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Subaru Reliability



  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    The wheel bearing and clutch weren't covered by the drivetrain warranty?

    I've got 66k on my Forester and hopefully the clutch will last at least double that.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Wheel bearings should be, but clutch, no. That's usually wear and tear.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    wear and tear Good point.

    Clutches wear out at significantly different rates depending on driving conditions (city vs highway) and driving habits (jack rabbit starts, slipping the clutch, etc). For instance, it's not uncommon to hear about a young "enthusiastic" driver needing a new clutch before 20k while others can go for more than 150k miles without replacing their clutch. In my case, I sold my Jeep with over 125k miles on the original clutch and fully expect to approach if not exceed that mark with the Forester :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    I sold my Forester with nearly 90k miles and it was on the original clutch.

    A friend of mine had an Impreza 2.5RS, 2 years newer, and was on his 2nd clutch (an ACT model) within a couple of years. He abused it, though.

    AWD burnouts sure are cool but you gotta pay to play! :D
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... I sold my Forester with nearly 90k miles and it was on the original clutch. "

    Sold my Mazda truck with over 150k miles and original clutch, which had pulled 2000 lbs of boat and trailer every summer since 1991.
    Having been a passenger in many manual transmission cars in the past 50 years, I have noticed that very few people use the clutch in a way that will get the most life from it. They are not abusive, but they just don't know.
  • djensondjenson Posts: 2
    Do not get the fabric seats in the 2006-2008 model years. The fabric frays on the seams and even though the car is covered by warranty and they replaced the seat fabric once (with same stuff) the latest current offer is to do my 30000 mile service free. Get the leather and be fore warned the light beige color is a bear to keep clean! I have been dealing with both the dealership and Subaru since August over this problem and I am close to just trading in and going back to a Ford. Ford's I have had in the past always had great warranty coverage for any problem.
    Love the car on ice & snow, so far no other problems but the interior fabric.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ford refused to replace windshield seals on my 1991 Escort GT. My fuel tank opening developed rust and all they could offer me was free undercoating (they didn't even apply it in that area).

    Both happened under warranty.

    Seats are a wear item, to be honest I'm surprised they even replaced the covers for you the first time.

    Another thing - the X model gets different fabric than the upper trim lines. Just check that out before you decide.

    I wouldn't count on the warranty to fix any of that stuff, from any make to be honest.
  • Regarding my original post about the clutch. The Forester was my wifes, but she had a Toyota Tercel and a Nissan Sentra before that and had over 120K on each and the clutch was fine.

    Like I said, perhaps are Subaru Kharma was bad or something because I know others have great luck with them.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,148
    That is surprising, to me, about the cloth interior. If true and widespread, it would certainly be a step backwards considering 220K miles on my '96 Outback with no problems at all with the cloth. But, if I did have problems with it during the warranty period, you can bet I would hold the manufacturer liable. Failed stitching over that time frame is unacceptable and is certainly a defect. Even ingress and egress every few miles over 30,000 should not cause failure due to wear.

    That said, I had no problems with the cloth on either of my newer Outbacks (07 and 08) with about 7500 miles put on each.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thing is, they change fabrics used often, some times in just one or two years.

    My 98 had a thick woven fabric that turned out to be very durable, but didn't feel soft, like the fabric on the higher trim line (S models). But that softer velvet-textured fabric was less durable, as a trade-off.

    paisan pointed out in another thread that lark6 used to rest his elbow on the window sill and the fabric there had some wear.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,148
    That is true. My '96 had the woven fabric as well. That stuff was fantastic, but no, it did not feel soft at all. :D
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    The seat fabric on my '01 Forester S has worn quite well (I just cracked 170 K this weekend) despite my early concerns that it might not be very durable. However, like juice mentioned regarding Ed's car, the fabric on the driver's door panel window sill has also worn, from me using it as an arm rest. Not worn through, but definitely worn noticeably.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You must drive a lot with the windows down. I never really rested my elbow there.
  • desoto4desoto4 Posts: 1
    Our forester is a '99 GT auto and it is the most problem car we've ever owned.Before we bought it in 2003 we asked around about the forester for beach work and camping and all round good car and the forester was commonly mentioned.But how wrong were they. After one trip on the beach it destroid a g/box seal then starter motor twice then wheel bearings then radiator then steering rack twice and other rattles , and also when we hooked up our new camper trailer for a three our trip the suspension dropped to about 2 inchs from the ground and not much weight.We were told this is common on many of those things. Plus there are many minor interior faults also(rattles,dash problems,electics) Now the brakes are shaking......I give up..piece of junk. I much prefer my old mitsubishi scorpion work hack for every day driving.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like you need a true truck. Get something with skid plates and a low range.

    FWIW, I owned a 98 Forester and drove in on sand often. It was fine. Owned it for 9 years. Sold it and got 30% of what I paid for it back.

    It was great.

    Better luck with your next car. Truck, I should say.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Plus they bought it used. While you save a lot of money that way, the trade off is there's always the possibility that the previous owner abused it :sick:

  • drmom2drmom2 Posts: 1
    I'm looking at a 98 forester with 216k one owner well maintained - am I crazy or do these vehicles have the same milage potential as toyota ect? Please help
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They do, and I saw one on E-bay with 276k miles, but still.

    216k miles is 216k miles. It will all come down to how the car was maintained.

    If it's made it this far, though...they must have taken care of it.

    Inspect the head and valve cover gaskets, and the front and rear main seals, all for oil leaks. Drive the car with the radio off and the windows open, and do a figure 8. That will reveal is any diffs or axles are bad.

    If it's smooth, then wow! That's all I can say.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    At 216k you are going to have bushings breaking down on it. If the price is right and you are going to use it local, it may be worth it. However a long highway cruiser it will likely not be.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,785

    My impression is that service life is similar to a Toyota although frequency of minor niggles does tend to build up as mileage grows. I have found it revealing that so many Subaru drivers keep their cars to 300,000km plus (say 188,000mile) and then buy another.

    The comments by others that this might not be a long distance cruiser at this age are pretty accurate but could be modified if the car has been used carefully for long distances rather than hard driven in the past.


  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    It depends on what you mean by your question. If a Forester and Toyota are maintained, then the Forester has the same mileage potential.

    But compared to a Toyota, Foresters have a more complex motor and drive train. Double the heads and cams, interference valves that will ruin the motor if the timing belt is not changed on schedule, and a more complex drive drain with more differentials and clutches. And your era Forester also had head gasket problems.

    So to maintain a Forester well is going to take more and cost more than maintaining a Toyota well. The question is whether that level of maintenance was done for the 216k one owner Forester. Likely it was, or it would not have made it that far. But are you willing to pick up the continuing responsibility at this late point in its life?
  • If you read CU you will see their repair listings for most Subarus are good for about the first 5 years, after which engine and driveline problems show up. Most Toyotas do better than that.
    However, in the newer ('03 and on) Subarus, the issues putting them on CU's charts (bad head gaskets, timing belts, wheel bearings, etc.) have supposedly been fixed.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Those original head gaskets have lasted 216k miles already, so any failure now would be overdue.
  • You are right. The reliability is terrible. My experience is based on 2009 xt 4ats that had the engine completely seize. Sounded like silverware in a disposal for a few minutes.
    Dealer called me to tell me I need a new engine today. The car has 9600 miles on it. All of the maintenance was done by Subaru at the recommended intervals.
    This car is such a piece of Junk. Subaru of America is not to helpful either.

    Very disappointing. I made the mistake of believing all of the reviews.
  • Anyone else had their 2009 XT Forester had their engine completely fail.

    Dealer called me back to tell me that the car needs a new engine. This is on a car that has 9600 miles!!! Plus, all of the maintenance was done by Subaru at the proper intervals, etc. What an incredible piece of junk. Very disappointed.

    Of course; it didnt help that the car engine crapped out thanksgiving night in the snow with my kids in the car....on a remote road in northern michigan.

    DONT BUY THE will pay.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    There are good and bad cars made by every and I mean EVERY manufacturer.

    One bad car does not make a bad brand. Sorry that your engine blew up, but any mechanical item (space shuttle included) can and will break.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yours is the first to do that. Sorry for your bad luck.
  • bvf925bvf925 Posts: 12
    I had the original 1998 Forester for 8 years and loved it however, the paint faded fast on the hood, I had to replace the right front brake caliper 3 times, the heat shield constantly loosened up & vibrated annoyingly, and I hated the ugly giraffe cloth seat pattern. BUT, it was fantastic in the snow which is why I mainly bought it. I live in New England with hilly, winding, un-plowed streets. The Forrester never slid, got stuck, or disappointed me one bit. I was going to trade it in for another Subie, but the price was higher by 2005, and many things I wanted were additional add-ons but standard features on other brands. So, I went for a CR-V. Love it except for the handling in snow. It's worthless.

    I test-drove the new 2010 Forester a few weeks ago and I have to say I was not impressed. How disappointed I was. My Honda is like a Cadillac compared to the new Forester with it's cheap plastic chrome looking interior, it's cramped interior, and it's harsh ride. The moon-roof is awesome though. Love the new exterior styling over my 1998 Forester. Why does Subaru continue to have lousy stereo systems? I would have to downgrade from my current 6 CD, Cassette, 6 speaker standard stereo for a chintzy 4 speaker, 1 cd system? If I went from a 1998 Forester right to a 2010 Forester, i'd be in love. But taking a walk on the "other side" and going back is a let-down. Also after reading so many reviews here on the forums, i'd have to say the reliability has gone down-hill with Subaru. I am sad to say I may not ever buy another one even though their AWD is 2nd to none. :(
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Try an Outback - the interior is a bit nicer.

    I'm sort of puzzled when CR-V owners say that - I looked closely at one, and all the plastics are hard, the headliner is peach-fuzz on cardboard, the carpets are thin, and the door grab handles are painted silver and will wear prematurely (to be fair Honda fixes that last one for 2010).

    I think the interior styling is more subdued so perhaps it doesn't stand out as much as the Forester's, but if you look closely, materials are basically on par with the Forester, and well beneath the Outback's (check out the fabric, padded headliner and matching texture on the pillars).
  • bvf925bvf925 Posts: 12
    You are right, ateixeira - I did sit in an Outback and liked the interior better, and the seat was higher and more comfy too.

    My CR-V is the square body style, not the new rounded, ladybug/VW Bug style. Mine has zero fake chrome on the inside. The interior is subdued and basic monotone which is probably why I find the new Forester interior kinda' space-like and shockingly ugly (for lack of better definition).

    We'll see what happens, but I will take an Outback out for a ride when I decide to make the change. Thanks for your input!
This discussion has been closed.