How Many Miles Can I Get Out Of My Subaru?

How Many Miles Can I Get Out Of My Subaru?

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 car 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. The quality of 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. The best kept secret on how to reach 300,000 with your Subaru is to establish a good relationship with a great shop that specializes in Subaru service like All-Wheel Drive Auto. We will help you get there.

138 Responses to How Many Miles Can I Get Out Of My Subaru?

  1. Ben July 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    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!

  2. Justin Stobb July 8, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    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.


  3. Tanya Hogan September 20, 2010 at 3:01 am #

    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! :)

  4. george February 21, 2012 at 4:33 am #


    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!!!!!

    • Justin Stobb February 21, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

      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!


  5. Barbara February 29, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    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

    • Justin Stobb March 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

      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.


  6. Vanessa March 5, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    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!

  7. Charles October 6, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    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?

    • Justin Stobb October 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      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.


  8. clement October 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    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

    • Justin Stobb October 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

      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


  9. Martial Raymond October 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    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

    • Justin Stobb October 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

      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


      • Martial Raymond October 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

        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,


  10. Is October 19, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    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.

    • Justin Stobb October 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

      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


  11. Matt Lane October 31, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    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.


    • Justin Stobb October 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

      Hi Matt,

      The miles don’t scare me a bit, but that car should still be inspected before you buy it.

      Hope that helps


      • Mike November 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

        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.

        • Mike November 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

          I forgot to mention the Subaru model. It is a Legacy GT sedan and has been well maintained.

        • Justin Stobb November 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

          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


    • Donna Supinger October 24, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

      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.


      • Justin Stobb October 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

        Hello Donna,

        The 2005 Subaru Outback and will go to 300,000k and beyond, but that’s general advice without seeing the car in question.


  12. Don November 29, 2012 at 1:22 am #

    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?



    • Justin Stobb November 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

      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.


  13. Daniel January 2, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    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

    • Justin Stobb January 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      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.


  14. Mikala March 12, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    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

    • Justin Stobb March 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      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!


  15. Buck March 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    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.

    • Justin Stobb March 17, 2013 at 3:44 am #

      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.


  16. Jeff March 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    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?

    • Justin Stobb March 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      I like the FB 2.0l for the increased surface mass.

      It will be interesting to see it in Hybrid form at the New York auto show.


  17. kevin March 28, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    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.

  18. Jess April 9, 2013 at 2:26 am #

    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.


    • Justin Stobb April 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

      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


  19. Blondie April 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    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. :(

    • Justin Stobb April 15, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

      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.

  20. Mike Y May 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

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


  21. Elliott July 17, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    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

    • Justin Stobb July 22, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

      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.


  22. Beverly M July 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    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.

  23. Raj August 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm #


    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.


  24. Hannah August 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    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!!

    • Justin Stobb August 22, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      The Tribeca has been a great car, its really the same drive train as the H6 Outback, just a larger vehicle with a few more creature comforts..


  25. Rob September 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    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.

    • Justin Stobb September 4, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

      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


  26. Doug September 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    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!!!

    • Justin Stobb October 7, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

      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


  27. James October 8, 2013 at 12:44 am #

    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?


    • Justin Stobb October 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

      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.


  28. Ruth Lander October 11, 2013 at 1:47 am #

    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.

    • Justin Stobb October 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

      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.


  29. Mike October 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    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.

    • Justin Stobb October 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      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.


  30. Med November 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    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!

    • Justin Stobb November 13, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

      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


      • jennifer December 8, 2013 at 3:50 am #

        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

        • jennifer December 8, 2013 at 3:53 am #

          Subaru wax Wagon and the interior and body are a 10 out of 10

        • Justin Stobb December 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

          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.


  31. ann mcandrews January 2, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    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.

    • Justin Stobb January 3, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

      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.


      • PJ February 25, 2014 at 2:35 am #


        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.

        • Justin Stobb February 25, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

          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.


  32. Steve January 5, 2014 at 7:10 am #

    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.

    • Justin Stobb January 6, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

      Hello Steve,

      Awesome to hear!

      Thanks for posting!


  33. Christine hall January 31, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    I am looking at an 06 tribecca … Very excited, but the reviews seems mixed. Any insight?

    • Justin Stobb February 5, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      I like the Tribeca, its not for everyone but you should always buy what you like and always have a prepurchas inspection performed.


  34. Whitney February 14, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

    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

    • Justin Stobb February 17, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

      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.


  35. Alex February 22, 2014 at 4:38 am #

    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,


  36. Alex February 22, 2014 at 5:19 am #

    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,


    • Justin Stobb February 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

      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.


  37. Trey February 26, 2014 at 5:45 am #

    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!

    • Justin Stobb February 26, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

      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.


  38. Kelsey February 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    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?

    • Justin Stobb February 27, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

      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.


      • Kelsey March 1, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

        Thank you! I appreciate the input.

  39. Jane March 6, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    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?

    • Justin Stobb March 6, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

      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.


  40. sebastian March 14, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    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

    • Justin Stobb March 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

      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?


  41. John March 19, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    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.

  42. Rhoda Martin March 25, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

    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?


    • Justin Stobb March 26, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

      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.


  43. John March 31, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    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.


    • Justin Stobb March 31, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

      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.


  44. Tony M. April 9, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    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.


  45. Dave May 13, 2014 at 2:41 am #


    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.


    • Justin Stobb May 19, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

      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.


  46. Mile May 23, 2014 at 1:32 am #

    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

    • Justin Stobb May 28, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

      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.


  47. Jonathan June 4, 2014 at 5:30 am #

    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.

    • Justin Stobb June 5, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

      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.


  48. Mark June 25, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    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.

    • Justin Stobb June 26, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

      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.


  49. Julie July 9, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    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

    • Justin Stobb July 16, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

      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.


  50. Sydney July 12, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    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

    • Justin Stobb July 16, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

      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.


  51. David Sheehy July 22, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

    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?

    • Justin Stobb July 23, 2014 at 5:39 am #

      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


  52. radha Lakshmi July 30, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    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.

    • Justin Stobb August 4, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

      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.


  53. fskchun August 6, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    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?



    • Justin Stobb August 11, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

      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.


  54. Sarah August 31, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    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?

    • Justin Stobb September 3, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

      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.


  55. Doben September 1, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

    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


    • Justin Stobb September 3, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

      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.


  56. Jennie September 5, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    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

    • Justin Stobb September 9, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

      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.


  57. Jennifer September 7, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    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?

    • Justin Stobb September 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

      Hello Jennifer,

      I like the idea but only if the car itself checks out during a pre purchase inspection.


  58. Tammy Baumgartel September 15, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    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?

    • Justin Stobb September 16, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

      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.


  59. Taylor Jimenez September 24, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    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?


    • Justin Stobb September 25, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      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


  60. Matt September 26, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    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?

    • Justin Stobb October 8, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

      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.


  61. John Moran October 7, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    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

    • Justin Stobb October 8, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

      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


  62. Trand Seymour July 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm #


    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.

    • Justin Stobb July 10, 2015 at 7:55 am #

      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


  63. Joe July 27, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

    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.

    • Justin Stobb July 28, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

      Hello Joe,

      Awesome Post!


  64. Sherri July 28, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

    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?

    • Sherri July 28, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

      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.

    • Justin Stobb July 29, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

      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


  65. Gary August 20, 2015 at 12:46 pm #


    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



    • Justin Stobb August 25, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

      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.


  66. Nick September 11, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

    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!


  67. Helen sieger October 17, 2015 at 6:34 am #

    Please can you tell me how good a 2009 subaru forester will be…it was bought from a subaru dealership who said they maintained it.. no accidents

    • Justin Stobb October 20, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

      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.


  68. Dan November 19, 2015 at 11:31 am #

    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


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