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Joined: May 2002
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johnw Online Content OP
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First off, my Outback is a 2019 2.5i. It is the lowest level base model. It was the last year before the mandated engine cutoff at idle. I promised 3 years ago to report if I'd had any trouble with it.

As of yesterday I have 152,540 miles on it with not a mechanical wrench touching it for any drive train or mechanical repair. At 100K miles I had the transmission serviced and fluids replaced. Last Friday I had the original pads and rotors changed out. I went with all 4 wheels, but could have likely driven with the original rear brakes for another 6 months or year.

2 months or so ago, I did notice that my drivers side DRL was flickering.When I had it in for an oil change I asked them to look at it and replace it. The service rep came back a few minutes later and explained that the DRL was an LED that required the entire headlamp assembly to be replaced. I told him OK, replace it.
He then explained that the LED was new to the line from model year 2018, and that they had never seen one fail. And for that reason didn't have one in stock. He went on to say that the headlamp assembly cost $494. My eyebrows went up a notch.

Long story short, I left that day having had a word with the service manager, and telling him that I'd drive it forever without paying $500+ for the DRL. Let the thing fail.
Fast forward 2 weeks and the service manager called me at home to set up an appointment to replace the headlamp assembly. He had prevailed with Subaru and they picked up the total cost. Which came to $777 and change.

My driving experience with it has been phenomenal. It is simply the best driving thing on the road in [bleep] winter weather. And I hear and see a lot about the offroad capability of the Outback. I wanna say that my true offroad experience is minimal with it, but I have put many miles on it on unimproved north woods fire lanes. I only had it for 8 weeks when I took off cross country on 75 miles of Oklahoma oil patch 2 tracks, fording streams and driving around obstructions.

I routinely get 30 mpg with 87 octane regular. I drive the thing like I stole it, but I do keep up with it's maintenance. I wanna say it's more reliable than most things out there.
And i wanna say that it's done more off road type of stuff than 80% of 4WD trucks and more than 95% of jeep wranglers


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Maine lesbian jokes aside

I've wanted one but always held off due to the boxer engine head gaskets.

A 2019 with 152K , 50K a year is some serious driving.


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My olf Forster outperformed CR-V’s and Rav-4’s off road by a significant degree. It was also relatively maintenance free. My daughter now has it.

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Our 2001 just gave up the ghost. I bought it used to have a spare ride on hand and that thing was a trooper. I named it the Antelope Assault Vehicle. It made the trip over Red Rock Pass down into the Centennial many times to cruise the dunes for antelope. The middle differential finally took a [bleep] and I gave it to the salvage yard.


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Originally Posted by johnw
And i wanna say that it's done more off road type of stuff than 80% of 4WD trucks and more than 95% of jeep wranglers


That I believe. Especially the lifted trucks that are parking lot princesses.


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When we lived in Montana, we had a Subaru. It was a great car/wagon.
We put studs on in the winter, felt pretty safe in that car. We put 375000 miles on it before we traded it in.


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We have a 2013 Outback and it is an oil burner, and started after about 20,000 miles, even though I changed the oil every 5,000 miles. It goes through a quart every 12 to 14 hundred miles. I have also had to replace all the wheel bearings, and have had several other recurring problems that are fixable, but shouldn't happen, like intake runner actuators. It only has 119,000 miles on it. I wish I had bought a Toyota.

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The head gasket issues are what kept me from buying one. Happy with my Rav4 that has over 250K miles on it, needing only brakes and routine maintenance. Recent sole drivetrain issue was a rear u-joint that required replacement of the whole driveshaft - $1100!!

Other than that, it's been bulletproof.

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My first Subaru was a 2013 Outback. Bought it new and put well over 150,000 miles on it. Took it in really rough country quite often. Sure footed, excellent gas mileage, maintenance free. It had a Maytag under the hood but utilized it’s power effectively and efficiently. Never turned a screw on it. It burned a quart of oil about every 2000 to 2500 miles. I never changed the oil a single time the entire time I had the car; I just added a quart when it got a quart low. I did change the filter every 8000 miles. It was a great car.

I decided to trade it in on a new 2019 Crosstrek. I loved the new Crosstalk so much that I bought another new one 2 months later. I drive the heck out of both of em’. Neither of them burns oil like my first Subaru did. They both have Maytags under the hood as well. They each have about 35K miles on them right now. They’ve been absolutely maintenance free like my first Subaru was. I change the oil and filter on them every 10,000 miles. My Subaru’s have all been great cars.


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All jokes aside.......

Probably a good vehicle with limitations of course

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My step-mother is a Subie fan. Has had several. All have been reliable.

Locally a friend of mine has basically a race car Subaru. Big turbo, stiff ride, gutted interior and it goes like a raped ape. All the little kids love hearing the BOV work too.

Typically I heard 3 complaints about Subs -

1. Noisy at start up, clatter
2. Headgaskets are their own meme
3. Clutches can be a PITA to replace as you need to drive a pin out from the top down, back of the engine. Don't remember model tho....


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johnw Online Content OP
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The head gasket issue was a real thing, and eventually caused problems for some owners. Subaru's reputation continued to build through the years that added up until an engineering mod fixed the problem.

From what I can see, and from my own experience, they are quickly becoming the most common car on the highway. Subaru's loyal customer fan base is really something. And good reason for it.
My wife was badly injured in a snow caused car crash in 1983. From then until we bought the first Subaru, she'd stay home if 6 flakes of snow fell in the county. And this even in the years we had our Suburban. Eight months after I bought my Outback, she bought hers. Snow isn't even a consideration now when she feels like driving 90 miles to see the grandkids.
The capabilities and handling of the Outback in bad conditions engenders an almost cocky sense of confidence. And with as many as are on the road, if there were serious mechanical issues, they'd be broke down everywhere.
I've seen exactly one on a flatbed in the 3 years I've been driving mine.


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Originally Posted by johnw
The head gasket issue was a real thing, and eventually caused problems for some owners. Subaru's reputation continued to build through the years that added up until an engineering mod fixed the problem.

From what I can see, and from my own experience, they are quickly becoming the most common car on the highway. Subaru's loyal customer fan base is really something. And good reason for it.
My wife was badly injured in a snow caused car crash in 1983. From then until we bought the first Subaru, she'd stay home if 6 flakes of snow fell in the county. And this even in the years we had our Suburban. Eight months after I bought my Outback, she bought hers. Snow isn't even a consideration now when she feels like driving 90 miles to see the grandkids.
The capabilities and handling of the Outback in bad conditions engenders an almost cocky sense of confidence. And with as many as are on the road, if there were serious mechanical issues, they'd be broke down everywhere.
I've seen exactly one on a flatbed in the 3 years I've been driving mine.

What year did they fix the head gasket issue?

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I had a 2005 Subaru Outback, that I drove until 2020. Had the head gasket changed in 2016. Needed it again in 2020. Best car ever as of now. I dogged that 4 cycl. Sold it at 214000 miles and got a Toyota Camry, glad I did, gas milage improved. Loved that Outback though. Carried a lot of stuff including 10 bags of 80LB coal and never missed a beat.

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Couple weeks back my truck was in the shop for a long while, dealership gave me a forester as a loaner. I can’t believe people pay money for these [bleep] things.

Different model for sure, but holy balls. Wind blew it all over the road, so squirrelly on packed snow I could’ve gone faster with my old 2wd half ton and some weight in the bed.

That being said, my son did have an 01 outback sedan that was pretty fun in the snow. Might just be model dependent?


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I had a couple Foresters. Older models, ‘98 and a ‘00.

First one lasted a year before it was totaled. Second one I ran for a few years. Thing was falling apart. Clutch, brakes, wheel bearings, starter, radiator, drive shaft/u joints, (and likely more I can’t recall at the moment) replaced and then finally a head gasket. It was pretty easy to work on and parts were cheap and available.

They’ll haul dogs, camping gear, etc….just fine. Even a couple deer, camp, and a buddy. Decent fuel mileage to boot. Mid 20’s. Great dirt road rocket and good in the snow.

All in all, not in a hurry for another wagon though. They were cheaply built, ugly as fugg, and lacked the usefulness of a truck.


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What I've seen over at the local comm college automotive shop with Subarus is the head gasket issues and the timing belt. They are an interference engine. Don't know how many have been seen in the automotive shop, usually owned by college staff members, that the timing belt went and the engine was blown. Of all the good things I've ever read about them, I personally wouldn't buy one, new or used.

Its almost like you have to drop the engine, to do anything beyond an oil change.

That being said, a relative bought one that had been traded in at the Subaru dealership in Louisburg WVa, and it had 40 K on it and needed something. His son was service manager at the time, and told his dad he could buy it for $1200. It was a Subie BRAT, and this was back in the early 90s of so....Kay had been injured in the Army after 16 yrs of service and got a Medical Discharge, he highly disabled. He drove that BRAT all over the place in Southern WVa, it seeing alot more dirt roads and fields than any paved road. He used it to herd cattle on hillside pastures, in all sorts of weather. He could have had his son take it to work and have the maintenance done for free but he never bothered. He figured that it was a $1200 car, so he just drove it like he stole it.

When he had it to where it was registering 170K, he had never done anything to the engine but change air filters here and there...when it needed oil he just added, which wasn't often. Hadn't changed the oil in 130,000 miles. It was chuggin still and he was up in Beckley at the VA and went over to the bank while there.. he comes out and some guy has his head in the open window.. Kay walks over and asks what the hell is he doing?

Guy says he's been looking for one of these, and can't find one. Would Kay consider selling it? Kay tells him everything is always for sale if the price is right. Guy says he just got out of the Army, is needing a car as he's borrowing dad's truck all the time. But he only has a budget of $1250 to spend on it, but he could do that in cash, now.. as his money is right in the bank Kay had just come out of.

Since he was a vet, Kay figured what the hell. Sure I'll sell it for that. They go into the bank, guy takes out the cash, Kay signs over the title, calls his wife on the bank phone to come up to the VA to pick him up, and asks the new owner to give him a ride over to the VA, which he does.

Wife gets up there an hour later, and asks did something happen to the BRAT, because she didn't see it... Kay tells her YUP it got sold.
What do you mean it got sold? A young guy fresh out of the army needed a car, and had $1250.00 cash, so I sold it to him for what I paid for it, 130,000 miles ago...time to tell Chuck I need him to be on the look out for another at the dealership getting traded in..

Kay's driven nothing but Subarus since he had that one...He's got a couple Outbacks in his back yard, that have shot engines....but each one has like 350K plus on them....and Kay is not one who changes his oil much. Little buzzards just keep on running for him...


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I owned a 2004 Outback, it had multiple issues and I offed it with 87k on it. Issues included wiring,headlights failing, cracked alternator, loose fuel line that was fixed under a service bulletin,transmission module. It rarely snows here but when I took it to WV one time it was not anymore competent on snow then a good
front wheel drive vehicle. It is still alive as of 215k but the owner has put a ton of money into it.

Just a few months ago I looked at 2 Ascents thinking that had to be an upgrade over that POS. I was wrong, seats are undersized, all materials inside were plastic and looked cheap and I could not get a good comfortable seating position. Both of these were 40K + and they were certified pre owned.

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