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Old 07-09-2003, 02:43 AM   #1
d0hboy
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Have a Nice Day? Any long term subaru maintenance/troubles?

In my car research, I'm getting the feeling Subaru's are way more expensive for maintenance/parts. I hear that two reasons are it's AWD machinery being inherently a little more complex than your avg. FWD, and that there simply aren't as many Subaru's on the road in Canada/US.

Are there any major problems that start to crop up on Subarus past 5- or 10-years of ownership? Auto Transmission problems? AWD drivetrain stuff? How has your experience been with impreza's as they age? I'm looking for stuff to watch out for, because I really don't want to get burned by some crazy cost down the road as I have to replace a major component.

How about resale value in relation to, say, Mazda? VW? Other imports?

(Moderators, don't know if this belongs in this forum so move as necessary)
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Old 07-09-2003, 08:30 AM   #2
ws6fiero
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Auto transmissions have had problems in the past, but I wouldn't worry about it anymore. Obviously, like you said, an AWD car has more parts to break/wear out. Still, they are very good cars. The only thing you might consider is that parts are a bit more expensive than they would be for a domestic car.

Resale value is pretty good for Subarus... I don't know what comparison I can give, but I found that used Subarus were more expensive than I would've liked when I was shopping for mine.
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Old 07-09-2003, 08:57 AM   #3
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There are many reports of manual tranny problems, so you may want to take it easy on that. There's obviously a reporting bias (since independent surveys such as Consumer Reports fail to show a big problem), but it is the most frequently reported problem on these message boards.

I have also noticed that Subaru resale values are insanely good. In fact, they seem better than Honda's and Toyota's. I saw many used WRX vehicles with 10,000 miles selling for just $1000 under a new WRX's invoice price!
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Old 07-09-2003, 04:36 PM   #4
d0hboy
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Cool last long, but maintenance costs?

I've seen resale values hover around average; the WRX's are obviously a hot commodity so they stay high, but the other models follow the import avg for that year..

What I'm left to rely on is anecdotal evidence, some of which say they are rock solid and some of which have horror stories.

I'm not considering a domestic car, so basically the consideration would be between parts prices for german cars (historically, those prices are up there) and japanese cars (which tend to be expensive yet plentiful by virtue of so many of the same model out there)
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Old 07-09-2003, 08:16 PM   #5
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I think what it really comes down to is that no car is engineered perfectly. You have to accept that, regardless of what car you buy, there is a chance that you may have problems. So go with the car that fits you , not just the one that seems like it will be the most economical in the long run. Your own enjoyment is actually worth something. I think that at this point in time, most manufacturers have the mechanical aspects of their cars pretty well worked out. They are simply perfecting their cars. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that IMHO, one modern car is just as reliable as the next.

And about the manual transmission thing: the general consensus seems to be that many of the failures are due to abuse and modified engines. So if you decide to buy a subaru with a manual, don't let this trouble you. Just don't abuse the tranny.

Lastly, consider that subarus actually are rally inspired. This is not just a line of BS. Subaru does cater to the production-class rally crowd. While this doesn't mean that every Subaru is rally-worthy, it should give you some peace of mind. Rallying is capable of breaking just about anything on a car, so this means that Subaru engineers probably know about, and have addressed, any weaknesses in their designs.
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Old 07-09-2003, 10:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by ws6fiero
I think that at this point in time, most manufacturers have the mechanical aspects of their cars pretty well worked out. They are simply perfecting their cars. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that IMHO, one modern car is just as reliable as the next.
I'm sorry ws6fiero, but I don't buy your first statement above. Not all cars are engineered with the same quality or craftsmanship. Reliability can be vastly different between manufacturer's as a result. I can tell you one thing......I will never own another GM product. My '93 Chevy Silverado was the biggest piece of crap I ever owned. In the ten years I drove it (106,000 miles), I experienced the following failures:

- 2 transmissions
- 2 radiators
- 3 coolant leaks (a by-pass valve on top of the intake)
- 1 distributor
- 1 intake manifold gasket
- windshield wipers (intermittently would shut off....GM finally admitted that their whole truck/SUV product line had this flaw and had a recall 11 yrs later)
- paint (found out GM knew about it but didn't make it public but they would repaint if you take it in. I found out too late....I was past my warranty period)

Anyhow, I don't believe all manufacturer's vehicles are even remotely similar in quality or reliability. One other thing to consider is that as new technology is introduced, new/different problems can arise.

.....I agree with the rest of your comments though.

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Old 07-09-2003, 11:01 PM   #7
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Consumers Reports has always listed Subarus, especially Imprezas, as very reliable. My '95 Legacy is still going strong after 165,000 miles: the battery, clutch, radiator, exhaust, shocks, etc., etc. are all original.

I agree with Kean that some companies engineer their cars a lot better than others; Subaru being one of the best and GM one of the worst.
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Old 07-10-2003, 03:54 AM   #8
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I appreciate everyone's input on this. I'm in North Van (Canada), where it doesn't snow a whole lot but rains enough to justify considering AWD, and expect to hit up the mountains snowboarding most of the time (all the routes are well salted, so usually this is not a question of FWD's prohibiting me from going).

The manual transmission is not an issue for me since I'd be going for Auto, although I'm sure it has it's share of issues as well.

Are the parts/servicing prices closer to BMW/Mercedes level, Acura/Lexus Level, or Honda/Toyota Level?
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:37 AM   #9
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To find the cost of service, call your local dealer for whatever brand you think you might buy. I know that my local Audi dealer is $90/hr, Dodge and Toyota $76/hr. They can vary by location quite a bit.

For parts, it's a varying matter. I have been a member of the BMW CCA for many, many years. I know that there are discount resellers for genuine BMW parts that are way, WAY below dealer retail. When I switched cars, some years ago from a BMW 3 series to a Honda CRX-SI, I was amazed at how much MORE the Honda parts were compared to BMW stuff, if shopped around.

Places like this forum's wanted and for sale sections...and regional sections are a great place to search for parts cheap.

AWD is indeed more complex and as a result are statistically more likely to fail earlier. You'll also get lower gas mileage than a similar 2wd vehicle. Subarus are, however, more of a bargain for what you get when compared to Honda/Toyota/Nissan.... When I bought my Subie, the dealer was right next door to a Honda dealer. They had a big poster with a cost of ownership breakdown.....but the thing they didn't figure in was that you'd get maybe 1% off the price of the Honda and over 5% off the price of a Subaru, making the Subie a better buy over it's lifetime. You do get more for your money with an "off" brand like Subaru, Mazda, Kia etc and pay close to MSRP with Honda/Toyota.

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Old 07-10-2003, 11:12 AM   #10
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I don't know about your town.. but here in Connecticut out of the 5 years I been here. I have YET to see ONE broken down Subaru on the side of the road.. And thats a good thing..

As you know the engine can last a long time.. Subie Gal here had a website a website devoted to Subaru's with High miles.. They have a thing going now to see who can get to 400,000 miles.
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Old 07-10-2003, 12:36 PM   #11
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Default Re: Any long term subaru maintenance/troubles?

Quote:
Originally posted by d0hboy
In my car research, I'm getting the feeling Subaru's are way more expensive for maintenance/parts. I hear that two reasons are it's AWD machinery being inherently a little more complex than your avg. FWD, and that there simply aren't as many Subaru's on the road in Canada/US.
I second the statement to check with the local dealers and mechanics. Subarus sales and support are relatively regionalized compared to the Big Three. In the southern US there are fewer dealers so they tend to be more expensive. I expect there should be quite a local following up in BC--at least there was next door in SE Alaska where I grew up. Accordingly we paid relatively less for parts and services.

Anecdotally, my experience with Subarus in Alaska was primarily two friends whose Subarus eventually died in crashes (passengers were fine) after about 12 years of ownership. Neither had many problems until that point. The longevity of those two cars convinced my wife and I to jump off the Honda bandwagon.
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Old 07-10-2003, 01:22 PM   #12
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Consumer Reports shows the Subaru as a Best Buy and the CAA rates it as one of their top three cars with regards to customer loyalty. Check their web site and you will be amazed as to who their peers are.

As to cost of maintenance, the Subaru uses a boxer engine for a reason. It allows them to build the all wheel drive system properly into the car. Not added as an after thought.

Once you drive one in the rain or even the wind, youíll buy one!
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Old 07-10-2003, 01:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by DRIVES2FAST


Once you drive one in the rain or even the wind, youíll buy one!
Word!

I begged my mom to get a Subaru.. If anything a forester.. to make a long story short she tryed every way not to get it.. But now look what she has.. a 98 Forester L. and she loves it! So much that after we get our house we will check out the Turbo Forester

My mom keeps saying "the real test will be to see how this car handles in the snow"

from what the member here said "With good snow tires, A Subaru is un-stoppable in the snow"

I can't wait for the Snow!
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Old 07-10-2003, 09:28 PM   #14
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There was an article in USA Today yesterday regarding the JD Power survey of problems in the first year per 1000 cars, and growth of problems over three years.

Subaru was around 260/1000 cars for the first year, but only had a 34% growth in problems. Honda was 210/1000.

Here's the article:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/...-quality_x.htm

I've had mine for 2 months now. I second the comment regarding wet weather performance - I have never driven anything more sure-footed in wet weather (especially the very wet weather we have had here in Atlanta lately).
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:26 AM   #15
d0hboy
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Wink Canadian CAA report matches those figures to some degree

Good post, dpmurray. The canadian auto association lists more or less the same thing in regards to subaru ownership opinions. Curiously, in the "Frequency of Repair Data" Section (page 18 of 19), only the Subaru Forester is listed, not the Impreza.

If those high marks are correlated to repair costs then I'll be happy; however, I have a feeling it's closer to the love that Porsche owners have for their vehicles (with still crazy maintenance costs) rather than the hassle-free'd'ness (is that a word...?) of other reliable marques. thoughts?

Last edited by d0hboy; 07-11-2003 at 03:34 AM.
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Old 07-11-2003, 12:18 PM   #16
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my advice is to stay away from the DOHC 2.5L (found in the 97ish-99 Legacy, 98 Impreza, and I'm not sure what year forrester. most likely before 2000)

what car are you considering? Anything 2000 and newer is a super reliable car. Around 100,000 miles, look for the front axles to need replacement. ($250 when I last did it to my 93 Impreza) Other things I've notice that go bad are some of the sensors. (I think it was under $100 to replace the one O2 sensor).

Overall, they seem to be really reliable. I would def. recommend them

oh yeah, where I work, there are 8 people in my office. Collectively, we own 6 subarus. 2 93 Imprezas (130k miles on one, 180k miles on the other) 1 98 Impreza, 1 01 Impreza, 1 02 Impreza, 1 94 Legacy (160k miles)...

~~Quentin
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:34 PM   #17
d0hboy
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Thumbs down

Keee-rist, that's a rally team unto itself right there.

This is between a new protege5 and a new (03 or 04) impreza TS, so we're talking later generation models' reliability. I guess nobody can really comment on how a 'new model' does long term.. but everybody's opinions here are helping me with my decision.
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Old 07-11-2003, 04:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by d0hboy
This is between a new protege5 and a new (03 or 04) impreza TS, so we're talking later generation models' reliability.
Another item to consider - take a measuring tape to the back of the TS and the MP5. Pay close attention to usable space. Lay down in back with the seats folded down--if you can stretch out with the hatch closed you might find this "feature" comes in handy on a cold night in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 07-12-2003, 04:11 PM   #19
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Well I looked up on kelly blue book and compared an RSX- S type( acura supposedly has a good rep for resale)

Well base models, with the S having more options the WRX still comes out on 02's
And with the same options you looking at it being worth way more, but on the same point, you paid more for it.
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Old 07-17-2003, 12:23 AM   #20
d0hboy
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The parts for the RSX are still going to be cheaper (for honda/acura stuff in general) because there's so much more of it, on average. My coworker told me that his 01' Impreza Brakes are $300 vs. a friend's hondas set of brakes which cost $90.. any comments on things like these? ie. replacing OEM exhaust system, or... replacing OEM transmission stuff.. etc?

Last edited by d0hboy; 07-17-2003 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 07-17-2003, 11:42 AM   #21
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going back to the original topic, i got 22k miles on a 02 and working flawlessly.

no paint issues, no other real big issues. i had a rattling clock trim which i fixed easily during my stereo install, and i get some
wind noise from the driverside window for some reason when its pulled up all the way...so i just lower it a split second and its gone. (no water dripping, etc).

oh yah, when i roll down my driverside window i get a squeek.
otherwise no problems so far.

i like the car, i would give it a "A."
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