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Does anyone else think Subaru is garbage?

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge General Automotive Discussion Does anyone else think Subaru is garbage?

This topic contains 16 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Mark Cowan Mark Cowan 2 months, 1 week ago.

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    Topic
  • #660705
    Brad
    Brad
    Participant

    Hey everyone, just wondering if anybody else thinks subaru is garbage? I live in Vermont, and we pretty much have a 5 month winter so everyone has a subaru. It’s called “the unofficial state car of Vermont” on Subaru adverts. Seriously this place is crawling with Subarus, but I’m not quite sure why. Subaru’s fan base is pretty much a cult following, everyone thinks they’re the best and nothing even compares. The awd is actually amazing in the snow; I bought a 1999 legacy outback 2.5dohc 5 speed and you can dump the clutch at 4k in a icy road and it takes right off. There’s a good amount of wheel spin but using sane driving habits these kick ass in the snow. I’ve had the car 5 months and it has been a flying POS. It’s been one thing after another, all the normal Subaru stuff was done At 104k when I bought it (Heag gaskets, water pump, timing belt, etc.) on the drive home when I bought it it had horrible overheating issues, so I replaced the thermostat and it’s fine. It needed a wheel bearing a few weeks later. There’s electrical problems, the alternator failed and left me stranded a week later. There was some seal in the engine that caused the thing to leak oil like a seive (whole front end of the car was literally dripping with oil) and I had the mechanic replace that seal and the brand new clutch that was ruined by the oil spray to the tune of $600, because the motor had to be pulled to replace a $20 seal; and I didn’t have time to yank the engine. The shift linkage rattles like crazy, and the rust is starting to eat this car alive, 1/3 of the passenger rocker is gone, seriously there’s nothing but a hole. There is a LOUD exhaust leak I need to fix, and the car gets about 16mpg. I figure that’s from the exhaust leak throwing the O2 readings off. The dealer replaced brakes on 4 wheels but a caliper seized up front so I had to replace front rotors, pads, and passenger caliper. It uses half a quart every 500 mi or so, so I’m gonna replace the PCV and go from there. It’s slow as hell, and the A/C doesn’t work. I recharged it but it needs new o rings somewhere. There’s other stuff I’m forgetting for sure. Subaru cranks out junk, and doesn’t stand behind it because their cult members are there to buy/lease a new one every 3 years. I mean come on now, hg’s at 100k? Even the new ones have piston slap issues. Anybody else have a Subaru that is/was a miserable POS?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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  • #660709
    Jesse
    Jesse
    Participant

    [quote=”TokyoDrift99″ post=133505]Hey everyone, just wondering if anybody else thinks subaru is garbage? I live in Vermont, and we pretty much have a 5 month winter so everyone has a subaru. It’s called “the unofficial state car of Vermont” on Subaru adverts. Seriously this place is crawling with Subarus, but I’m not quite sure why. Subaru’s fan base is pretty much a cult following, everyone thinks they’re the best and nothing even compares. The awd is actually amazing in the snow; I bought a 1999 legacy outback 2.5dohc 5 speed and you can dump the clutch at 4k in a icy road and it takes right off. There’s a good amount of wheel spin but using sane driving habits these kick ass in the snow. I’ve had the car 5 months and it has been a flying POS. It’s been one thing after another, all the normal Subaru stuff was done At 104k when I bought it (Heag gaskets, water pump, timing belt, etc.) on the drive home when I bought it it had horrible overheating issues, so I replaced the thermostat and it’s fine. It needed a wheel bearing a few weeks later. There’s electrical problems, the alternator failed and left me stranded a week later. There was some seal in the engine that caused the thing to leak oil like a seive (whole front end of the car was literally dripping with oil) and I had the mechanic replace that seal and the brand new clutch that was ruined by the oil spray to the tune of $600, because the motor had to be pulled to replace a $20 seal; and I didn’t have time to yank the engine. The shift linkage rattles like crazy, and the rust is starting to eat this car alive, 1/3 of the passenger rocker is gone, seriously there’s nothing but a hole. There is a LOUD exhaust leak I need to fix, and the car gets about 16mpg. I figure that’s from the exhaust leak throwing the O2 readings off. The dealer replaced brakes on 4 wheels but a caliper seized up front so I had to replace front rotors, pads, and passenger caliper. It uses half a quart every 500 mi or so, so I’m gonna replace the PCV and go from there. It’s slow as hell, and the A/C doesn’t work. I recharged it but it needs new o rings somewhere. There’s other stuff I’m forgetting for sure. Subaru cranks out junk, and doesn’t stand behind it because their cult members are there to buy/lease a new one every 3 years. I mean come on now, hg’s at 100k? Even the new ones have piston slap issues. Anybody else have a Subaru that is/was a miserable POS?[/quote]
    Is this your ONLY Subaru that you’ve ever had? Judging a whole line of cars from just one vehicle isn’t fair to the manufacturer, especially a car that is close to 16 years old, in a harsh environment for vehicles. Do you know how the car was taken care of before you bought it? Did it receive all of its regular maintenance over the lifespan of the vehicle. I’ve seen Toyota’s that are known for being “bullet proof” fail at low mileages. No car manufacturer is immune to issues, especially if they are around 16 years old in an environment known for snow, and most likely salt.

    Head gaskets are a known pattern ware item with Subaru’s, every manufacturer has pattern ware items even Toyota’s, and Honda’s. My experience with Subaru’s has been pretty good, my family has always purchased them and they’ve all held up very well. My dad still has a Subaru from 1989 that has seen quite a few hard miles.

    Are Subaru’s as reliable as their cult says they are? No. They have certain quirks, and the parts prices are very expensive. Are they good vehicles? That depends on who you are, and what you like, but I would say yes. I think overall they are good vehicles, and have decent reliability.

    #660711
    Brad
    Brad
    Participant

    Yes it’s my first Subaru and probably my last. I also forgot that I needed to reseal the power steering pump because it leaked bad. I’m pretty sure it sat before I bought it. I know I can’t judge a who line of cars but this car seriously pisses me off. You have to admit that’s a lot of problems for 3k miles of driving. My brother has one and it’s been ok but not perfect. Toyota also have a cult following like no other. Ever seen a Scotty Kilmer vid? If somebody asks him what’s a good car he always says get a toyota end of story, everything else is junk. He constantly bashes other brands, such as anything luxury and GM. I digress, Subaru has left a bad taste in my mouth and idk if I’ll ever go back. I plan on buying a 70s or 80s American truck soon and be done with it. Yeah it’ll likely be a POS, but at least it’ll have character lol.

    #660716
    zero
    zero
    Participant

    A 16 year old car that is driven everyday, probably hard, is going to break down one way or another. Period. With a DD that old all you can really do is fix problems when they start to appear so they don’t leave you stranded. Things like oils seals are going to start to leak, the rubber simply breaks down over time.

    It’s also not piston slap, it’s the Subaru power knock. I’m not sure if it’s still a problem but around 2000 they were doing a lot of engine replacements because of it.

    If only someone made a website that showed people who know almost nothing about cars how to fix them….

    #660717
    Jesse
    Jesse
    Participant

    [quote=”TokyoDrift99″ post=133511]Yes it’s my first Subaru and probably my last. I also forgot that I needed to reseal the power steering pump because it leaked bad. I’m pretty sure it sat before I bought it. I know I can’t judge a who line of cars but this car seriously pisses me off. You have to admit that’s a lot of problems for 3k miles of driving. My brother has one and it’s been ok but not perfect. Toyota also have a cult following like no other. Ever seen a Scotty Kilmer vid? If somebody asks him what’s a good car he always says get a toyota end of story, everything else is junk. He constantly bashes other brands, such as anything luxury and GM. I digress, Subaru has left a bad taste in my mouth and idk if I’ll ever go back. I plan on buying a 70s or 80s American truck soon and be done with it. Yeah it’ll likely be a POS, but at least it’ll have character lol.[/quote]
    You bought a used car that is 16 years old in an environment that is notoriously tough on vehicles. When you buy a used vehicle there is always the risk that you are buying a car that was kept in poor repair, and not maintained properly. If the vehicle sat for a long time that could also lead to some big problems. I’m not surprised at all that you have been needing to make these repairs on your car. This is a common story that I’ve heard from people that I knew.

    Ultimately everyone has their own vehicle preference, however if you’re looking for a car that won’t give you any troubles I would suggest staying away from a 70s, or 80s truck. You complain about your Subaru, just wait until you get your hands on one of those puppies. If you’re buying one just for basic A to B transportation and you have no plans of wrenching on your own car I would strongly suggest you stay away, especially since you live in an area that will likely cause rust problems.

    If you just want a project car, go ahead and buy it, but be warned if you’re going to use these things for daily drivers unless you spend good money on one in good condition. Also any American Truck from this era will most likely be using carbs. Learning them can be a fun experience, but it can also be an agonising experience — especially if you live in a cold climate. Be prepared to learn how to adjust them, and tune em’.

    #660721
    Brad
    Brad
    Participant

    I don’t know “almost nothing about cars…” I actually know a pretty good amount. I do plan on DDing the truck, but it will be a project first. I’m gonna go down south and buy one, trucks from that era don’t exist around here due to cancerous rust. I know about carbs and how to tune them for the most part. I’ve messed with lots of carbs on small engines and snowmobiles. Obviously automotive carbs are more complicated, but I know how they work. But yes I do wrench on my own cars and I love to do it that’s why I want a American car from the 70s! The difference is that parts are cheap and I can work on it with a set of standard wrenches, a screwdriver, and a standard socket set. I really want to love this car but it drives me crazy. My comment about Subaru cranking out junk was harsh, and it may make me seem ignorant, but I’m really not. I was just especially fired up when I wrote that whole wall of text. I guess I just want a simpler vehicle with no computers.

    #660736
    Ryan Wofford
    Ryan Wofford
    Participant

    [quote=”TokyoDrift99″ post=133521] I guess I just want a simpler vehicle with no computers.[/quote]

    AMEN, but even if you come down here (I live in Texas) and buy a truck, the second you bring it up there the rust will begin. it will not last that long and thing will start breaking left and right similar to your Subaru. I do agree though on how much simpler it is to fix older cars compared to today’s vehicles, however today’s car’s have a lot less metal in them and therefore a lot less things to rust off honestly. One of the best mixes I believe for you would actually be an older land rover. they are aluminum bodies and I would get an undercoating put in the frame due to the fact that the frame is steel, if you can buy one that has minimal rust on the frame, get an undercoating put on and it will last for a long time and it will be easy to repair also with no computers. They all have 4WD and also the little 4 bangers are “Good” on gas however they aren’t big fans of the highway unless you get an aftermarket overdrive put on. Be ready for the hard starts in the morning though, Vermont winters and Carburetors are not friends.

    #660755
    Lorrin Barth
    Lorrin Barth
    Participant

    I own a Subaru, my wife’s car. We got it at 15K and it is now close to 60. It took me a year and a half to find an oil leak and fix it. The radiator went out a while back. The front axles threw grease from the factory. I fixed that with new boots. Water pump leaked and some of the timing stuff was all but shot at less then 60K. Electric door lock failed. Power steering hose leaked. It says right in the service manual this is due to cold weather. Maybe I should move to the tropics. The car also acts like it needs a clutch. That will be my next job.

    Anyway, the car reminds me of the DSM I used to own, it has a lot of great qualities, mostly associated with the AWD, But if you own one, DSM or Subaru, and do your own service and maintenance as I do, it will keep you busy.

    I’m not ready to go so far as to call the car garbage – at least not yet. However, the quality is less than some other vehicles I’ve owned. I will say I think the flat 4 engine they are so proud off ought to be replaced by a more conventional design. It is a headache to work on.

    #660773
    A toyotakarl
    Its me
    Moderator

    I have mixed feelings about Subarus… They are a neat car and the AWD thing is hard to beat if you live in certain areas, but I have not, and doubt I will ever be sold on the boxer engine… Yes they have proven can make a sideways (flat) engine and they tout “it has a lower profile than any other engine” then they put it in a vehicle which has a higher than average ground clearance…. Hogwash and Madison Avenue @#$t…. I may believe that it can help a Porsche, not so much a Subaru…. If you are going to make an engine that blows head gaskets at 100k miles, then at least make them easy to work on… The boxer just makes working on them that much more difficult..

    Another great one… Straight from Subaru “Flat layout allows engine output to flow directly into the transmission. This linear flow of power reduces engine components and inefficiencies, resulting in better fuel economy.” – Uhhhhh Can anyone name another mass produced passenger car made in the last 50 years that does not flow power directly (which comes from the crankshaft) directly into transmission (input shaft)?

    Here is an example of a typical Subaru visual reference which targets the feeble minded…. It essentially says “Look! any other type of engine is dangerous, unstable and out of control.. which can kill your wife, kids and family pet…. Ours is perfectly in line, thus perfectly in control which guarantees complete safety”

    JMHO

    -Karl

    #660775
    zero
    zero
    Participant

    [quote=”ToyotaKarl” post=133573]I have mixed feelings about Subarus… They are a neat car and the AWD thing is hard to beat if you live in certain areas, but I have not, and doubt I will ever be sold on the boxer engine… Yes they have proven can make a sideways (flat) engine and they tout “it has a lower profile than any other engine” then they put it in a vehicle which has a higher than average ground clearance…. Hogwash and Madison Avenue @#$t…. I may believe that it can help a Porsche, not so much a Subaru…. If you are going to make an engine that blows head gaskets at 100k miles, then at least make them easy to work on… The boxer just makes working on them that much more difficult..[/quote]

    It’s not so much that they’re any “harder” to work on. Just anytime you blow said head gaskets step one is literally, remove engine. Since they’re relatively up top and can easily come out the top, unlike most cars where you just drop the whole drivetrain out, I don’t think the labour for it is that bad. Plus then you don’t have to be hunched over an engine compartment working on it.

    #660776
    A toyotakarl
    Its me
    Moderator

    [quote=”DaFirnz” post=133575][quote=”ToyotaKarl” post=133573]I have mixed feelings about Subarus… They are a neat car and the AWD thing is hard to beat if you live in certain areas, but I have not, and doubt I will ever be sold on the boxer engine… Yes they have proven can make a sideways (flat) engine and they tout “it has a lower profile than any other engine” then they put it in a vehicle which has a higher than average ground clearance…. Hogwash and Madison Avenue @#$t…. I may believe that it can help a Porsche, not so much a Subaru…. If you are going to make an engine that blows head gaskets at 100k miles, then at least make them easy to work on… The boxer just makes working on them that much more difficult..[/quote]

    It’s not so much that they’re any “harder” to work on. Just anytime you blow said head gaskets step one is literally, remove engine. Since they’re relatively up top and can easily come out the top, unlike most cars where you just drop the whole drivetrain out, I don’t think the labour for it is that bad. Plus then you don’t have to be hunched over an engine compartment working on it.[/quote]

    I think I made my point better with your own statement…. “Just anytime you blow said head gaskets step one is literally, remove engine”

    We can agree to disagree!

    🙂

    Cheers!

    -Karl

    #661058
    Bluesnut
    Bluesnut
    Participant

    For what it’s worth, my experience may be a little deeper than most when it comes to Subarus. I’ve owned 3 of them and have worked for 3 Subaru dealers as a mechanic and shop foreman.

    They’re decent cars and I would not hesitate to buy another if the right deal presented itself.

    However, one thing that does grate on me is the perception that Subarus are bulletproof and the warm and fuzzy feel-good enviro baggage. They have their issues and a number of those issues go back a long way.

    As to their corporate heirarchy, I have a strong distaste for Subaru of America due to past dealings with them as both mechanic and shop foreman. The phrase “lying, stinking weasels” often comes to mind…..

    I could write a small book on some of the BS that I’ve been involved with when dealing with corporate Subaru. I find it disgusting for a company to send their rep around and smash a fortune in brand new OEM parts right off the shelves with a hammer in the name of “obsoleting” those parts. Parts which we needed each and every day and whose prices tripled or quadrupled immediately after sending those parts to the dumpster. “Trust us; the parts prices are not going up…”.

    #661188
    zero
    zero
    Participant

    I’ve heard some crazy shit… But that’s definitely up there.

    #661193
    Gary Brown
    Gary
    Participant

    [quote=”TokyoDrift99″ post=133511]Yes it’s my first Subaru and probably my last. I also forgot that I needed to reseal the power steering pump because it leaked bad. I’m pretty sure it sat before I bought it. I know I can’t judge a who line of cars but this car seriously pisses me off. You have to admit that’s a lot of problems for 3k miles of driving. My brother has one and it’s been ok but not perfect. Toyota also have a cult following like no other. Ever seen a Scotty Kilmer vid? If somebody asks him what’s a good car he always says get a toyota end of story, everything else is junk. He constantly bashes other brands, such as anything luxury and GM. I digress, Subaru has left a bad taste in my mouth and idk if I’ll ever go back. I plan on buying a 70s or 80s American truck soon and be done with it. Yeah it’ll likely be a POS, but at least it’ll have character lol.[/quote] Resident 70s American truck owner here. The guys are correct. If you get one you will have to constantly maintain it and it will most likely need work. These trucks have carbs, they start and drive differently something you will have to get accustomed to. I actually have a starting procedure AND and shutdown procedure that I regularly practice. If you look to my newest thread, I am replacing some rust and worn out cab mounts that have been on the truck for 41 years. This is a reality and I can only imagine, owning one will be worse in Vermont because of salt(something mine has never seen). You will have to learn how to time an engine, how to rebuild a carb and how to do basic electrical wiring. These are the realities of owning and driving an old old truck everyday.
    The plus sides:
    1. Very simple and easy to work on
    2.Cheap/highly interchangeable parts(especially on GM ie. 1 bellhousing fits all) GM essentially made the same truck from 73-87
    3.Character, soul and smiles everywhere you drive it

    My truck has been extremely reliable. I has never left me stranded, however I do an inspection every weekend and keep up on everything.

    As far as Subaru’s are concerned, they do indeed have a cult following and are not immune from flaws. They are decent vehicles however and I’m sure in VT the AWD comes in handy.

    #661205
    Bluesnut
    Bluesnut
    Participant

    Just to enhance my prior comment about smashing up new parts. The Subaru factory parts rep was usually around about once a month and one month he showed up and spent several days. Two days into his visit parts were laid on the floor all up and down every aisle in the parts departments and I just chalked it up to some kind of inventory tally or whatever.

    Going up to the counter one day to draw some parts I heard some loud hammering going on back there. Wondering WTH was going on I leaped up on the counter so I could see down one of the aisles and saw the rep using a 5 pound sledge on a new alternator.
    I yelled what the hxxx are you doing………….

    He then informed me that Subaru was obsoleting parts and that a car over 4 years old was going to be considered obsolete. They were buying these parts back from the dealers at cost LESS 10%. What a deal……….
    They were also to smash all parts with a hammer and send them to the dumpster. Brake shoes, master cylinders, alternators, windshields, gasket sets, it didn’t matter; they all got whacked. The smacked parts were loaded into the parts runner pickup and hauled around back to the dumpster with a number of loads involved.

    Needless to say, this ticked me off to no end because we relied on those parts to repair customer cars and the parts herd just got seriously thinned out leading to no parts, disgruntled customers, etc.
    Some dealers balked at this and refused to participate in the “Buy Back Program” as it was called.

    One good thing came of it. The rep got tired of whaling on things with that sledge and started throwing stuff out as it came off the shelf.
    I parked my Subaru next to the dumpster and every time I saw a load headed that way I’d go out a bit later and load my car up with brand new OEM parts. I hauled parts home every day for a week and still have some of that stuff; at least what I didn’t sell on eBay…..

    To me, this program was sheer idiocy and when I asked the parts rep if prices were going to skyrocket due to demand/no supply he said they would not. He either lied or was mistaken of course. The price of a cabin blower motor went from 80 bucks to 340 inside of 2 months.

    They also had a problem one time with a certain model going into a sudden speed wobble at highway speeds. The parts rep was calling in owners in the area and personally changing the pinion springs in the steering racks after having a lift set aside for his personal use. Dealer mechanics were not allowed to do this alteration and it was done the way it was for one reason; no paper trail and keep the Feds out of it.
    I actually confronted the rep about this and stated just that. He wouldn’t ‘fess up but did kind of smile and nod yeah.

    That’s only the tip of the iceberg but you can see why I use the lying stinking weasel phrase.

    #661570
    James Harold McNeil
    James Harold McNeil
    Participant

    Well, I wish that I knew where my post went when I hit “Reply.”

    ToyotaKarl, great post! The lower center of the engine gravity would not make any difference when the center of gravity is so high! I hate how my 1999 Forester with 122,000 miles corners, while my Dad’s F150 did so perfectly. I would not call Subarus garbage, although I have been disappointed with mine. I had not known that they were notorious for head gasket leaks and nobody suggested replacing it when I did the 105,000-mile maintenance.

    I have had the car for three years and 29,000 miles, although my ex-girlfriend drove it for one year. It was her “first car.” She actually tried to sue me for the less than five hundred dollars that she spent repairing the car while she drove it.

    I have been researching replacing the head gasket and one mechanic on YouTube said the hoses were soy-based and decomposed while you still needed them. I had three hoses go out, AC and power steering, and needed to have the AC purged and refilled. Then two tires dry-rotted in a year, and apparently another went out on my ex, which she did not see fit to replace. I replaced the battery and then so did she. I live in Arizona, so rust is not relevant, although I doubt the heat helped any of the components that I just mentioned. My ex complained on Facebook that she needed to replace the radiator, but admitted to not keeping the coolant topped off. A mechanic told me she replaced the brakes. I am not sure what else. I also could not get the driver’s door to lock and stopped using a mechanic after they refused to acknowledge their estimate or explained why they greatly passed it. They just billed for three hours sixty minutes after I dropped off the car.

    My ex messed up some stuff, like by backing into someone, but the dealership estimated $3,500 to replace the head gasket on a car valued $1,900 by Kelly Blue Book. I have had my Civic for eighteen months and have spent eight hundred dollars, $44.44 a month, to repair that.

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