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WRX Reliability?

I'm about to buy my first new car. I've been driving a ford explorer for several years now, and it's time to put her down for rest.

I'm looking into a Subaru WRX, limited edition, but I'm a little worried about reliability. I've done my homework, and it seems JD power's information says the Subaru lineup is nothing more than average. I've heard many people though, love their subie's, and find them to be extremely reliable.

I ask current WRX owners, and any Subaru owners their experience with their car. Are there any quibbles, or issues you've come into? Would you reccommend the car to me, over a honda or a toyota? Am I looking to spend much on repairs over time? Please let me know your honest opinion!
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Comments

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    You'll be happily suprised. Being a long time owner of Subarus (1988 XT6, 1989 XT6, 1992 SVX, 1994 Legacy Turbo, 1996 Impreza L, 1997 Legacy L) I can say they haven't been perfect, however they have never left me anywhere. Also having worked on 100s of WRXs, I can say they are definitely reliable. My 96 Impreza L with the original engine and transmission and 150k miles did over 10,000 track miles which are very hard on the vehicle, and that was an automatic! My 94 Legacy Turbo is my track car and it has over 150k original miles on it.

    -mike
  • I know that every car has it's faults, and I can easily say I've never been stranded in my car either. And I would call my truck reliable, as long as you bring it in for it's yearly $500-1000 problem fixing (It's a 13 year old truck...).

    The ford hasn't been all that bad. I just want something with fewer headaches. Something that has tiny issues, not fuel pumps, brakes, or water pumps. My neighbor's brand new Saab 9-3, for example, has been in the shop countless times and it's under a year old, for malfunctioning sun roof, dead radios (3 times!) and other things. Sure, it's under warranty, but I have better things to do with my time than be stuck at a subaru dealership, looking across the street at the honda dealership wondering why i never bought the civic si.

    So what kind of issues will i be looking at, if any??? Ford has it's brakes, and oxygen sensors, Dodge has its transmissions, GMC has its electronics... Does subaru have any common problems?
  • bkaiser1bkaiser1 Posts: 464
    I put 40,000 trouble free miles on my 04 WRX wagon before I sold it last year -- other than two minor recalls, it never needed to return to the dealership. Granted, 40,000 miles isn't all that much, but I've had other cars that couldn't stay away from the dealership in their first couple of years. The WRX was a solid, well built car.

    Before that, I owned a 2001 Outback that I put 60,000 miles on and, while it was probably my favorite car of any that I've owned, it also needed regular trips to the dealer for repairs under warranty...clutch problems, squeaks and rattles, paint issues, and two bad window regulators. I firmly believe that Subaru's Japanese-built cars (Impreza and Forester) are built better than their US-built mates (Legacy/Outback)...but that's just my impression after owning both. In spite of the little problems that I accrued with my Outback, I would buy another one tomorrow...it sounds silly, but that car fit me perfectly.

    Brian
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Depends on the model and the year.

    The EJ25 had head gasket issues up until MY2002 or so.

    Forester before 2003 and Imprezas before 2002 ate rear wheel bearings for lunch. Replace them with Legacy wheel bearings and you're fine, plus newer models have been far more robust up until now.

    Nothing really stood out a lot on Legacys, besides head gaskets prior to 2002.

    Tribeca - so far people complain about easy-to-break fog light covers and rear hatch struts that don't hold up the hatch properly in extreme cold, the latter fixed under warranty and supposedly changed now.

    No real major pattern of problems since MY2002, though.

    -juice
  • I have 106,000 miles on my '02 WRX wagon and have not have any out of pocket expenses other than a vanity mirror cover and routine scheduled maintance. Maybe 4-5 visits for a couple of recalls and minor warranty work, all resolved in a couple of hours, in the last 4.5 years. FWIW, I'm 48 years old and the WRX wagon has been by far the most reliable car I've ever owned. I've never subscribed to manufacturer loyalty before, but at least for now, I wouldn't dream of looking at anything else before at least considering a Subaru. I'm very fortunate to have Dan Dean service my vehicle at Martin Subaru. He's responsive to all my questions and/or concerns and keeps my vehicle running as intended.
  • hi. 2005 WRX sedan with approx. 31000 miles. no problems. i just do the scheduled maintenance. if this would be your first turbo engine, don't forget to let the car sit idling for 2-3 minutes after hard driving - let the fan do its work, then shut her off.
  • In regards to the turbo, would a turbo timer void a factory warranty?

    Please, keep your comments coming. The reason I'm asking is because I'm looking to spend wisely. The two biggest cars I'm looking into are the Subaru Impreza WRX limited, and the Honda Civic SI, a now Canadian built beautiful looking car... But does it have the same Honda quality? I'm willing to spend several thousand more for a car that wont cost me thousands down the road. So, again, please keep your comments coming, Subaru Owners!!
  • Since the early 90s. Toyota, Honda, and Subaru have been rated the top three in regards to reliablility.
    The Impreza model in particular, had the fewest customer complaints percentage-wise in various publications.
    My March 2001 WRX has 36,000 miles on it, oil changes have been the only expense so far.
    Car magazines and the press may deny it, but Japanese-assembled cars have always had better overall quality and longevity than U.S. assembled ones in my experience.
  • I too am considering the Honda Civic Si and the WRX as my next car. I had a 2003 WRX wagon that was totaled in an accident. That WRX had 40,000 trouble-free miles and I really enjoyed it. If Honda didn't offer the Civic Si in 4-door sedan form, I would buy another WRX in a heartbeat. However, I've always been a fan of high-revving Honda engines and the Si sedan package is very tempting. I've testdriven both cars and love each one's uniqueness. Reliability is not an issue with these two cars.

    As for the turbo timer, you don't need one. Today's turbocharged engines do not need the extra cool-down period. Subaru published an article to its mechanics explaining how the turbo flat four's design negates the need for a turbo timer.
  • anseranser Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 automatic WRX with 72000 miles (60 percent highway/40 percent city). Reliability has been outstanding. And it has only gotten better as the model year has advanced. No repairs. A couple of minor recalls in the first two years. Only routine maintenance done per the manual. As peppy as when I drove it out of the showroom the summer of 2001 (02 models came out in spring 2001). No wonder Subaru owners are fiercely loyal to the brand!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The 94 Legacy Turbo has been sitting in our garage since August, we've been gutting out the interior and preparing it for next years race season. Finally got it all back together last night, put on the alternator belt and put the battery back in.

    Guess what? She fired right up and ran pretty good for a car that has been sitting for close to 6 months!

    :)

    -mike
  • I have booth a 2002 civic and a 2002 2.5 wagon. both with over 100,000 miles. stay with Subaru the maintenance on the civic will kill you and the Subaru in town is much better with its higher torque.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    I was under the impression that the WRXs became better in terms of reliability the newer the models, with the '02 being the worst??

    With that said, have an '02 WRX with about 100K miles. My clutch just gave way (1st manual car owned) and had an issue with turbo boost that corrected itself, but generally has been very reliable.

    Had a few nits during the warrenty period, that once corrected, never resurfaced.

    Considering that I also had a Camry V6 that went over 100K miles, and had to invest more money and take it to the shop more often with issues than my WRX, I would have to say the Subi has been reliable.

    BTW, I considered the Camry to be reliable as well.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 02 was the first year model, plus it made performance affordable for a lot of young kids that abused the hardware a bit. A few transmissions bit the dust.

    The next year, MY2003, Subaru added a force-limiting valve on the clutch, basically a mechanism to prevent full-throttle launches where you dump the clutch.

    The fact that we stopped seeing transmission failures basically proves there was nothing wrong with the 02s, i.e. it was drivetrain abuse. Many of the cars were also modified.

    An unmolested 02 should be very reliable. An abused one will not, but what abused car would?

    -juice
  • lilbluewgn02lilbluewgn02 PAPosts: 1,084
    I also have a 2002 WRX wagon with automatic. I've had absolutley no problems in 51,000 miles. Just changed the brake pads recently, and here in Florida, it is great in the heavy rains we get...don't know how the Civic would handle. The wagon is great in terms of practicality...lots of stuff can be carried. My wife has a 2001 Legacy with 61,000 miles and also has had no problems.
  • I've a 2002 wrx wagon, 5mt, second shipment to North America.

    This car has a factory flaw of a chattering cold clutch and Subaru discovered the problem only after my 36k warranty had expired so no free fix for me. I'm still on the original clutch at 123k miles with no real trouble.

    - Replaced warped front rotors and pads at 30k miles under warranty
    - Fixed cruise control under recall
    - Speaker cut out on drivers-side rear door at 40,000 miles
    - Started leaking fuel at cool temperatures (~40 degF) at 115,000 miles (a pain because the intake manifold has to be removed to access the line--This was fixed in 2003 models with longer rubber section to account for metal fuel line shrinkage in cool weather)
    - Valve cover gaskets leak discovered at the 120,000 service

    I replaced all rotors and pads again at 90,000 miles, and pads only at 120,000 miles as I'm being far gentler to the car in its old age.

    I'm on my fifth set of rubber at 120,000. I consumed two sets of re92, one of yokohama avs-es100 which were awesome but I couldn't take them up to the mountains in winter. I'm now on my second set of sumitomo htr+ which are quiet and have long life.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    HTR+ how do you like em? I'm a BIG fan of them! The ES100s too as a street summer tire are great!

    -mike
  • Seems like you've had some serious problems. A 4 year old car should be a little less trouble some, no? You do have high mileage though...

    So the question to you is, would you buy one again? Or would you have a different first choice?
  • HTR+ aren't much of a performance tire for me. They have soft sidewalls which makes scrambling up steep broken pavement easy (which is what I've got to do to get to my house in the Pacifica hills.) They're certainly the best I've had on the highway.

    The ES100s improved handling a ton because of the super-stiff sidewalls. I'm still running the stock 16" wheels and those es100s made it feel like I was running a much lower profile tire than the car was wearing. Pretty loud on the highway and they wore through quickly but wow, so much fun! The RE92s were really quick to lose grip and the ES100s intimidated me enough that I rarely wanted to break traction. Great stuff.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yeah the HTR+ for me were great all-season tires. ES100s are about as performance as you can get for a street tire. Anything beyond it's capabilities you shouldn't be doing on the street :)

    -mike
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