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Subaru Legacy: Typical high-mileage repairs?

jeijei Posts: 143
We have a 1992 Legacy AWD wagon with 175,000
miles, which is still reliable and in generally
good shape. We have done the usual oil changes
every 3-4,000 miles, and normal preventative
maintenance such as timing belt replacement and
brake jobs every 60K or so. However, we did have to
rebuild the automatic transmission at 170,000
miles, which by many standards is a good track
record. Now the center differential / clutch pack
is feeling tight during sharp turns (at low speed
of course). - This could be another expensive
repair. I'm beginning to wonder how much longer
this car will stay healthy and robust without
needing large infusions of cash.

QUESTION: What MAJOR repairs have you needed to
make and at what mileage or age? Did they come up
suddenly? How many miles do you have on your


  • Hi. I've got a '92 Loyale (not quite as good as the Legacy, but comparable). It has 125,000 miles on it. Recently, I've had to replace the front/rear brakes(108K), entire exaust(115K), front CV joints(118K), water pump, timing belt and drivetrain(124K), muffler (125K), and more. I think the thing is rotting away, actually. Seems like you've done well with your Subaru so far, but I wouldn't count on it much longer! Subarus can get expensive to repair.
  • nmgnmg Posts: 1
    I have 101,000 miles on my Subaru. So far, the only problem I had was that the shafts had to be replaced because I didn't replace the CV boots on time so they cracked and caused the shaft damage. I also had the brakes overhauled(new calibers, etc.) Lately the "check engine light" started coming on along with rough idle and very poor performance. I replaced the plugs but it didn't help. Then,the battery went dead. I replaced the battery and now it is running fine and the check engine light hasn't come on so far.
  • Sounds like the light was trying to tell you of a charging system problem, which can include bad cells in the battery. If the battery was old, that is probably what it was. If not, watch for another light and alternator replacement.

    Have all of you been happy with the performance of you Subarus? I am debating between the new sedan and a Maxima. I live in the south so the AWD may not me needed. Is it worth getting?
  • Camydog....tough predicament. I have a Maxima 98
    and Subaru 96, it is a matter of what driving you will do and what are you going to transport.

    When it is bad weather- Subaru of course. Other
    wise, which ever car is closest ( if my wife is not going out because she cannot drive standard
    trans.) Good Luck!
  • We have 124,000 miles on our subaru. Repairs so far include; starter, cv boots, axles; timing belt; wheel bearing. Other costs, the usual brakes, reg oil change.
    Our check engine light is often on & I know our battery is old. I will change the battery to see if the light will stop coming on. We also have the same problem as JEI, the trouble with low speed turns. I have been contemplating taking it to the dealer. Any ideas of repair cost?
    The legacy is a great car.
  • Ours is a Subaru Legacy 1993, but with only 96K on
    it. We had heard a lot of good about its
    reliability, but after a lot of the normal repairs noted above, and major ones such as having to replace a wheel bearing at 40K, we are now told we have the crank pulley bolt backing out, which may have damaged the keyway and/or shaft, which will very likely necessitate a
    new engine. (BTW, the mechanic we use is completely trustworthy, and in fact has had to refer this on to someone else, so there are no ulterior motives.)This vehicle was METICULOUSLY cared for, oil changes every 3K, etc., etc., is only driven by my wife who is a very conservative
    driver, but has left my her stranded twice now,
    while a little "junker" Hyundai Excel that I drive
    the heck out of, with the same milage has only ever had the alternator replaced, and has been
    competely reliable, with almost identical milage. We are very disappointed, to say the least, and as we need to buy two new vehicles in the near future, I guess this will end our experience with them. So, whether the repair costs themselves are high or not, the actual NUMBER of major repairs - even if they were of average cose - makes this a prohibitive proposition.

    As it looks like I will have to replace the engine, anyone know where I can get a rebuilt one? (email me at if you want).
  • Judging from your mileage, most of you are about ready to replace your Legacy - will it be another Subaru? If not, which car-manufacturer do you think will deliver better reliability?
  • crb5crb5 Posts: 1
    My Legacy crossed the 200,000 mile mark this month. I had to have the front axle assemble replaced today and the clutch at 85k. Other than that the main trouble I've had has been with the AC. Had most of it replaced about 2 years ago and it has recently stopped working again. I've tried to keep the oil changed but will confess that I've gotten slack in the last couple of years and have started letting it go 7k or more without changing it. Will be replacing it in the next month or two with something with a little more leg room and an automatic transmission. Sadly, it will probably not be a Subaru. Mine has been very reliable.
  • As my title says, My Legacy has 124,000 on it. But, as much as I love Subaru's, I have to say that it has not been without problems. The car has had four recalls, which include, camshaft sensor, crankshaft sensor, alternator, and the front tow hooks had to be cut off because if they hit a speed bump or any obstacle in the road, the air bags would deploy. Also, my manual transmission had to be replaced (not under warrenty) due to a bad input shaft and case. That major repair was done last month (November). I bought a used transmission for $600.00 and had a dealer install it. My regular mechanic didn't want to tackle the job. At the sametime, I had the timing belt replaced, and the water pump done also. The pump wasn't bad, I just figured while they are there replacing the timing belt, just replace that too. So, the grand total for this rapair, including transmission, cost, $2100.00. What really bothers me about the transmission is, I have always had five speeds, and have had three Subaru's prior to this one and they all had sticks. They all were high mileage cars when I sold them, and I never had a trnsmission problem with any of them. When mine failed in my Legacy, I called Subaru to ask if they had any service bulletins concerning manuals, and if not what could they due to help me. Now I wasn't expecting them to pay for the whole job, but anything would have been nice, even an apology would have been nice. After all, I have been a loyal customer since 1984, but nothing, all I got was a rude customer service person that said,"what do you expect us to do, do you expect your car to last for ever?" No I do not. But with 90 percent of my driveing being highway, I would expect it to last longer than that. I told the rude person on the phone that I would have to think long and hard about buying another Subaru, she said,"I'll note that in the computer". Well thank you Subaru for standing behind your products. So, to answer anyone's question out their about buying a Subaru, think long and hard before doing so, and if you do, purchase an extended warrenty for those BIG repairs as it ages. Also I would like to add that I took immaculate care of this vehicle.
  • ... Unfortunately, I don't think one can rely on ANY car to go much beyond (or even reach)100K miles without requiring some major work (and that includes our '90 Honda Accord which also started "showing its age" after hitting the century mark). But certainly there is no excuse for the way your call was handled by SOA!
  • My 93 Legacy sedan with 105K has never been trouble some. In fact it run perfect, the tranny is still smooth and the engine is strong. The only problem has been warping rotors and the paint wearing off the trim around the doors, (which every other Subaru Legacy I see is suffering from). This car has been so reliable when compared to the Audi 90 series (which I loved except it was always needing repairs. I've been thinking about selling my Subaru, anyone have an idea what a reasonable price to ask would be.
  • You can check kelly blue book on line. I live in the Northeast and recently saw a Legacy Wagon with 200k miles for an asking price of $1,999.

    Four wheel drive universal on my Legacy went bad, now driving on fwd only! Not sure if I want to spend the $ to have it repaired. I am also getting a thumping noise in front left wheel area. I'm going to have that checked soon.
    Engine and tranny seem to be fine. Original trans fluid still looks fine.
  • My wife's car is a '96 Legacy Outback which I bought with 40K on the clock. Within two weeks of purchase it started pouring oil out of the engine. Thankfully, the dealer I bought it from had a 90 day warranty and covered replacement of all seals and timing belt.

    In the 2+ years and 35K miles since, we have had problems with the shifter not coming out of park which the local Subaru dealer fixed after four attempts and several hundred dollars. The alternator and battery went out, which wasn't that expensive but very annoying since we were on vacation and were stranded 500 miles from home on a Sunday. Once we did get it started with a new battery, every light on the car blinked all the way home.

    Recently the engine started pouring oil out, again. This time the repairs (all engine seals, water pump, and cam gear which the dealer broke during repairs) cost me almost $1000 dollars.

    I seriously doubt this car will see 100K miles and it will be a cold day in hell before I would consider buying another Subaru.
  • 12481248 Posts: 1
    I have a 1995 Legacy sedan. Replaced front engine seals along with timing belt change at 115000 miles. Just brought car in for check engine light on. I need new catalytic converters to the tune of $900. Up to now the car has been great. I hope this is not the beginning of increased maintanence and repair costs.
  • I have a Legacy 2.5 GT with an Auto, trans. I had been a Honda driver for years but wanted an all wheel drive vehicle that was very reliable and got good gas millage. I did some research and the reliability ratings had the Subaru's just a bit above the Honda's.

    The 96 models only came in auto trans, no problem for me because I love remote starters on my cars, they are great.

    I have had very few repairs need over my 95'000 miles. I did have voltage regulator that controlled the heater, stereo, lights go out. I just recently had to have a seal replaced(by timing belts) there was a very small leak. Other than the 60k mile timing belt and spark plugs tune up I have not had to put any money in the car. It has been very reliable. the transmission does shift a little rough from first to second but other than that I have no complaints.

    I have used synthetic motor oils and change every 5k miles. I Recently went on a 500 mile trip got 30 miles to the gallon driving 65 to 75 MPH, my normal millage is about 25 MPG depending on conditions.

    I am thinking of getting a 2000 Outback Wagon or Sedan at the end of the month. I would be very interested in comments from those that have the new 2000 Outback Wagon or Sedan.


  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    If you use the Search feature at left to find all topics containing Outback you will find a whole lot of discussions in our Wagons Conference. Those folks are all talking about the 2000 Outbacks.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • My 90000 mile legacy wagon awd has air struts which allows you to increase the height with the push of a button. Now the front fenders are almost hitting the tires. Obviously there's no airr at all in the front struts. A leak? After running the engine for a short while and then turning it off, you can hear air coming from somewhere near the front. How to check? New/rebuilt struts? The dealer said for usd 2,000.00 I'll be all set. I bet!
  • ohvohv Posts: 1
    We're sitting at 125,000 on our 1992 Legacy Wagon, with _no_ major repairs of any kind. We've just
    changed the oil every 3k, and done routine work.

    This is the most reliable car that I, my family, my relatives, or my close friends have ever experienced.

    We're shopping again now. We're probably going to sell to relatives, and buy another one. It's hard not to. I've thought about the Volvo V70 AWD XC, but it just doesn't nearly meet the reliability numbers.

    It's a boring car, but man it's been a good investment.
  • kl44ikl44i Posts: 1
    I'm right at 125,000 with my '94 Legacy wagon, but if this is any help, it's been extraordinarily reliable thus far. It's a 5spd; I replaced the clutch at 115,000; timing belt once at 70k; brakes were done once, and a "knock sensor" ($190 repair) at around 100k. That's all. I'm looking forward to another 120K miles on my Subaru. As for the person who had all the problems, I'd say two things. They bought their car in '95, which was the first model year of a complete redesign for Subarus. While it shouldn't have been that unreliable, in general, I'd avoid buying a car that's just been redesigned if you're at ALL concerned about reliability. Second, it sounds like SOA treated them pretty poorly--if I had a similar experience, I probably wouldn't buy another Subaru either.
  • my subie has 111k on it as of now. i got this car in december with 103k on the clock. i put alot of mileage on a car quickly, and this car has been a very reliable vehicle so far. i dont "crap" around with the car, i just drive the heck out of the thing. i follow all severe service mant. schedules in the manual, with one exception: timing belt. i have no idea if this has ever been changed, and dont want to pay to find out. is there something that i can do to check on this? also what happens if the belt brakes? does this car have clearance between the valves and pistons to prevent them from crashing into each other or what? i am a broke college student, and need to save any money i can. oh and i love the 4 speed auto, the power light gets alot of use. car is wonderful in corners, due to the low center of gravity from the horizontally opposed boxer engine. very nice car, that was cheap.
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