last for a few years while we get situated in our new home in the mountains of Utah. Ill be traveling up to the resorts for work from the valley so some good highway driving will be done. Any thoughts? He said the only issue that may arise in time but not soon would be the muffler. Just might need replaced. Would love to know your thoughts! Oh and he wants to sell for 2800-3000. Which is really good for a college grad in student loan debt!


  90. Hi

    I’m thinking of buying a 1995 Subaru Impreza – Series McRae

    It’s been well looked after and very tidy for its age.

    My concern, as with all the rest is it has 132k miles on the clock. If I bought the car it would only be a second car / weekend car. I’d estimate 3k max miles a year

    What’s your views on this please



    1. Hi Gary,

      I think that a 1995 Impreza is a great car, however that’s a generic statement, the car in question is what matters and the only way you will know if its a good car to buy is to have it inspected by a Subaru shop prior to buying it, so you know if it has any pending issues.


  91. 5 Years ago purchased a 2000 Subaru Outback. It now has 170,000 miles on it. My husband and I had new struts and clutch installed during those 5 years. I don’t remember any maintenance besides the normal oil changes, etc and I believe an oil gasket under $10. I don’t know about the maintenance before we purchased it, but we have kept the oil changes up and regular inspections, etc. My husband passed away about 8 months ago and during that time I did accidentally let the oil go down. I didn’t know that it was using oil. You have to add a couple quarts in between oil changes. At this time the sway bar linkages are broken (a $120 fix), but we just found out the bearings are bad in the transmission. They are trying to do the best they can to help me (just had our 2001 Forester – we purchased one year ago- in the shop – a Ujoint broke and destroyed the drive shaft and transmission) I don’t relish the thought of having to go used car shopping. I would only be able to go for another Subaru about the same year – possibly just buying other person’s problems and not saving. I do have the choice of selling our 2007 Prius and the Outback and hoping for a 2007 -2009 Outback – but the Prius has never had a problem and has 180,000 miles. I guess my biggest question is what kind of things should I look for or ask the mechanic about before I would spend a good deal of money on a rebuilt transmission (or repair if that turns out to be possible) – to make sure I’m not just going to face a long road of more expenses. What would make you give up on spending large repairs for a car this age – and risk more of the same with another?

    1. PS. I forgot to mention I can’t keep the Prius alone. The Forester is my son’s for college and I need an AWD because I live at 9000 feet in the Rockies. My thought process was with the two cars (Prius and Outback) I might be able to make it 6 years or so and then buy a 3 year old Subaru with low miles a few years before I retire. I drive 110 miles round trip everyday and drive the Prius for gas mileage and the Outback for snow road days. I truly do wish I could ask my husband for advice. Any information for me to go to the mechanics with would be a big help, along with any comments about typical quality of that year / age Subaru, and whether I need to worry about the oil going very low a couple times.

    2. Hi Sherri,

      Assuming its a manual transmission replacing the bearings in the transmission is somewhat common, and very straight forward for a shop like ours. So if its at a Subaru shop it should be a no brainer for them to make those repairs. I wouldn’t give up on the car but I do understand that you are in a different spot having lost your Husband. The best advice I have is make sure your relationship with the shop is good and that they are very comfortable with the cars you own.

      At some point the Toyota is going to need some work as well, so I would also plan for that in the future.

      If you want to down size to one car I think I would look at a 2011 Outback if at all possible. a 2007 to 2009 while good cars are not that much different then your 2000 and not really worth the risk. A 2011 will get much better fuel economy and have really shown to be good cars. Just make sure what ever you do if you buy a used car that you have it inspected by someone who really knows Subaru before you make any purchase.

      Hope that helps


  92. I have as a company provided vehicle a 2013 Outback 3.6 Unlimited with 197,000 miles and going strong. I change the oil every 5k miles and opt for a major service every 50k miles. It’s never had brake shoes fitted, and at the 150k mile service insisted they put new pads and turn the rotors. Unbelievably, the dealer where I service it said they just couldn’t justify the cost since it still had over 40% pad life left. I tow on occasion a trailer with quads or a Rzr and quad at the limits of the Outback without a problem, and that includes some steep grades to Flagstaff. This car has never had one mechanical issue and does not use more than 1 quart in between changes, which it has done since new and is within Subarus specs. I will be fitting my 5th the pair of tires soon and do not rotate in between changes. I always experience even wear and use the car off road probably more than average. I’ve been running Yokohama Geolander AT/S all terrains since the originals were replaced after 50k miles. There is no cupping or uneven wear. I will be getting my 2016 Outback early next year and hope that it serves me as well as this one.

  93. Justin,

    Love the honesty of your answers. I also appreciate seeing a post that doesn’t just slander or put Subarus on a pedestal. The black and white opinions you find online is utterly astounding. If you want to find out what problems you’ll face, all you’ll find are problems – if you want to find what the benefits are, all you’ll hear is praise.

    With that being said:

    I’m in Arkansas, driving around an ’02 Ford P.O.S. Exploder that is like a beloved family member fighting off their second round of terminal cancer – I keep fighting for her to live, but she just wants to die. I previously owned an ’02 Outback, but the dealership that sold it to me didn’t tell me that it had a failing ‘O-Ring’ in the oil pan and the thing seized up like a deer in headlights and died just as miserably.

    However, in the almost two years I drove the thing I became addicted. I am now looking at purchasing my second Outback, but am hesitant. I love pretty women, but without taking her on a number of dates…well…I just don’t want to get hurt again.

    I’m afraid of commitment, Justin. And it doesn’t help that this particular dame has been around the block (no pun intended).

    2006 Subaru Legacy Outback XT Limited Turbo, 2.5L, 4 cylinder with approx. 160,000 miles on it. Since it’s purchase the girl has been through 5 owners, and I would be the 6th. At one point she was put up in an auction. Her body is fit, though – let me tell you! Dark black skin with curves like an angel; and those dual moon-roofs give her that sexy librarian look, you know?

    The CARFAX I pulled up shows avid maintainence, especially from the second owner who had oil changed regularly at an authorized Subaru dealership. The 4th owner did the same thing.

    My concern is with the turbo and the head gaskets (as per usual). The current owner just buys and flips cars and has no idea. The report indicates nothing that would allude to so much as a timing belt replacement, which also tells me that the HGs may not have been inspected. The current owner does say that the turbo still has solid pick up and should be fine, but if previous owners hadn’t been aware of the “banjo bolt screen” could there still be potential turbo failure? Or does the fact that it’s made it to 160,000 miles without head gasket and turbo maintenance/replacement bode well for the car?

    I want her, but I don’t want another broken woman. My heart can’t handle being another Subarus white knight, Justin.

    I talked the owner down to $6,800 and told him that I wouldn’t give him a penny until I had it properly inspected. But could an inspection come up negative and then 6 months down the road she could have another episode? Is this a car I can bring home to meet the parents?


    The most unnecessarily detailed commenter you’ve had thus far.

    1. Hey Trand,

      Love the post.

      So the turbo models don’t have to have a HG issue, many never do. They use a MLS gasket from the factory and they do hold up well to the lower compression found in he turbo engines.

      To the Turbo, the 2005 Outback that was my wife’s car until we sold it to a customer, has more mileage on it then the one in question and has never had a turbo replaced. I of course changed the oil every 3000 miles, and inspected the oil feed line filters, (also known as union screws) every 60k.

      If you have purchased the car, I would have the feed line filter@ the turbo inspected and or replaced, as well as someone removing the down pipe and inspecting the turbo shaft play. If there is no record of the timing belt being done, thats a priority as well.

      Sorry for the delay in responding, I was away on vacation.

      Hope that helps


  94. Hey there Justin, I cant tell you how helpful your expertise has been in my search for my first car.
    So I’m looking at a used 2011 Outback 3.6R limited for 18,000 but it has 93k miles on it. Looks like a pretty GD impressive machine and it seems like it has been well maintained, and its being sold by an authorized Toyota dealership not a independent dealer. Any wisdom you could send me on this car? How do these tend to hold up? should I be concerned about the high mileage, especially with a big performance engine like this? and do you think its a decent deal?

    John Moran

    1. Hello John,

      I love my 2012 3.6l so as long as the car checks out it should really serve you well. The key here is to have it inspected by a Subaru shop prior to buying it.

      Hope that helps


  95. Justin, always have been a fan of the outbacks and have found a 2008 manual with 105,000 miles for $8,000. From what I’ve seen seems to be a pretty decent deal in my area. What maintenance issues should I look out for. Just skeptical to purchase a vehicle with that high of miles and expect to put another 90,000 miles in the next 5 years. How many miles should I expect outbacks to last?

    1. Hello Matt,

      Sounds like a decent deal but the car really needs to be inspected prior to you buying it.

      It’s due now for a timing belt service and someone needs to check the HG for external leaks. That’s the common thing.


  96. Hi Justin,
    I’m looking to trade in my 2009 camry with 85k miles for a 2014 subaru impreza or a 2009 impreza with 56k miles (they want 15,999 for it..I would def talk them down). I am leaning toward the 2009 subaru so I can just pay it off and call it a day! buuut my parents think it’s a better idea to buy it new instead. Do you think it would still be worth it to buy the 2009 if it was in great shape?


    1. Hello Taylor,

      Usually good advice is to buy the latest model with the lowest miles you can find when looking for used. There is an enormous difference in fuel economy between the 2009 and 2014 models I would be hard pressed to not suggest you strongly consider the 2014, but really you should drive both (and for longer then 10 minutes) and buy which ever suits you the best.

      That’s my advice coupled with any used car needs to have an independent inspection performed by someone who really knows Subaru prior to you buying it.

      Hope that helps


  97. Hi there – I just bought a 2009 Outback with 130K. My son totalled his Honda Civic and he was communting to college everyday and we made the mistake of being in a hurry and not having a pre-purchase inspection. it is super clean, high end model and seems to run extremly well. Anything we should have checked or be looking out for at this point?

    1. Hello Tammy,

      It needs to have a complete inspection done by someone familiar with Subaru prior to really trusting it to take care of your son in his commute. The common things for that model would be wheel bearings, and a possible oil leak from the head gaskets.


  98. Hi Justin-
    I am thinking about purchasing a 1997 suburu outback with 150000 miles. It’s in great condition and the only thing that doesn’t work is the air conditioning. They are asking $3200. What’s your opinion?

  99. Hi Justin
    My 2004 Subaru forrester has done 193,000 km
    I bought it brand new and it has been great
    My mechanic said from 200,000 it will start costing me money
    And I should consider getting rid of it
    I have had it serviced every 10,000 km since purchased
    What do you think?
    Thanks Jennie

    1. Hello Jennie,

      I don’t really agree, if the car has been inspected and it needs a lot of work and you don’t like it maybe it’s time to move on based on facts from the inspection and it no longer suiting your needs, but there is no blanket statement stating the at 200k it’s time to move on that I can accept.


      1. Hi Justin.
        I have Subaru Impreza 2008 with 180.000 miles. Sometimes the lights Check Engine show up but disappear to the next day. Last time when show up I went to a place and they said it was nothing and they turn off the lights. So I need to worry? Maybe is to many miles already? Thank you!

  100. Hi Justin,
    I like the Subaru Tribeca 2006 base 7( has around 127 000 miles)for $10500. Does it have a bad gasket? How many more miles it could have?
    It is from a dealership, its 1 owner certified but its sold as is-no warranty

    Thank you


    1. Hello Doben,

      The Tribeca is a good solid vehicle, I have no idea if it has a bad gasket, or how many more miles it may have left in it, that’s why you need to have any used vehicle you consider purchasing inspected by someone who is familiar with the rand local to you before buying anything.


  101. Hi Justin,
    I currently drive a 98 impreza with roughly 273k miles and I’ve had virtually no problems, just some replacements due to rust. I am looking into getting a new car as I travel an hour to school everyday. I’m looking at a 06 tr wrx with about 171k miles. I’ve heard there could be problems with the engine as this is a lot of miles for a turbo’d car, along with the known problems with the head gaskets around this year of car. I don’t want to buy it and then have to start replacing things and getting stuff rebuilt, what are your thoughts on this?

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I would start by telling you that the 1998 Impreza was one of the best cars Subaru ever built, so you will be hard pressed to replace it.

      Next any Used Subaru you consider needs to be inspected prior to you buying it, that way you know where you stand with it and have a general idea of what to expect. Make sure this inspection is done by a Subaru shop as well.

      Yes 171k is up there for a Turbo charged car, you can’t really expect 300k out of a Turbo engine, some make it but it’s the exception not the rule.


  102. Hi Justin,

    I have a 2008 Outback Base, 5-speed manual with 107,000 miles. All maintenance have been done accordingly including a recent timing belt, water pump, tensioner, idlers and seals at 105,000. I am the only driver and very gentle with the car. And I love this car for its simplicity and reliablity. I am anticipating next big ticket item may be the clutch. In general I understand clutches last about 140-160K miles. what’s been your experience with the clutch longevity and what is you general price for the clutch and related component replacment?



    1. Hello Fskchun,

      Clutches are all over the map in terms of longevity, we have customers replace them at 300,000 and others at 30,000. The average is around 150,000 but again its going to be different for each driver based on use.

      Prices are best left to who is performing the service. But will range anywhere from $1000 to $2000 depending on who, where and what.


  103. Hi Justin
    I am close to buying a 2004 Subaru Forester and has 200 thousand miles. Single owner and he has changed the engine at 140 thousand miles. Breaks and pads and other repairs have to be done and it will cost me at least $3000. I am going to buy it for $2300. Will it run for another 100 thousand miles if i get it repaired and take care of it regularly. I love the car. No frills but as I petite it has perfect view from all sides. Look forward to your reply.

    1. Hi Radha,

      I would like to think so but without seeing the car its tough to say. I am also not sure what repairs it needs?

      Generally speaking if the car is solid it should make it to the 300k range.


  104. Hey Justin,

    I’m looking at a 2004 Outback with 180,000. It’s a private party and I was told that it’s mostly highway driving. It’s the original owner and regular maintenence was done to the car. The HG were replaced as a precaution somewhere in the car’s history. They are asking $5,200. What’s your take on this?

    1. Hi David,

      I would say that based on what you have posted that car is worth considering. I still caution you need to have a prepurchase inspection performed however. I think the price for a 2004 that has had the HG repairs done is fair provided the car checks out. This can sometimes be tough to do with a private party sale but I think it is really important.

      Hope that helps


  105. Justin,
    A few months ago I visited a dealership to buy a new Subaru. I had decided on the Impreza Hatchback. The salesman kept showing me used cars and then finally when I got him to show me a new car he talked me out of it. He said the the noise from the CVT engine was really LOUD.

    I left confused. After researching CVT online — I am still confused.

    Subaru — handles well in north Idaho, they are dependable, under warranty and hold their value — all appeal to this single mom trying to make a wise purchase, but knows nothing about buying a new car.

    I read that the CVT is very costly after warranty and if by chance something goes wrong with it prior to the end of the warranty then it has to be sent off to be worked on.

    Is it worth buying new or should I look for a later model with low mileage and without a CVT?

    Thank you for any advice that you may have

    1. Hi Sydney,

      That sucks, and he should be fired.

      Here is the truth, a salesman makes almost no money selling you a new car. This is what the internet did to the new car sales division of a franchised Auto Dealership. Instead the Salesmen (who is paid on commission) makes much more money when he sells you a used car they stole form someone else on trade.

      If you have ever driven by a new car dealership selling Ford’s for example and wondered why a used Camaro or Jeep was proudly on display on the front line by the main road, wonder no more as that’s the money car.


  106. Good Morning!
    I was wondering about your opinion on the 2008 Tribeca. My 2001 Honda van is slowly sucking my bank account dry (it has 110,000 miles on it) There is a local deal with a 2008 Tribeca with 89,000 miles on it available. They are asking 16,900.00 and I am wondering if it is worth it?
    Thanks for your input

    1. Hi Julie,

      I really like the 2008 Tribeca with the 3.6l, comfortable, safe stable and relatively low ownership costs for a 6 cylinder AWD vehicle. Any car you consider needs to be inspected before you buy it however.


  107. Hey, Justin.
    I’m researching more of a winter-proof car than my current saturn for a move to Bend, OR. I’ve had 2 subarus that I loved and have a handle on a 2007 impreza with 160,000. I know the current (and only) owner who’s taken impeccable care of it. I know I should still get a pre-purchase inspection but wonder how to find someone good in this area (southern Utah). Given what you wrote above about incompetent/dishonest techs, is it better to go with a general mechanic I know and trust who doesn’t necessarily know much about subarus or with the dealer?

    Thanks for any feedback.

    1. Hi Mark,

      I would ask other Subaru owners in your area where they go for service. This could be done either online through one of many Subaru owners Forums or locally by striking up a conversation with someone at a gas station, store etc.


  108. I’m thinking of purchasing a 1998 Impreza wagon with 201000. The owner has meticulous records and changes the oil frequently. He installed a new radiator recently as well but had the AC go out last week and the car needs a new steering rack boot and a alignment. Does anything stick out to you that would make you not purchase it? Is it a good buy for a college student? I negociated it down from $1500 to $1100 because of the AC and honestly I can live without it.

    1. Hello Jonathan,

      $1100 isn’t much to pay for a car these days, I cant really say if that car is a buy at that price but I think you could do much worse.


  109. Hi im looking in buying Subaru Forester. its 2002 and has 228k miles on it. it says that water pump need to be there other stuff that need to be replaced with that like timing belt…? is that complicated and expensive or can be done by myself? what you can say about the mileage is that a lot for Subaru or can go lot more? Thx

    1. Hello Mile,

      228k on a Subaru still indicates it has life left, but a lot of that depends on the life it has had. Replacing a timing belt and waterpump on a Subaru is not any more or any less difficult than most Japanese imports.


  110. Hi!

    I recently purchased a 2009 2.5 subaru legacy with 117.000 miles on it. It appears to have a clean service record per carfax with 32 service records with oil changes and basic maintenance. Just before sale they replaced the water pump, Timing belt, thermostat, and rear wheel bearing. I was told the head gasket problem was fixed by 2009. Is this true? do you feel I can get up to 200,00 miles on this car with scheduled maintenance? I just need to get 80000 more miles out of it to get the kid through college! it is a beautiful car.


    1. Hi Dave,

      There is just no black and white answer I can give to “did Subaru fix the HG thing”, the 2009 uses the exact same gasket used in production and service since 2002.

      Yes it can and will get to 300k if you treat it right, it’s possible the HG could leak oil between now and then, but a oil leak is not the kiss of death to a car, its just an expense on the way to 300k.


  111. I found your site doing some research on my wife’s ’98 Outback. Its got 116k miles, but recently developed an oil leak. Turns out that leak is from bad crank shaft seals (according to our mechanic). To repair it will cost us about $2k. Otherwise the car is in reasonable shape for a 14 year old car that’s lived through two children and two dogs.

    So my question, if you would not mind me asking, is it worth fixing? Will the Outback last to 200k miles, or more? I know you can’t give a definitive answer sight unseen, but any guidance would be appreciated.


  112. Hi Justin,

    As many posters have said, great site!

    I just bought a 2006 Tribeca with 80K miles. So far I love the car. My questions is, does the Tribeca have the head gasket problems the 2.5 engine does? Also, does this vehicle have a timing chaing or belt? I can’t find anything that says when I should change the timing chain/belt.


    1. Hello John,

      We don’t often make HG replacement repairs to the H6 and if we do its generally past the 150k mark. Your 3.0l H6 has a timing chain.

      The only 6 cylinders Subaru ever made that used a belt was the 2.7l in the 80’s XT model and the 3.3l SVX in the nineties.


  113. Hi Justin,
    We are looking to replace our 2003 Honda Pilot (208K)with something a little newer. We have been looking at the Outback, Imprezia Hatchback and the Forrester from 2011 to 2013. We need cargo space, would love better mpg and cheaper to insure, the Outback is all of that but the CVT is worrisome to my husband. I know I’ll be giving up cargo space with the Imprezia but it fits a good price range and has a lot of the creature comforts I was looking for. Kind of on the fence about the Forrester, I like the style but I thought it would have more cargo space than the Outback. Any suggestion on which model would be best? We live in Ohio, smack in the middle of Cleveland and Columbus so we have a great number of dealerships to choose from. I read the previous comments and see you keep telling people to have someone inspect the car that knows a Subaru, if it is a certified Subaru is it safer to assume that it is the better choice to buy?


    1. Hello Rhoda,

      I wouldn’t worry about the longevity of the CVT, only that it doesn’t appeal to everyone in terms of how it performs.

      I always suggest what you enjoy the most, what fits you best as its going to be you that needs to enjoy it for years to come. I am a Outback H6 kind of a guy unless the bring back the Turbo, but that’s mostly because I like more power, but many more care about the improved fuel economy of the 2.5l CVT.

      A “Certified Subaru” means this; A Dealer used car Technician, one that may not actually ever work on Subaru’s may have pencil whipped an inspection. I left a long time job as a “generalist” to become a used car Technician for a Subaru/Nissan Dealership a long, long time ago, the program that was in place then is the same one that’s in place now.

      A Used Subaru will have an inspection, safety items resolved, major leaks corrected, bulbs, brakes and tires done as needed, and that’s really about it. If this is done by a lazy Tech that doesn’t like to do anything difficult, he or she may in fact clean up a leak instead of having to do the work, or risk losing out on a “gravy brake job” if repairing the HG leak for example make the car to expensive for the Dealer to keep, so they Wholesale it out to a used car lot.

      There were 4 used car techs at the Dealership I started with, I was the only one that was consistently honest about what was needed and as a result the used car manager hated me as they constantly had to wholesale cars out or spend more money cutting into profits to “recondition” the cars. I ended up moving to the Subaru line. The used car manager was eventually fired as the reputation for selling junk caught up and he moved on. This is a cycle at every Dealership, always has been always will be.

      It’s this experience as well as others from industry peers that drives the “don’t buy it unless someone Independent and knowledgeable about the car inspects it first” advice. It’s not just about trust, its about understanding the dollars and sense of this industry and giving you advice on how to best circumvent the pitfalls.

      Hope that helps.


  114. I am looking at a 2002 legacy wagon being sold by a mechanic. He has put in a used engine, new timing belt, brakes, water pump, and new tires. It has 162k miles and he wants $4995 for it. Should I have hesitation? Interior and paint look good.

  115. I am looking into buying a 2004 subaru impreza 2.5 rs, it has 262 kilometers or about 163 miles. I was just wondering if the 2.5 has anything more than the headgaskets, also how would I know forsure if they were changed out. buying from a private sale and the owner tells me they have been changed but how would i know forsure? any kind of information would be helpful

    1. Hello Sebastian,

      The head gaskets cant be seen, and I am not sure how the untrained eye identifies new vs old? It really takes a while for a tech to get good at looking for signs of replacement or cover up.

      Other than HG, generally speaking the 2004 Impreza is pretty solid, but its always about that car not the general expectation the car should be solid. Why not pay for a professional pre purchase inspection?


  116. We own a 2003 Subaru Forester that is overheating. We were told that it needs new head gaskets and that a rod is loose and that it basically needs an engine overhaul for around $300O+. It has 150,000 miles on it. My husband wants to get rid of it and get a 2014 Forester. Since they are newly redesigned, do you think they are going to be a good, reliable choice?

    1. Hi Jane,

      I believe that no car produced currently will be trouble free, there are many news stories including recent surveys show on average 133 problems per 100 cars.

      It’s across most brands. The new fuel economy standards coupled with stricter emissions laws are the causes for this.

      If you are in the market for a new car Id tell you the 2014 Forester should be just fine, but please don’t be fooled into thinking its or any other car is going 300k without money spent on repairs.


  117. Hey,
    I’m about to buy a 1995 Impreza and haven’t ever bought my own car before, so I’m naturally facing some concerns. It’s at 144k and they’re asking 2,000 but will go lower. (I’m thinking 1300?) It’s a pretty old car and does have a lot of miles, but there are new brakes and a new muffler, with no issues and is in great condition. No stains on the interior, but little rust on the outside… what do you think of this? What are things that I should consider before going through with this?

    1. Hi Kelsey,

      So generally speaking a 1995 Subaru Impreza with 144k still has a lot of life left. Its really one of the better Subaru’s built, having said that and especially because its your first car you need to find some one to inspect it for you, that last thing you want is to buy something that’s in need of a lot of work and not know about it.


  118. Hello, I am thinking about purchasing a 2005 outback 2.5i limited for about ten grand with 90,000 miles on it. Would this be a good purchase? I’m extremely weary about the head gaskets. What should I look out for upon inspection of this car. Any input would help thanks!

    1. I wouldn’t buy a house without having an expert inspect it, and you shouldn’t buy a Subaru with out someone who knows Subaru inspect it and either put your mind at ease or tell you to run.

      If you want to know what you need to look at however, you need to raise the car up, remove the splash pan and look at the underside of the engine for signs of fluids, now you need to also be a detective, because if the engine was cleaned there may not be any obvious signs of leakage and only a skilled Subaru tech will be able to really figure out if there is a leak pending because he or she knows just where to look and what they are looking for.

      And that is just to look for a possible external fluid leak from the HG, there are many more systems on the car that need to be inspected.


  119. Dear Justin,
    You have a great site here.

    Many people are experiencing oil burn on there brand new 2013 Subaru Outback. All is here:

    I posted following response:
    I can say with certainty that for a brand new car oil consumption is NOT okay AT ALL!!!

    It means bad compression, bad compression – oil is being burned and thats how it disappears.

    I have bought a brand new outback 2013 with manual transmission and by now I drove 11,000 miles and never! Never experienced that problem. But after reading this thread it makes me worried that subaru will accept and allow something like this to happen.

    Again it is not okay. Its a serious problem for a brand new car. And should be addressed right the way.

    Should I get rid of my car now?(

    Its bad really bad

    What do you think about all of this?

    What should I do?
    Is it just a sabotage to stop people from buying new Subaru cars or what?
    I honestly do not think it is okay for a brand new car to consume quarter of oil every 1000 miles. You will agree with me.

    Thank you again,


    1. Hi Alexander,

      So I realize you are upset but here is where things seems to get confusing for many. Your pistons have compression rings and oil control rings, it’s possible for the compression rings to be in great shape and the engine to have great compression but the oil control rings to have never seated correctly, to have over heated, to be broken, to be worn, to have been set incorrectly and the list goes on with out the compression numbers ever being affected. So the statement about it being related to compression is inaccurate. The oil being burned is because more oil is entering the combustion chamber than normal, the reasons this can be occurring is vast and with out a diagnoses which would include removing the engine and tearing it down and taking measurements against specs no one knows the cause, no one. No car company none, will ever do this service until there has been clear documentation it needs to be done, this prevents the Dealer service department for doing work that does not need to be done only to charge the Manufacture, and it prevents the Manufacture from paying for work that wasn’t “proved” to be in need of completing. It’s a checks and balance system that does not allow for great customer service it’s a game of poker between two corporations.

      What I have tried to convey and no one listens to, is the industry standard is about 1 quart every 1000 miles as being an acceptable amount of consumption. the thought process typically is as the vehicle ages tolerances become larger and that can allow for greater oil use, now when a new car uses oil that rule does not apply its now situation where you the owner have work to do.

      Possibilities are;

      There is a mechanical defect
      The engine is not broken in yet
      The way you use this car will result in higher oil use than the guy sitting next to you, in much the same way that fuel use varies.

      The first scenario is a situation where a warranty repair should be made the others not.

      You own a Subaru and I write about Subaru Repair so here we are talking about Subaru, but here is the other point no one listens to, this is not just a Subaru thing.

      In our Quest to make the Dirty little internal combustion engine cleaner and more efficient it has now become less reliable, I finally read an article about this in response to the number of problems in new cars being on the rise in a recent survey.

      So again you and I are here talking about Subaru but please use caution, as in your quest to find the perfect new car you may end up with something worse.

      I get that you don’t want to add oil and its quite possible there is an issue that will need to be resolved, and hopefully under warranty, but its also possible it gets better or stays the same and runs for 300k needing oil in between oil changes. 0W oil was nessisary to improve fuel economy, but if economy did not have to reach levels never really achieved before in a rather short time it would not be used.

      I cant advise you to get rid of a car because it uses some oil, I would not give that advise to someone with a 20 year old car I would say keep up on it, I cannot give that advice to someone with a new car that uses some oil I will say keep up on it with the caveat in hopes a situation presents itself.


  120. Dear Justin,
    You have a great site here.

    Many people are experiencing oil burn on there brand new 2013 Subaru Outback. All is here:

    I posted following response:
    I can say with certainty that for a brand new car oil consumption is NOT okay AT ALL!!!

    It means bad compression, bad compression – oil is being burned and thats how it disappears.

    I have bought a brand new outback 2013 with manual transmission and by now I drove 11,000 miles and never! Never experienced that problem. But after reading this thread it makes me worried that subaru will accept and allow something like this to happen.

    Again it is not okay. Its a serious problem for a brand new car. And should be addressed right the way.

    Should I get rid of my car now?(

    Its bad really bad

    What do you think about all of this?

    What should I do?
    Is it just a sabotage to stop people on buying new Subaru cars or what?
    I honestly do not think it is okay for a brand new car to consume quarter of oil every 1000 miles. You will agree with me.

    Thank you again,


  121. What a great resource, thank you!
    I am looking at a 1999 Subaru Forester with 197k miles. They are asking $3000, but I am wondering if the car is worth that, with such high mileage? The gaskets were done two summers ago, along with some other repairs. The car just passed a seller’s inspection, with the only warning being for possible rear brake work in the distant future (6ish months was the prediction). Other than that, it was given a clean bill of health.
    It looks new! Thoughts on pricing/what to look for? Thank you much

    1. The price seems fair if the car is in decent shape.

      Finding one for $2000 that drives away needing $1000 in repairs isn’t really a better deal.

      With out seeing the car I just don’t know if its a good deal or many repairs waiting to happen.


  122. I have an ’02 Outback 2.5 automatic with 271,500 miles on it. It starts, runs and drives like brand new. My father bought the car brand new, and I know for a fact that it has had nothing but basic maintenance done to it. The biggest repair it has had was a new catalytic converter, installed at 270k. This car is absolutely phenomenal. We have had a lot of snow this year, and this car still powers through it like a champ.

  123. Dear Justin,
    Firstly, thanks for the great info on your site. My daughter is going to school near Erie, PA (the snowbelt)and I am concerned that she have reliable, relatively trouble free transportation. Trolling on I found a ’99 Outback Ltd. wagon with 129,777 mi. for $2900. What do you think about the model, year and,of course, the mileage? She needs this car to last for at least two years and probably would log another 25-30,000 mi.

    1. Hello Ann,

      I think that generally speaking a 1999 Outback for under $3000.00 is a good deal and a great car for a college student. But having said that its always about the car not the idea of that car. The only way you will know if its okay for your daughter is to have a pre purchase inspection done by someone who really knows Subaru so you can avoid any potential pitfalls.

      My biggest concerns are Rust on a car of that vintage given your guys climate, and the potential for Head gaskets if they have never been done as the 1999 would be prone to internal failures and typically pre 150k.

      I sure hope that helps and wish you the best luck in finding your Daughter a good car for here to use.


      1. Justin,

        I had never heard about the gasket issue; however, I had (until yesterday) a 2003 Outback. I never did anything but regular maintenance on the car, which I did religously, for the 10+ years I owned it. Unfortunately, when it blew it totally blew. All the seals were leaking and the head gaskets went. It was not fixable at 122,000 miles. I think it is a total crap shoot as to how long a car will last. I’m a bit disappointed as I planned on keeping it a couple more years, but I for sure got my money out of that car. I’m moving on to a Toyota Highlander for this new car purchase. I would buy another Subaru, however. I just don’t buy the hype that all these cars can get hundreds of thousands of miles without major repairs or total engine replacement.

        1. Hi Pj,

          So in a 2003 it would most likely leak oil and coolant externally and only fail internally if it over heated as a result of something else such as low fluid levels. I am confused by the not fixable statement? Did it throw a rod? Has a Subaru shop looked at it or just a generalist?

          The Highlander should serve you well but here is a link to Toyota Nation (a Toyota owners Forum) where some Highlander models have had some significant engine related failures, some Toyota helped with, some they did not, mostly it’s related to the threads pulling out of the block for the head bolts. Over on the IATN site for Techs the problem is reported to be much more widespread.

          I only mention this as your buying a vehicle with a known engine issue when that’s what you are trying to avoid, I want to help you avoid another situation where you were unaware of the vehicles potential for engine related issues.


        2. Hi PJ, Just for your information we owned a 1998 Subaru Outback Ltd and we drove it until it had 293,000 miles and it was still running very well at that time. Driving better than a friends new Chevy Cavalier I noticed at the time. The issue for us was the rusting body and if you look at Subaru’s of that vintage you will see they all tend to rust around the rear wheel portion of the car. We maintained the car relatively well in spite of those many miles and didn’t have any major issues. I did have an engine light issue after about 175,000 miles that kept suggesting our catalytic converter needed replacement although we took it in multiple times and were told things were working fine with the converter so we never did replace that. The sensor starts reporting once levels reach a certain percentage. We are both currently driving newer Subarus. Myself I am back in another Subaru Outback Ltd (2012 and have racked up 98,000 miles already). I love it for my work and the snow I must drive through 4-5 months a year. My hubby just purchased a Subaru Forrester with the eyesight feature San is happy with it save for sluggish gear shifting he feels.

  124. I have a 2005 Outback with 105,000 miles. The body and under is in great shape and we have gone through with some of the brakes and suspension elements. We are diligent with regular maintenance. We just found out we have to do the right head gasket. It’s not leaking really bad but needs to be done. We are on the fence about doing it or getting another Subaru, thinking about 09-10 Foresters. I am wondering what kind of a lifespan we should expect if we go with it. Also wondering what kind of a private sale we could expect if we don’t fix it. I don’t want to scam anyone. Thanks!

    1. Hello Med,

      I commend you on the wanting to disclose the information to a buyer. I would use input all the information and use the “fair value” metric.

      The 2009 to 2013 Forester are great cars, but you might think long and hard about just repairing what you already own, unless there is some sort of a compelling reason to buy a used Forester you are really buying something very similar to which you already own. Just a thought.

      The 2009 to mid year 2011 Forester uses the same engine as your 2005 Outback


      1. Hello justin, my husband and I are looking at a 2004 subarus wax Wagon with 255k on it. It’s in great shape 10 out of 10 for body, I terror and even the engine looks new. It runs smooth. What is your thought on buying the car? Do you think the miles are to high and the engine will go?

        Thank you

          1. I have a suburu forester 2010
            With 205k miles never had any major issues replaced the alternator at 170k.and i did a lot of preventive things like timing belt and water pump, new hoses and belts when I had extra money at 187k when all it actually needed was spark plugs but I got really obsessed with cars for a few weeks and was driving a lot then. I would love this car to see 313k miles or beyond!!

        1. The miles are a little on the high side for a Turbo car, the integrity of the Turbo and shortblock start to come into Question at that kind of mileage.

          I guess buying the car at a low price might make sense but just know repairs could be in the future.

          You also would want to have a pre purchase inspection performed.


  125. I just got my 2005 Subaru impreza RS HG done at 200K . I m wondering if it can handle 1,000 miles journey without any issues on the road.
    The performance is not the same as first.

    1. Hello Mike,

      Ordinarily yes, but I am not sure what you mean by performance not the same? If you think something is wrong you should contact the shop that made the repairs and at least discuss it with them, it could be something simple, it could be something major, it could be that your a little sensitive after putting some serious money into the car and all is well.

      There is but one way to know.


  126. Hi Justin,I’m looking at a 1998 Subaru Forster it has 22325 miles on it. He has been the only owner of it, and keeps up with services and maintenance. He asking $4500.00 for it. What do you think? Its Blue Book at $2500.00 for good. I think it falls into that category. Thank You. Hope to hear from.

    1. Hello Ruth,

      1998 Subaru Forester generally speaking is a good car and the mileage doesn’t scare me. It would still be my recommendation to have the vehicle inspected by someone local to you that is familiar with Subaru’s. I don’t feel that paying $4500 for a 1998 Subaru that is in good condition is too much, however paying $4500 for something that will need $4500 worth of work just around the corner will be a mistake.

      The 1998 can be somewhat known for internal head gaskets failures, and at that mileage most likely they have been done, but that would be a good thing to verify.

      Sorry I can’t offer more.


  127. Hi Justin,

    I am glad I stumbled onto this site. I am currently looking at buying a 2003 Subaru Legacy 3.0R that has done 220K kms. It is chain driven and looks and sounds in pretty good nick but as most people I am still nervous that it has done so many kms. Any advice would be appreciated?


    1. Hello James,

      The mileage doesn’t scare me generally speaking. At 220 kilometers that’s only 136,000 and we have seen the 3 liter reach the 300,000 mile mark and counting. Any vehicle you are considering should have an inspection.

      Hope that helps.


  128. Hey Justin – As others, I’m glad I’ve stumbled upon this site. A couple questions for ya this morning. First off, do you happen to have some type of directory of reputable Subaru mechanics across the US? I am in Utah and would love to have a Subaru expert (that isn’t the dealer) check out a vehicle that I might be purchasing.

    Secondly, what are your thoughts on rebuilt titles? I’ve seen quite a few 2006 Impreza 2.5i’s with low 80k miles on them for around $7,000 but they are showing rebuilt titles. My main concern if obvious with the rebuilt title, but I figured if I could get a good mechanic to check the work that was done on it and it passed that inspection, is a rebuilt title “too good to be true”?

    And lastly you have talked a lot about leaky head gaskets. I am fairly technically inclined. Is a leaky head gasket a repair that is best left to a good mechanic, or is it something that I could do at home? And what kind of costs should I expect with this repair, both doing it myself and having a shop do it.

    Thanks so much!!!

    1. Hello Doug,

      I do not currently at this time have a place to send you in Utah.

      A rebuilt title does not scare me as long as any repairs were done well.

      Head gaskets can be done at home if you take your time, buy parts form us and as a result get a guide and tech support.

      Hope that helps


  129. Hello Justin, so glad I’ve stumbled upon your site. We are considering purchasing an ’11 Outback (4 cylinder), clean and well maintained, with 70K miles. Its currently owned by a sales rep with a local territory, so only about 1/3 of the miles are ‘highway miles’. We’d like to keep the vehicle 10 years or so, to approx. 200k miles.

    Do you have an opinion whether a ‘typical 2011 Outback’ with this many miles, if continually well maintained, would be expected to be a relatively reliable vehicle for this duration?

    (In other words, based on your experience, whether the vehicle normally gets into the ‘high repair costs’ end of the curve past 150k, 160k, etc.?)

    Much appreciated.

    1. Hello Rob,

      Typically speaking any 2011 Outback should make it to 300k and beyond, each may have a different journey however. The only thing we don’t really know yet is the longevity of the CVT transmission Subaru started using in 2010 in the Outback, we know and service a few in the 150k range surprisingly enough.

      I would strongly suggest a pre purchase inspection as well.

      Hope that helps


  130. Hi Justin!

    I have owned subaru before and I will be a customer for life. However, now that I have a family I am really interested in getting a tribeca. I found a 2007 for a great price at 100k miles. My question is: can I expect the famous everlasting Subaru standard even as an SUV? Thanks!!

  131. Hello,

    I am planning to buy a 2014 Subaru forester 2.5i limited model.What is your opinion on this purchase?
    Please let me know if you know any issues exists with the 2014 Subaru forester 2.5i limited version.


  132. I have a 2003 subaru impreza sportswagon. It is not really in my budget to buy a new car. I have had repeated problems with the engine over the years. My car was overheating quite a bit and I did have work done but it continues to have a problem. My mechanic says that it is probably the head gasket. I am considering buying a used engine, one that has 84, 000 miles on it for $2000 to put into the car. I guess I am trying to figure out if this is a decent way to keep this car on the road.

  133. I have a 2004 Subaru baja 2.5i turbo with 157000 on it I replaced timing at 100000 an the radiator at 120000 turbo replaced in 2010 an 2013 for stage upgrades replaced an upgraded intake an tailpipes to 2.5 Magna flows an the oil tank replaced in 2011 if I keep up with regular maintaince how far can I see this car going? since car was driven off lot it has ran synthetic oil
    I also replaced fan an ac belts

    1. Hello Elliot,

      As long as you take good care of it most Turbo short blocks will go into the 200k to 250k range before the rings or bearings have worn out enough to cause problems. Now having said that you mentioned “stage” upgrades? If you have enhanced the performance with any aftermarket chips or larger Turbo the numbers above will will not be accurate as performance and longevity do not go hand and hand.


  134. I have a 2008 Legacy GT with 148K. Does anyone have any historical data on this model year and longevity predictions? Thanks in advance.


  135. I have a 2002 Subaru Outback with 162k miles. I have had the heads repaired twice.(second time I know they resurfaced them, for sure) Once at 110k (right after purchase)and again at 142K. I’m worried I purchased a lemon. Has anyone else experianced this? Should I cut my losses and send it sailing? This is my first Subaru and so far I’m not impressed. 🙁

    1. Thats really up to you, we don’t typically have repeat offenders, but I am aware of Cars repaired at the dealer or by general repair shops not lasting as long as one would like.

      A prepurchase inspection would have prevented the first unexpected repair.

      What to do from here depends on your situation, and if you like the car.

  136. Hi Justin,

    Great post!

    I’m moving from Australia to the US in July and I feel as though I really want a Subaru Forester – I certainly feel like I’ll be able to have a lot of fun with it, and get a lot of uses out of it (camping/sleeping in it, taking a kayak around, fitting the dog nicely in the rear, towing, moving across country etc).

    However – I know nothing about cars, and I’m not sure what to look for when looking for a used Forester. I’m finding that the 04’s seem to be in my budget (maybe an 05 if I can negotiate!) – but my mother is very stressed about the car being “old” and “having too many miles”. Which in turn makes me stressed about it. I’ll definitely be getting an inspection before I buy any car, but I still don’t know what I should be looking for first in a car – I don’t want to have to get an inspection on every single car I find available to look at.. Haha.


    1. Hello Jess,

      You dont want to inspect ten cars you want to narrow the field a bit and inspect the one you like the best. The 2003 to 2007 Forester is so similar Id look for the best value and not get hung up on buying the latest model.

      Service records
      Clean Auto check or Car fax reports
      Explainable reason for selling
      Some reconditioning

      Are all things to look for.

      Hope that helps


  137. I drive a 99 subaru impreza L 2.2. I can happily say I just hit the 240k mark and everyything is runing fine. Only issue I have with vermont, the body is starting to rust out. Going too patch it the best I can and hope too reach 300k miles. I almost traded it in at one point as a down payment, when I went with my subaru over a newer car (06 ford focus) I took one test drive ( maybe 1/2 mile) hated the way the car felt driving vs ,my subaru. I will only buy subaru, when the time comes.

  138. Hi Justin,
    I just purchased a 2013 XV Crosstrek with a 2.0. So far I really like it. I was wondering what you thought of the new engine?

  139. Greetings Justin,
    A local (Southern CA) Subaru mechanic took a 06 Outback in because the owner does not want to pay for a engine (over 200,000 miles). He is asking $3000 for it, the body and interior look very good. There are no records with the car, apparently the fellow had a long everyday freeway commute. There is a bit of rust bubbling up under the paint near the top of the windshield
    The new engine and resurfacing of heads will cost me about $3,000 additional. So for roughly $6000 i would have a solid car.
    My questions are, is there another area i should be concerned about with that mileage, like the drive train or transmission ? thanks a bunch.

    1. At 200k if there are no service records the list of could be’s are very long.

      $6000.00 for an 06 with a lot of recent repairs regardless of mileage is not a bad way to go. Other known issues for the year are the rear wheel bearings, thats about it for the typical every one might need it kind of a thing.


  140. Hi Justin,

    I’m really glad I found your site! I’m looking Into my first subaru which will be a 2008 impreza 2.5i they are asking 13k for it in the Seattle area from a Honda dealership! It’s on the 2nd owner and regular maintenance for what I can see!

    What should I watch for with this many miles? What will help me keep it pristine & 300k miles??? Can’t wait for your advice! Also this car is 3 hours away from me so I want to be 100% sure

    1. Hi Mikala,

      “What should I watch for with this many miles? What will help me keep it pristine & 300k miles??? Can’t wait for your advice! Also this car is 3 hours away from me so I want to be 100% sure”

      We need to start out with a prepurchase inspection so you dont buy a car that your un prepared for first of all.

      From there we need to make sure its up to date on service, and come up with service intervals for you based on how you use the car if it checks out and if you buy it.

      Hope that helps!


  141. I have read on your blog a couple of times about problems associated with poor quality gas. I have done so much research trying to find something concrete about fuel quality. Some say they are all the same, some say that the top companies, ie. Shell, Chevron, etc. have superior gas. What is your opinion about this? What gas do you recommend or use on your own cars. Thanks

    1. You can spend your life researching this very thing and never come up with a consensus, this is a very complex issue with no answer.

      You can go to an Arco station and not be buying Arco, you could be going to a Chevron station and be buying Arco.

      Technically speaking the additives in some fuel may be better for your car in some cases, but who watches the additives go in? Who is making sure that the Fuel delivery truck picked up gas at the right place at the refiner?

      If everything goes as it should, yes “Brand name gas” is better.

      I will add to that that 87 octane is not sold in many other places.


  142. Hi,
    I’m taking a sales job where I will be traveling around 50,000 miles a year! What used Subaru would you recommend? Some models, or years better than others? Also, what’s the mileage max on a used car that you would not buy?



    1. Hi Don,

      Its always about the Car, not the theory. Meaning in theory any Subaru should treat you well, but in reality an abused Subaru will let you down within days of buying it.

      I don’t really have a favorite model. I like the Turbo models if they have been taken care of, as they are less likely to have HG issues, but more likely to have engine failure if you buy the wrong one. I like the Non Turbo 4 cylinder models as long as its been taken care of, they will most likely develop an oil leak form the Head gaskets at some point in time.

      I like the 6 cylinder models if they have been taken care of, but if you buy one that wasn’t, prepare to max out your credit cards as the H6 is a n expensive engine to repair if it comes up.

      So really what I am telling you is you need to have a prepurchase inspection done by a Independent Subaru Expert, not just take a dealers word for it. And prepare your self to look at a few.


  143. Hi Justin, I’m looking at a 2005 Subaru Forrester LL Bean with 132,000 miles on it. It will be my daily driver, about 35 miles on the highway daily.

    It’s real clean and maintained.

    Your thoughts on durability? I’m nervous about the mileage but have read that Subaru’s can go the distance.


      1. Justin-
        I have a delema that I hope you can help me with. My daughter just moved to Bend Oregon where she will face way more snow and ice than up here in Portland. She has a 97 V-6 Camry that used to be my parents so I know it was very well maintained. It has only 95,000 on it. My good friend is willing to sell me his 97 Subaru with 170,000 for a very good price. Her Camry has been great but I worry about her not having the AWD but she is only mainly doing city driving. Would I be a fool to give up on the Camry? I really want her to have a reliable car and wonder if some repairs will loom a bit quicker with the Subaru. Any imput would be greatly appreciated.

        1. Its really about the car, I have no problem generally speaking suggesting a 1997 Subaru Legacy GT, even with that mileage, but the car it self must check out ok.

          Hope that helps


    1. Justin, what about a 2005 Outback with 215000. Miles? I believe the head gaskets were replaced a couple of years ago. It needs struts now but other than that seems clean. How long could we expect it to last if we bought it? She is charging $5000.


        1. I’m looking to buy a 2005 Subaru Outback at 166k with all oil changes and repairs performed at dealership. The price is $1000 above KKB highest value. I believe it’s a good car, but I’m struggling with negotiating price and whether this is fair to ask more than the KKB excellent value. In your experience, do you see well maintained Subaru priced above their fair market value?

          1. Hello Spring,

            Not surprised its bringing 1k over KB, KBB is not accurate at all. Market value based on what else is available and supply and demand drive car sales more than the perceived value for Credit Unions trying to make loans they wont be burned on which is what KBB really is.

            You should have a Pre Purchase done, and if it checks out and you like the car, see if there’s any room, but the most important thing is getting a good car. I see all to often customers gravitating to price rather than value and just not understanding a car priced 1000 less might actually be worthless in a couple of months if it ends up needing serous repairs. Used crs can be tricky to navigate. M advice is never based on price its always based on Value.

            Keys to a successful used car purchase are;

            Make sure it has solid service history
            Have a pre purchase inspection done by someone who knows the make
            Dont expect it to not need anything, but go into it knowing what those needs may be
            Dont gravitate to the lowest price
            Dont buy cars that were purchased at Auction
            Only buy local trade ins
            once you buy it, have the next service done immediately do you have a new base to maintain from

            Hope that helps


  144. Hi Justin,

    Great website and Q&A there.
    I am looking into buying a 03 forester here in New Zealand. Around 180K miles. The car doesn’t have any maintenance records with it. I saw a sticker under the hood saying the timing belt was done at 105K miles sometime in 2006. I did a carjam (similar to carfax in the US) and seems like the car was a company car for about the first 7 years of its life and was driven about 100 miles a day- which makes me believe it is highway miles. Drives really well for the mileage and things are very solid and snug (steering, brakes, manual shifting). Engine seems to have a lot of power. Fresh fluids, very clean leather interior, paint is nice and all over looks solid. I know HG has not been done on it. Very clean under the hood (I think the owner just washed/cleaned it good- which I wish he hadn’t).

    It looks like a good deal (US$3100). I plan to own it for about a year (I am here in NZ for only a year or 1.5 max) and anticipate driving it for about 10K max highway miles-road trips. Do you think it will last me that long before anything major comes up?

    Cheers! and keep up the good work.

    1. Its just so hard to say with out seeing it, but it sounds like its solid as most company cars are maintained much better than individuals. The price seems fair as well, but I am not that familiar with the Market. You can look underneath at the HG if they seem dry now they will most likely be that way in a year.

      However if you would like to fly me into New Zealand I would live to come do a pre purchase inspection for you, Ive always wanted to see where the Lord of the Rings was filmed, LOL.

      Hope that helps


        1. Hello Abbey,

          That’s really tough to say without someone looking at it. Any car with 300k should be treated with a little scrutiny as well.

          You should inquire to if its had a third timing belt recently, an if the head gaskets have been replaced as well.


  145. good morning Justin,

    I am looking forward to buying a 2013 subaru outback. I’ve been doing a lot of research because I know I want a car that can last and that is reliable since my wife is going to be driving it. for my Friends, family and all over the internet, it seems Toyota and honda are the best in terms of sustaining high mileage and being reliable and low cost maintenance.
    I want to trust you and your experience with Subarus to tell me if what I hear from the salesmen are not just speeches to talk me into buying the vehicle or if subarus are indeed as good as I read in the forum and blog of subaru owners.
    I would also want you to give me your honest take on where subaru stand against toyota and honda in terms of reliability and longevity. I say honest because I know the surveys online don’t always consider all the brands but mostly the ones that are the most popular depending on the country or region where they took place.
    I’m looking forward to reading your answer soon.


    PS. I leave in long island NY and would like to know if you have a shop to recommend for the vehicle’s maintenance after I’m done with the dealer

    1. Hello Martial,

      Here is what I can tell you, the 2013 uses a relatively new engine design its the “FB” series that debuted in late 2011 in the Forester. Despite the Hg issue in other years the engine it self was always capable of going 300k, but may develop an oil leak from the HG.

      Its just not responsible for me to tell you one way or the other how it will go with the new engine until there have been thousands of them driven tens of thousands of miles, this is where I will always be different than a car salesman.

      To the rest of the question, Toyota Owns 20% of Subaru, and has for quite some time owned a portion of Subaru. Toyota, Honda & Subaru all use the same Gasket suppliers they do not make their own typically the gaskets will be from Nippon Reinz, I have friends that work for Honda, and Toyota that do in fact replace Head Gaskets but yes not as often as the Subaru. Part of this is its not every Toyota or Honda that will have an issue, but a few engines spread over many more models than Subaru offers. Meaning if you buy an Subaru Outback, Legacy Impreza, Forester etc, its most likely going to have a 2.5l. Wheres as with the Toyota its a window of V6 engines and with the Honda Civic that have the some problems.

      Because I work in the Industry I know that the Honda, Toyota and Subaru all make solid cars, there are trade offs however. The AWD in the Subaru is far superior than in the Honda or Toyota, but as a result there may be more drivetrain wear.

      I have good friend that has a CRV, and bought it after I let him Drive my 2012 Outback. He now regrets that a bit as he has had some issues as its the first year of a refresh for the CRV.

      If you buy a 2013 Outback, you will have a warranty and if before the warranty expires it has not been a good car for you than I would go a different route. If it has you will most likely continue to have the same experience. The same advice rings true for a Honda or Toyota you might also consider.

      Hope that helps


      1. Hello Justin,

        I want to thank you for answering me with that level of honesty. People like you are not encountered at every corner. I couldn’t ask for more. So much information in your answer… If you were in NY you would sure be my mechanic.

        I will surely keep in touch with you,


  146. Hi Justin,
    I’m wondering if the 2010 is a good year for Subaru impreza2.5i, I have 50k on it at the moment, I’m projecting 90k on it after my lease and I’m wondering if I should buy it out for $10k with that sort of mileage. It’s been regularly maintained but I wasn’t sureif that year has the head casket problem. Thanks

    1. Hello Clement

      I wold have it inspected and if the gaskets are dry at 90k, they will most likely stay that way for some time to come.

      The 2010 uses the Impreza uses the same gasket the rest do prior to the 2010 Outback, it was updated in 2003, but obviously some still have issues.

      Hope that helps


  147. Hi, I am in a similar situation as Tanya above. I am looking at used subarus and I found a good one at a very good price. It looks and runs great but I am concerned of the remainder life. It has 270K miles on it and although I am not going to use it to commute, more for weekend trips around the area, I am concerned that only few months after I get it starts dying or that I need to replace head gaskets (usually above $1,000 to fix). How much life can I expect of this forester 2000 with 270K? Provided it has been carefully maintained. Do you think is a good/bad idea to buy it?

    1. Hello Charles,

      There is some risk in buying any car with 270k, even if the HG are never an issue, there could be other expenses.

      You would want to have a pre purchase inspection performed.


      1. I’m looking at a 2016 Forester for 75,000 miles for 17K. Is that a good price and what are the chances of getting over 5 more years out of it?

        1. Hello Christa,

          Like I had mentioned via email as well. In theory it sounds like a good solid plan. In Reality it needs to have a pre-purchase inspection performed to know if the theory is sound or else you could just be buying problems you don’t want.

          Hope that helps

          1. Hi Justin

            I have a 2016 Forester and have kept up with maintenance with local mechanic (Boston). I drive ~ 30k miles a year, largely hwy. To start, is this a good year for the forester? Any unique maintenance issues you are aware of? Lastly, anything i need to worry about with so much driving. Thanks!!

          2. Hello Ben,

            Yes 2016 is a good year for the Subaru Forester. Just remember that the maintenance outline in the owners manual is the minimum amount of maintenance you should do, its okay to do more. Don’t forget about the power steering fluid and CVT Fluid (If equipped). Another thing about the cars that are driven like you are, its good to add a fuel system additive here and there. Especially if you are in an area that uses an Ethanol Blend.

            Hope that helps


    2. I went and saw a 2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5i wagon with 247k miles from Massachusetts at a used car dealer in Brooklyn, NY. All seems well and the car starts right up. My concern is the miles and I haven’t seen service records at the moment. What say you? Will I get two-three years usage out of this car?

      Might I add, there’s none of the surface rust you see in vehicles of that vintage and mileage from Subaru.

      1. Hello Winston,

        The miles dont scare me, but the no service record thing is bothersome. Id still suggest having a pre purchase inspection done so you know what your getting your self into.


  148. Hi Justin!

    Thank you so much for all your valuable information on your site! I’m soon going to be the proud owner of my first Subaru. Its a 2002 WRX. It’s currently at 124K miles which has my family worried. I personally knew that the owner took excellent care of the car. But at such a high mileage, what should I look out for before closing the deal?

    The only problem that occurred was a viscous coupling leak that was immediately replaced – but does that mean that the car was “beat on” so to speak?

    Thanks so much!

  149. I have a 2005 Forester with 60,000 miles and a turbo engine. I am wondering if this is a good year for Subaru and how long can I expect this to last. I am trying to decide whether to trade in now ? So far I have had to replace the radiator and there is a funny noise in the back like something is rolling across the back when I take wide turns but no one can find anything lose or anything to say what is causing this? thanks

    1. The 2005 2.5l is a Good engine provided the oil is changed lots and often so there is no Turbo failure.

      Im sorry but I cant think of anything in regards to the noise either without listening for it my self.


  150. Justin,

    I need your advice please!!! My wife has wanted a Subaru for a year and we our about to pull the trigger on one Thursday. 2010 2.5x Forester Premium but has 103k, just came off a lease. Lease company shows all regular maintenance done nothing major. (were getting it at a great price) From reading the forums Im now worried, does the 2010 Forester have the updated gasket? What should I be looking for? I know the timing belt will need replacing ASAP, i’m planning on buying the timing belt kit form you, what else should I replace while they are doing that? Last question do you know any Subaru mechanics in Kansas City area? Thank You!!!!!

    1. Hello George,

      The 2010 Forester Doesn’t have an updated Gasket, there are some other changes such as coolant, grounds etc that prolong the life of the HG.

      Many Subaru’s don’t need HG done that is a fact many do that is also a fact. If they are not leaking now they may or may not in the future.

      Any other car in the class will need its fair share of service and repairs over a like time frame. Google or bing any other model with the word “problems” afterwards.

      I will add however that 103k on a three year old car is Driving!


  151. I love your article above, Justin. I’m in the 267,000th miles of my 1996 Legacy L and am still quite proud that it’s getting no less than 30 mpg. It needs some body work, but nothing serious, otherwise, I just replaced the radiator and it’s like I just got a new car! I didn’t dare drive it on hills the past year because it would try to overheat – though my full-blast heater wouldn’t let it. I rented a lot of nice cars in the past year but I’ve been most pleased with the Subaru and .. now that I’ve got a son needing a car, I want to give this to him and get another older Subaru [for cost and insurance reasons]. What is the life I can still expect out of this car for my son? We have a neighbor that has one that reached 3,000,000 miles 5 years ago – and they’re still driving it! I do regular maintenance and simple tricks to keep the motor cooler, but what are your suggestions and ideas on this buggy?

    Thank you, Justin! 🙂

    1. I just bought a Lil impreza with 369438km. For $500 .. seems like it was well cared for but I’m wondering how long it will live?…

      1. Hello Key,

        Great question, but not one that can be answered I am afraid. Way to many variables.



  152. Hello Ben,

    Service records will help you try and ascertain if it has been maintained.

    The head gaskets are the typical thing it will need that can add up, the rest of the car is solid.

    I dont suggest the used car lot thing, and I don’t really suggest buying a car from a new car dealer without license plate frames at that usually means it was bought at auction, and regardless of what Carfax states, cars sold through Auction have a greater possibility of being the one you dont want.

    I like the idea of buying form a private party that has had another child so its time to buy A Tribeca or a mini van.


    1. I am looking at a used 2006 outback with 123,000 miles on it, it drives and looks great! It defiantly looks like it was maintained. I am just afraid that it has to many miles on it. They bought it from an auction so I am not sure how many owners it has had, the dealership has a great reputation in town and a 30 day return policy. Is it worth it for $6,000?

      1. Hi Lakyn,

        You would need to have a pre purchase inspection performed to know if the car it self checks out, there is no other way to know. I would also strongly suggest an experienced Independent do the inspection

        Hope that helps


          1. I’m a proud owner of a 2008 tribeca with 224000 miles and counting. Bought it in 2010 with 40k miles. Never done any maintenance (which I don’t recommend) other then oil changes from dealer and I’m now having some leaks possibly from head gasket which I plan on fixing because other then that my truck is like a tank and I plan on getting 300+K miles out of it! Best wishes!

      2. My 1998 legacy hit 270K yesterday. Looks like crap, but still runs great. Have done a head gasket and tranny repair, some exhaust work, but other than that, small stuff here and there. They are built to last

        1. Is it still going? We have a 2000 2.5 Outback and are debating about the 300,000 mile check-up. It is well maintained.

    2. Hi justin I have a 2008 tribeca with 154,554 miles what do i need to worry about and how many more miles can I get out of it until it’s time for a new car.

      1. Hi Andy,

        Generally speaking the Tribeca is a good Car, 2008 has the 3.6 which is a pretty good engine as is the 5 speed auto transmission.

        The best place to start is with a good shop familiar with Subaru performing a complete vehicle inspection and from there coming up with a plan for the Tribeca based on the results of that inspection. Things to pay attention to are the lower control arm bushings, Cv axles, brakes etc

        There just are not any “hey every Tribeca needs this at that mileage” kind of a thing we need to talk about on a 2008 Tribeca with 150k and counting.

        Hope that helps


        1. Hi Justin, I have a 20014 outback, and I had 2000k on it. I recently replace my transmission with a new one is it worth buying a new transmission and with that would the car last beyond 3000k?

          1. Hello Eben,

            I think your asking if putting a new transmission in your Subaru was a good investment and I would say yes if the rest of the car is in pretty good shape.



    3. I’m looking at buying a 2012 forester with 200,000 hwy miles, 2 owners. Well maintained. I travel sometimes 100 miles a day as a home health nurse. Do you think this would last at least another 100,000 miles? It’s selling for 3,989

      1. Hello Rachel,

        Seems like a good price and yes the car still has a lot of life left, however I will still insist you have a pre purchase inspection performed before you decide to buy it, or you good end up with someone else’s set of problems. Doesn’t sound like that’s the case at face value, but you just don’t know until a Subaru professional has a look at it and gives you the all clear.

        That’s just the best advice I can give you.

        Hope that helps


      2. I have owned and managed a Towing company that specialized in disposing of end of life vehicles. I am also a trained mechanic and have most certifications! I had a exclusive AAA contract to tow vehicles. In 2015 and 2016 we disposed of 2000 end of life vehicles! The average end of life vehicle had 130,000 miles on it. Understand that vehicles are made of parts, like water pumps, starters, alternators, radiators, transmission that all have a limited life span, and without the ability examine each part that makes up a vehicle, 120,000 was the average life span of a vehicle. So, purchasing a used car is always a gamble even for a experienced mechanic. New car dealers also sell new vehicles that are never reliable. Proof of this is the new vehicle dealer repair shop behind every dealership full of cars.

        1. Thanks for posting

          Most Subaru’s reach 300k and beyond in the NW however. We have over 2000 customers with vehicles over 200k

          It’s always about the maintenance.


    4. Hi Justin,
      My daughter is looking at a 2013 Subaru forester with 170000 miles. It’s been with one owners and looks like they have taken very good care of this car. She needs something reliable for the next three years. We are kinda scared to purchase something with that many miles. I have read over and over about the head gasket issue. My question is what is the cost to repair that (national average) if it needed replaced. Is 6000 a good deal for this vehicle? And if everything checks out to be good, would you buy this vehicle with that many miles?

      1. Hello Kathy,

        The 2013 Forester uses the “FB” series 2.5l, not prone to head gasket issues.

        There are other concerns such as oil use and oil leaks from the timing cover or cam cases. You will want to have a Subaru shop perform a Pre-Purchase inspection.

        I just don’t have the time to compile national pricing average for repairs, sorry.

        The car should go to 300k and beyond in theory, but its always about the Subaru you are looking at, not the theory.


    5. Hi Justin,

      I am currently looking at a 2009 forester x LL Bean with a little over 138K miles for a littles less than $6,000. It’s been on the market for 100 days and has since been dropped in price by $1,000. It comes with a lot of bells and whistles like seat warmers, leather seats, etc. I know Subaru’s have a reputation of lasting a long time, and like you say it’s about the specific Subaru and not the theory, but does that seem to be a good deal? I don’t really know someone who could check it out in person and tell me about the condition of the car, so what would be some good things to look for to make sure it’s in good condition and a good deal? Just a side note, I’ve seen other Foresters with similar mileage and age but with less additions and they are slightly more, so I’m just a little sketched out a bit. Thanks a bunch!

      1. Hey Gonzalo,

        The price and the time on the market do not really concern me, but you still just cant buy that Subaru Forester or any other car without having a pre purchase inspection done.

        You have to find a shop that you can pay for a pre purchase inspection and that shop needs to be familiar with Subaru or you are just setting your self up for disaster, we see it every week and I don’t want that to happen to you.

        Hope that helps

    6. Thanks for your website, Justin, I just discovered it. You clearly know Subarus to every individual part and system, nice to scan the blogs.

      I have a 2006 Outback with about 166,000 miles. You are so right about finding an excellent mechanic and consistently bringing the car to her/him. Having done so, my Sub. is running well. I am about to take it on a spring desert camping trip (no rock-climbing, however!). I do have a very, very slow leak in the power steering system; not the reservoir, that was replaced. Not a cheap fix, personal funds are a bit low, so we monitor it carefully for now – no change in three years, actually.

      And as you’ve mentioned, it’s worth the price to get the best parts, as my mechanic does. I also get high quality tires at replacement time – not items for cutting corners on.

      Look forward to reading/contributing to your blog.

      1. Hello Nathaniel,

        Thanks for taking the time to post, I hop you get another 166k out of your Outback!



        1. Hi, Justin! I have seen your posts on Subaru and you put a lot of clarity in the answers to the queries on Subaru. I would like to go for a Subaru but wouls like to inspect from an independent Subaru expert. Can you suggest some good ones in salt Lake city Utah. Thanks

          1. Hey Siriam,

            I am really sorry but I don’t have anyone to send you to in Salt lake, id look at maybe google reviews (not Yelp) for local Subaru or Japanese import shops local to you.

            Hope that helps sorry I cant offer more


        2. Hi, could you answer a question for me? I have a 2011 Subaru Forester, I got the car at 80,000 it’s now has 109,000 and I change the oil whenever the sticker says and have gotten my brakes checked recently. Is there anything I should watch out for in this car moving forward? I want to stay on top of anything it needs.
          Casper, Wyoming

          1. Hello Leslie,

            At the mileage you have I would want to make sure the coolant is changed and the proper Blue Subaru coolant is used. Its pretty close to the 120k mark which would be all fluids, filters and spark plugs.

            That’s really about it. I love that you included where you are from. I have been to Casper, its a very beautiful area and a great place to own a Subaru.



          2. I’m in a similar boat but I have a 2008 Outback LL Bean edition (i.e. 6 cylinder) that’s around 120,000. Husband hates it because it guzzles oil (7 litres) and we recently had to fix serpentine belt when power steering went out and fix suspension (live in Atlanta and roads are poorly maintained). He is convinced we need a new car and I’m convinced this one will last forever. Who is right? I have not heard from any professionals that there is problem with it. We’ve been doing regular oil changes ourselves and the last issue I had was an idler belt pulley and brake pad replacement that my father in law did. Average maintenance ended up being $222 a year if we don’t factor in replacing flat tires. Are there documented issues of Subaru transmissions failing on this model after a certain mileage?

          3. Hello Emma,

            The 2008 3.0l & 5 speed auto is a great platform. It requires 7 Quarts of oil at the oil change interval, but there is no way it guzzles 7 quarts of oil in between oil changes? The Belt idler and tensioner is typical and will happen every 100k or so. It would have made noise prior to failing.

            There are no wide spread issues with the transmission in that era Subaru.

            Hope that helps


  153. Hi Justin. I’ve been reading your website avidly over the past week – what a great resource! I am a proud owner of a new 2010 outback – premium with all weather package – and LOVE IT! I am now looking for a used Subaru Forester, Legacy or Legacy-Outback. 2004 – 2005 era seem to be in my price range. Most of the cars I’m looking at have at least 80K miles on them. I realize that i can find history on Carfax and the like – but how can i really know if the car was well maintained? If i get intersted in a car, i’m planning to take it to a local mechanic (Boston) that specializes in subarus for an evaluation. However, you seem to really know your stuff – and my wife is concerned about buying a car with 100K+ miles. What can i do to figure out if the car i’m looking at is in good shape to get to 300K miles? what can i tell my wife to assuage her fears of a “high” mileage car? If i am sure to take care of head gaskets, belts, water pump, tires, oil, filters, fluids, springs, shocks, etc. – is there anything else i should be worried about failing? Stated differently, what would cause a car not to make it to 300K? Is there some part that could “go” that is prohibitively expensive to repair? THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR THOUGHTS!

      1. Good for you. Those oldees are goodies. My 2 2012 outbacks both developed transmission problems with the valve body at 120k I don’t think they even yet have a fix for this other than valve body replacement. I hate the idea that I now have to dump my Subarus with this type of transportation before 100k.

    1. Hey I’m looking into getting a 2004 wrx with 240,000 miles it’s well maintained and has some stuff done to it and they are selling it to me for 6k is this a good deal or should I look into another car? I took it on a test drive and it drove really well also got a new clutch just installed

      1. Hello Michael,

        If the car is in good shape its not a terrible idea, but you need to have a Subaru expert look it over for you to make sure you are not buying someone else’s problems that will soon be yours.

        You never buy a used car without a Pre Purchase Inspection!

        Hope that helps


        1. Hey there I’m looking at a 2006 forester with 178000 miles for $3,500. Oil was changed every 3,000 miles. Has new Head gaskets, tires and rear struts with receipts for all maintenance. Is this worth the buy I’m a college student in flagstaff Arizona.

          1. Hello Abraham,

            I will tell you the same thing I tell everyone looking to buy a used car.

            Have a pre purchase inspection performed, once that is done by someone familiar with Subaru and local to you.It will be revealed if it’s a good buy or not, and just not a second sooner. In theory a 2006 Forester with 178k has a lot of useful life left, and that statement is true for many cars, but not true for just as many if they are in poor mechanical condition.

            Hope that helps


          2. I know you asked this 9/19 and may have already purchased?:
            waterpump and timing belt replaced and when?
            If the Head Gaskets were done because of an oil leak and not from overheating ..Pre-purchase inspection is a must to determine. The coolant system is the most important thing to check in an Arizona car..

      2. I have my 2nd Subaru Impreza and in my last one I had to replace a part that cost roughly $700 around 85,000 miles. I cannot remember what part it was but I’m nearing that on my current car.

    2. Hi, could you answer a question for me? I have a 2011 Subaru Forester, I got the car at 80,000 it’s now has 109,000 and I change the oil whenever the sticker says and have gotten my brakes checked recently. Is there anything I should watch out for in this car moving forward? I want to stay on top of anything it needs.
      Casper, Wyoming

        1. Im looking to buy a sweet 1998 forester L, with 145k. They are asking $1,350
          Any information on the 1998 is appreciated thanks.
          I will definitely have an inspection done.

          1. Hey Rob,

            The 1998 Forester is a one year only kind of a car, it has the EJ2.5D DOHC engine. They can be susceptible to internal HG failures, so look to see if it has the updated HG if possible.

            Same thing with rear wheel bearings

            Hope that helps


      1. Trying to buy a 2012 Subaru Outback 3.6r Limited with 116K miles for 10.950. With dealer fees and interest it will be $13K.
        It’s in great condition but people around me are worried it’s not a good deal and the mileage is high. I know Subarus stay on the road for a long time. What do you think?

    3. Hello Ben, I have owned ” New and used cars”, high end like Mercedes, Volvo, etc. and less expensive like Chevy and Toyota etc. After a horrible car accident in 2016 and being in a coma for 10 days, plus learning to walk again and being a substitute Teacher. I needed a dependable car so I brought a used 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5 turbo with over 145,000 thousand miles in 2017 and I still have it and drive it work today. Living in Massachusetts, I could not afford a new Subaru and I would see people drving them getting through mounds of snow. As a divorced, older women I can only depend on God, my auto mechanic Anthony at Tech Auto, and friends who will drive me to work when my Subaru needs repair. Trusting in a man or person that is looking out for us, while living and driving on earth is the best gift and act of kindness. Please mention to your wife you are looking out for her and Subaru’s are safe. I ‘m still driving my Subaru, and it now has over 225,000 miles in 0ctober 2021. YES! I would love a new Subaru Outback someday! Take care and be safe Deborah.

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